Who am I?
The healthy young woman in front of you today is not the same person she was eight years ago.
I have seen things. Experienced things. Know things that can only be learned through pain. Desperation. And deliverance.
Who am I? I’m a young lady who has recovered from anorexia. And I’m sharing with you my story.
As I sit down to write something that is insurmountable in its gravity, overwhelming in importance, and disgraceful in its honesty, I feel impossibly vulnerable and am reminded of my shame. For with these words I will be exposing the tortured reality that over ten million women and one million men in the US have to face every single moment of every day: anorexia.
I’ve been in recovery for eight years, but to be completely honest, the disease never truly goes away. The voice of death, or “ED” as the inpatient centers like to refer to it, never fully silences. It can get muffled or muted, but never truly snuffed. Every single day I have to wake up and decide that I’m going to choose recovery. Choose life. And I am 26 years old.
I’ve taken on this task of exposing the raw truth behind life with anorexia, so as to offer insight and hope to the loved ones of those with this harrowing disease. For if you are reading these words, you are most likely at your wit’s end, out of ideas, and desperate to get your loved one to eat and kick this eating disorder.
I find it shocking how misunderstood this disease is. In talking with my family and friends about when I was in the thick – or rather, thin – of my disease, no one really understood what was going on or how they could help. All they saw was a girl, who from the outside used to have everything going for her, now wasting away – deteriorating to 78 pounds. Everyone’s verbiage was similar — they all felt their “hands were tied,” helpless, unable to make me gain weight, unable to get through to the girl I used to be.
That’s the thing: anorexia makes you draw completely into yourself – or rather, completely into the spiral of the disease. You become an unrecognizable shell of your former self – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. You care about nothing else, except for your disease, and your control over the numbers on the scale.
To describe a typical day, and to fully understand the state of mind would be nearly impossible. I will try, but it is hard to fully grasp the depth of darkness or the pervasive nature of the disease. In order to fully understand, it is important to realize that these thoughts are coming from the state of someone whose brain was literally foggy. At 5’6” and 78 pounds, the lack of body fat is so severe that the brain’s cushion of fat pads have literally deteriorated, making clear thinking and sound decision making out of the question.
Who am I? I am no longer that lost girl anymore.
I am free.