For the past 10 years of my life I have been fighting a battle with Anorexia. If you are looking for the “Look how I overcame this! I believe I am beautiful now because I overcame this!” type post, that’s not what it’s going to be today. I have every hope that I will be there someday but right now, in this phase of treatment – I know I have miles to go. But at least I know where the road is now. I am going to go ahead and address the questions and statements some of you are making right now…
No, this is not just “click bait” and this is not something that I am writing for attention. Even though I know unfortunately it will get me some.
I am aware that at this moment I don’t “look anorexic” or I’m “not even that skinny” – but anorexia is not as much about weight as you may think. It’s a real (sometimes) genetic mental illness that causes an obsession with food/weight in an unhealthy and sometimes fatal way.
I am also aware that I am not the first girl in the world to battle with Anorexia, and I will most certainly not be the last. This post, is for me. After finally seeking therapy after 10+ years, this is me telling myself my story.
Anorexia recovery is not as easy as “eating a burger” or “Just eat something!” – it is a mental illness that will take years to over come but for the first time I am admitting to myself, to you, and to most of my friends and family, that I am officially in recovery and trying, fighting, for the life that I want not the life that an eating disorder wants me to have.
I could tell you the details about the ups and downs of my eating disorder, and you will indeed get some of them in this post, but why I am writing this post is for two reasons,
1. To hopefully open your eyes to seeing others and yourself in values that are more than looks. I am guilty of this, absolutely as I think we all are. But maybe instead of seeing weight, we can see other values in ourselves and others.
2. People go through more in their heads than you realize. This post may be a shock to a lot of my closest friends, and a lot of my family I was so private about it for TEN years. So be gracious to every single soul. You (or I) have no idea the battles that are fought after the lights go out, and the rest of the world goes to sleep.
In my therapy, I have been heavily focused on who I am. Not who I am on Instagram, or YouTube, or the girl that all of you see every day. On who I really am. What do I value? How do I want other people to know me? Is me being giving up my health, my spirit and personality to be thin adding to that person that I really want to be? The answer is no, me being thin has nothing to do with it.
The thing about Anorexia is it takes away everything that makes you, you. For me personally, I would go through very tough months were my weight was dangerously low and my habits were unstoppable. In those months, I would distance myself from basically everyone. Distancing myself meant that I didn’t have to eat meals with anyone, I didn’t have to come up with an excuse of why I “didn’t like my meal,” I didn’t have to give up my extra hours in the gym. I gave it all to my eating disorder. You know where that got me? Lonely. It was me and my eating disorder night after night celebrating the day, and how I got away with only a couple hundred calories. My eating disorder has made me miss out on some of the moments I should have had forever. I lost time with friends I can never get back. The time I spent on growing my eating disorder could have been time spent being creative or doing something worthwhile.
I was never “sick” enough. Even when I couldn’t catch my breath because my heartbeat had become irregular. Even though I could count my chest bones, and was down to 94 pounds. Even when my mom and Megan begged me to get help and change, I still wasn’t ever sick enough to recover. But that is what anorexia does. It doesn’t make you think you are “sick” enough until you are dead.
I decided that I owe it to my future self, the happy, light giving, creative giggly person I want to be to recover. I decided I owe it to my future children, that this is my one body that will maybe one day have the miraculous power to create another human life – to be the most healthy it can be. I owe it to Megan, my Mom, and anyone who cares about me to stay alive, and live a life that has beauty and meaning in ways that go far beyond weight, Instagram followers, attention, and even my career as an entertainer.
I am not recovered, and from everything that I have read and researched, I may never be. Anorexia is a lifetime mental illness that will come in waves and pull my back in. I get anxious when people talk about diets. I get anxious when I see pictures of myself at my new healthy weight. I cry when the clothes I bought at my lowest weight don’t fit anymore. I don’t comment on my food or my weight when I am with other people, and I have told my closest friends not to around me either. It is up to me to fight to the surface and remember why I am valuable on this Earth. And spoiler alert – it has nothing to do with my weight.
If any of you reading this feel like you may have an eating disorder but feel you aren’t ready to get help, take my advice and go get help. Every meal you skip, or mistreatment of your body is one damaging step that may not be reversible. You are worthy of a life that is so full and memorable, bright and delicious. Anorexia is a real mental illness. Eating disorders are extremely common and unfortunately extremely underplayed. Your body was made for so much more than to “look good in clothes,” or to get attention. Your body is a vessel for your beautiful, passionate, unique soul.