This is my journey with anorexia nervosa. I am by no means an expert on recovery as I am still struggling through it myself. I do know, however, that when a community can come together and support one another, recovery is made that much easier.
To help, I want to briefly talk about my struggles with anorexia, which to me is a weird and scary word that I hate, to put it frankly. I was, however, diagnosed with it. Two months ago I was hospitalized after severely restricting my diet and excessively exercising. My weight had reached an unhealthy level and my heart rate was dangerously low. Yet all I could think about was that momentary sense of elation I felt upon restricting; that temporary joy I got after a long workout.
I was hospitalized for two weeks, during which I met some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. There was a little girl who I played Uno with every day without fail, during each meal and each snack. There was a boy of about my age; we quickly became the best of friends and still stay in touch. Hospitalization taught me that for recovery to be possible, you must have a community. I would never have gotten through those two weeks without the patients I met there.
Restriction for me was about the control. I could not control the other things happening in my life, but at least I could control food. Exercise also became dangerous, as I found that I could not go a day without at least one to two hours of high intensity workouts. This was a deadly combination.
I did not mean to put my body in danger, I did not mean to slow down my heart rate or lose excessive amounts of weight. And that is what I would like to stress through this all. The eating disorder is not your fault. For weeks after I was hospitalized I blamed myself. How could you put your family through this? I asked myself over and over again. It wasn’t until recently that I realized eating disorders are real diseases, chemical imbalances in the brain that are not the fault of the victim. Accepting this was my first huge step towards recovery. I hope that we can continue to walk towards full recovery together.
The featured image on this post is a picture of me and my dad the day I was released from the hospital. This day was both the happiest and the hardest of my life. Being released does not mean recovery, but it was a huge step for me in forging my own recovery path.