The Reality of Rebuilding After an Eating Disorder


Let’s face it. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. Prince charming doesn’t give you a fairytale ending. The friends you thought would always be around suddenly don’t feel so close anymore. The major that was supposed to be your dream job and life calling totally isn’t. You get sick and need help even though you’re an adult. Life turns into something we can’t handle.

We all have plans about how we envision our lives playing out. I’d be lying if I said I’m living the life I had planned. “Everything happens for a reason,” is always said to explain life, but it’s a hard idea to buy into. Sometimes, we don’t know the reason, and sometimes, the things that happen suck. That may sound pessimistic, but over the last three years I feel like I’ve learned more about myself and life in general than I have over the past 20 years of my life.

I never planned on getting my heart broken or losing my closest friends. I never imagined having to drop out of school to focus on my health or changing majors three times. I never planned on having anorexia and all of the awful things that come along with it. I was so withdrawn from my life and so distant from my family. I spent hours laying in bed with the door shut because I was too weak and sad to do anything else.

Nothing else mattered except going to the gym, eating “healthy,” calorie counting and meal planning. I lost myself to my eating disorder. I could blame everything on the fact that I was at a low point in my illness or that I was too sick to help it. Or, on the other hand, I could face the fact that yes, I lost myself. Everyone and everything that truly mattered to me was no longer in my reach, but now I’m learning who I really am and who I want to be.

Recovery has been about so much more than restoring my health. Of course, that is a huge piece of it, but in the process I’ve learned so much about life and what is really important. I’ve learned so much about who will always be there. I’ve become much closer with my family and have realized how important they are in my life. I know what career path is going to be my passion. I’ve realized how important it is to be empathetic for others and how to be a friend.

I’m not fully recovered, and I still struggle every day. I’m not the same person I was before I got sick, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. My life is far from perfect or back to the way it used to be, but I’m learning there’s nothing wrong with building a new life with new priorities and new people.

Life is unpredictable. There’s no way to change that, but there is no greater freedom than accepting life’s imperfections and finding ways to turn your struggles into personal growth. I’m not sure what my life will be like next month, next year or even tomorrow. Not knowing used to kill me, but now I’m learning to be excited by life’s unpredictability and know that things aren’t always going to be easy. That doesn’t mean you can’t get through it and find something greater than you ever expected.

Broken hearts, lost friendships, hardships, setbacks, they are all undesirable and something we try to avoid. However, if you view them as subtle hints that there’s something out there that’s better for you, they will make you so much happier that will open your eyes to possibilities you’d never even thought of; This is when you begin to look forward to life’s unexpected moments and begin to understand why things happen the way they do. You’ll find the man or woman you’re really meant to be with, friends who are so pure and true and fulfillment in a life you never even knew you wanted. Sometimes we lose ourselves, and the best part is getting to find ourselves all over again.

Image via Thinkstock.

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