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How Anorexia Has Changed Me Over the Past 6 Years

Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

October feels like an anniversary to me, but not in a happy, “congratulations” kind of way. October is when the little whispers of my eating disorder began to take control of my life. I had no idea what road this would lead me down. A road that was twisty, dark and seemingly unending.

Six years ago, I began to be afraid of my own body.

Six years ago, I started to believe food was an enemy coming to invade me.

Six years ago, I began to distrust my instincts.

Six years ago, the noise in my head began to drown out the voice in my heart.

Six years ago; I look back and think, “that’s when it all started to change.” 

There’s a beauty and a sorrow in realizing I will never be the same as I was before anorexia nervosa. In a sense, I lost part of my innocence — a youthful part of me that didn’t understand pain, shame and fear to the extent I do now. Although I see anorexia—and the emotional roller coaster that followed — as my greatest spiritual teacher and a catalyst to living a more authentic and meaningful life, it didn’t come without a price. Experiencing darkness invites us to search more deeply for the light. To become that light for others. To become that voice of hope. To search within for the strength we all have.

The thing about painful experiences is that we aren’t meant to be the same as we were before. I don’t believe that’s what the healing journey is about. Wholeness is a way of living and being — it’s not a destination. The lessons I’ve learned from my own trials have led me to deeper compassion and understanding for others and myself. It has led me to deeper connection with the world around me and my own fragility. I believe that is the “purpose” of pain and healing. It comes to expand our hearts and sift anything that stands in the way of our truest selves. When we surrender to the inevitable setbacks in life, we create space within to transform.

Our fear becomes courage.

Our weakness becomes resilience.

Our loss becomes appreciation.

Our loneliness becomes connection.

Our despair becomes hope.

That is the journey of the human heart.

It is a gut-wrenching, soul-igniting, magnificent whirlwind of a lifetime.

Somedays, I wish I was further along in the journey — somewhere else rather than where I am right now. The eating disorder still whispers in my mind, but the voice in my heart grows stronger because I’ve learned to listen to it and trust its guidance. As I continue to embrace my own path of becoming whole, I look back with a reverent gratitude for all of the lessons that my darkest moments have taught me. My humanness connects me to every other person. Some days are harder than others; some months trigger certain memories and emotions, but I’m gradually learning to…

Laugh more. Forgive faster. Run freely. Speak up. Listen deeply. Show up for others. Be present. Appreciate everything.

On the days when it feels more difficult to accept myself and when my mind is spinning in the chaos, I remember that the beauty of life is that our pain creates a depth in our hearts that allows us to love more deeply and be loved in return. May life’s precious moments take our breath away. May the simple joys create a grateful heart. And may the difficulties remind us of the strength we have within.

Photo by Christian Gertenbach on Unsplash