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Tasting a New Life After an Eating Disorder

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I feel like I’m living for the first time. I used to say I wanted to “get back on track,” and I “want my life back.” However, after being sick for such a long period of time, I realized something. Something big. Something of great importance.

I don’t want to get back on track, and I don’t want my life back. It’s just not worth it. That’s not the life I want to lead. Why? Because I never really had a life without my depression, and I never really had a life without my eating disorder.

One day a few weeks back, during an intense therapy session, I had a realization. I had a light bulb moment! I want to get on a new track. I want to start a new life. The thing about me, the first thing my mother always talks about when she mentions me, is when I want something, I work extremely hard to get it. I give my all to reach that goal. This can be a harmful thing (when it comes to my eating disorder for example), but also a helpful thing (which it is in this case).

Motivation has been a rare thing for me these past years, but this light bulb moment motivated me more than anything else ever has. I am making goals for myself, and I am achieving them. I am learning to love again. I am learning to smile again. I am learning to live again. I feel like a little kid at times. I feel like I am experiencing things for the first time.

The fall and winter seasons used to scare me. They used to be my relapse seasons. Now, today, I am amazed at life. I am inspired by the changing color of the leaves, the beauty of the sky and the smell of the fresh, crisp autumn air. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually looking forward to the holidays.

Last year, I was in the hospital by myself with tube feeds for Thanksgiving dinner, while my family went on vacation without me. This year, I will be going on vacation. I will be eating turkey, mashed potatoes and even a piece of the pumpkin pie I make for everyone else every year but never eat myself. I will go Black Friday shopping with my sisters and will allow myself to have a peppermint mocha, the real kind, on our 3 a.m. coffee break.

I will bake Christmas cookies with my niece, and I will taste the cookie dough before it is baked. Then, I will eat a cookie after they are freshly baked, just because. Maybe I will even put sprinkles on mine. Maybe I’ll go all out with the colors. I will also buy presents for everyone and hand them out after our traditional German Christmas dinner of bratwürstchen and sauerkraut. I will even give myself a present because I am worth it.

This year, I will be home for the holidays. I will be home for birthdays. I will simply be home for every days. I will get a good taste of my new life because it is all so exciting. Everything is new, and nothing is perfect.

You know what? Everything is good, and everything is worth it. Because life is beautiful.

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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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 25, 2016
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