My Battle with an Eating Disorder

TW: Eating Disorders

Today, I am going to talk about a relatively sensitive topic: eating disorders. I have been in recovery from anorexia for about a year and a half. Still, every day is a struggle. I don’t want to go into too much detail in fear of giving people ideas, but recovery, although difficult, has been one of the best decisions in my life.

My eating disorder started from childhood curiosity. I did something one day, just for the heck of it, as teenage minds do, and then it just spiraled from there. I lost control of my body and my mind. Before I got help, the last few days were the worst. I constantly pushed myself to do things I really couldn’t do, and I couldn’t focus, ever. I was in a constant state of about-to-pass-out, and I couldn’t think. All my mind would think about was numbers, whatever that may be to you. My parents sought help against my will. I convinced myself I did not have an eating disorder, and I was just skinny. In reality, however, eating disorders affect people of all shapes, ages, sizes, races, genders, the list goes on.

So, after getting help and going through therapy, I returned to my life again. It was a long process of trial and error, a lot of tears, fights, anger at myself and others. Relapse occurred at various times. However, I am about six months free from toxic behaviors, yet the urge is still there. I challenged myself to eat intuitively, like eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. I have managed to challenge the terrible comments out there, like comments about specific numbers, diets, and body shaming that I have faced, and I have seen others face, as well. I faced bullying and people getting mad and disappointed in me. Yet through it all, even when times were rough, I ended out on the better side. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but it was worth it. Sometimes, I regret all of it. I wish I could go back to who I was, but reflecting on it, it wasn’t me. I was living in this shell of a person that was barely living.

Throughout my time in recovery, I have met people of all sorts. Anorexia and bulimia do not fit a skinny white girl who is on the cheerleading team. Anorexia is not just eating chicken broth because they are not hungry. Bulimia is not just throwing up what you eat because you do not want to process the food. Binge-eating disorder is not just “fat” girls eating food. These are real conditions. They are mental illnesses. And other eating disorders like ARFID, Orthorexia, OSFED, and DiaBulimia are just thrown under the rug like they aren’t even a thing.

When girls look at Barbie and aspire to be her, they develop these beauty standards from such a young age that they should not even have to go through. When young boys look at superman figures, they feel the need to develop muscles and appear “shredded.” Society expects women to have big breasts, curvy hips, and snatched waists when in reality, everybody is born with a different body type that they can only alter through plastic surgery. As for men, society expects them to have ripped muscles and appear hyper-masculine, which is not the case for everyone.

Whether you are short or tall is out of your control. You can’t be born one day and say that you are going to be 6 foot 3. The same goes for your appearance. You can choose to promote kindness, to promote beauty in everyday things. We never stop changing, so if we can’t learn to accept the body we were born in, we are doomed to a life of misery and jealousy.

If I have learned anything from this process, the goal isn’t necessarily body positivity and always doing whatever you want. On the contrary, it is accepting who you are and allowing yourself to be who you are. Besides, at the end of it all, you can’t love another person until you love yourself. And truly, the beautiful thing about it all is that we are amazing creatures. We fall in love. We deal with heartbreak. We have lives that mean the world to us, and then we die. And as hopeless as that sounds, our life is what we make it. If we waste it trying to strive for perfection, we will miss the opportunities surrounding us every day. At the root of it all, life’s beauty is in the simple joys. And the world is better here with you.