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When I Finally Realized ED No Longer Had Control of My Life

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I have struggled with perfectionism and allowing myself to be vulnerable for some time now, which eventually led to a full blown eating disorder (among many other issues that seemed to arise, but that’s neither here nor there). In the wise words of Brene Brown, who from her self-help books has taught me to “dig deep,” I have decided what better way to throw myself all in to vulnerability than to share a tiny part of my story. If you had asked me to do this even six months ago, I would’ve gotten red (naturally) and cowered away from the darkest parts of my past. I have finally reached a point in myself where I feel comfortable, confident and “vulnerable” enough to share.

I don’t think I realized how far I had come until I stepped on the scale the other morning and saw an increase of pounds (plural). Before, this would have shattered my world. It would’ve spiraled me into an immediate anxiety attack, curled into a ball and crying with utter disgust and disappointment in myself. I would’ve thrown on the least form-fitting clothes and had the most negative attitude for the day. This would also have dictated how much I would not let myself eat, how much I’d isolate from anything social (especially if food or drinks was involved, you could count me out), how many miles I needed to run, and most importantly it would allow me the “right” to tell myself how much I hated myself. It would’ve forced me to shut down for days, weeks even, because of the number on a scale. Thinking back to the way I would talk to myself now makes me so sad. It breaks my heart.

Enough about the dark place I once lived in – and fast forward to now, where I can appreciate myself and my body for all it does and can do for me. It has gotten me through 30 years of life and has yet to give up on me. Not that I don’t have days where I feel bloated, uncomfortable and like an all-around asshole; however it does not ruin my entire week or mental outlook on the day. I feel mentally, emotionally, and physically stronger than I have in years thanks to some pretty amazing people and some life-changing experiences.

I wanted to say a huge thank you to the friends and family who have stood by me and loved me when I couldn’t love myself. I want to thank these beautiful human beings for bringing me back to a place where I can find the good in situations and allow myself to grow. They have seen the darkest parts of me and continued to support me. I would not be where I am today without a handful of good friends, some serious therapy, my family and most importantly my brother (who has been my biggest inspiration. I will never stop striving to be half of the person he has become).

I don’t consider myself to be fully “recovered” by any means as I still have so much work to do. However, it is truly freeing to finally worry about more than a number on a scale. I am more concerned with maintaining important relationships, attaining goals, prayer, and loving myself for all I am. The late night, deep, meaningful, truly vulnerable conversations with a best friend and roommate has helped me grow tremulously in the past few months, and for that I will never stop being grateful for this genuine soul in my life. Like I said, I still have so much more work to do on myself, but what a beautiful feeling to see progression and finally be able to just appreciate life.

I encourage those who are still struggling to surround yourself with the right people and support system. Once I had learned to set boundaries for the negative parts in my life and truly embrace the positive, I able to take leaps forward in the work on myself. I also encourage you to never stop striving to grow. My work on myself has only just begun, I have missed out on so much over the past few years. I fully intend to engage in this hot ass mess that is my life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Thinkstock photo by iascic

Originally published: March 14, 2017
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