I have been transparent about my mental health struggles on this blog in the past.
Recently, it’s been more difficult for me to speak up. I have spent the last few months battling my demons in silence. I didn’t want to tell you…I didn’t know how. I want to share my story, fight the stigma, and help others feel like they’re not alone…and on the same token, I don’t want to trigger anyone or send the wrong message. It’s a lot easier to post a success story with a happy ending than to carefully craft an “I’m in recovery from a relapse” statement that doesn’t alarm everyone close to you. And I want to make it very clear right off the bat that that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m not writing this because I want attention or sympathy. I am not crying to you for help. I am writing this blog post because fighting for mental health reform is why I was put on this Earth. It is my passion and purpose. Just thinking about the changes I want to make in eating disorder treatments and mental health brings tears to my eyes. So, I am finally breaking my silence and hitting you with the cold hard facts about my relapse.
The truth is, my anorexia didn’t just end and die off. When I went into recovery back in 2015, I was showing the physical signs of anorexia. Meaning: I had to get my body back at its set point and wake up my metabolism again, or else I would have died. Conquering a deeper psychological demon was nowhere on my radar. I had to stay alive…
And stay alive I did. Physical recovery is a lengthy, exhausting process. It took several months to get my body stabilized. Once I finally felt good enough to walk around without getting winded, I assumed my work was done. That’s why I relapsed numerous times. I never finished the job. I never went back to treatment.
And so in the years that followed, my monster found its way back to me with every heartbreak, failure, and trauma that came along. It attacks when I’m weak because it still lives within me. I may have begun the recovery process when I was fifteen, but I’m not finished yet.
I am starting college with an eating disorder. I watch my friends begin their new lives, while I’m still wrestling with this demon that’s been with me since I was a third grader. It’s affected the way I live my life and in a way has shaped who I am. I’m not necessarily angry about that- I know that my struggle will help me save others from this pain. However, I can’t begin to help others slay their devils if I haven’t conquered my own.
I am receiving treatment again, and I do plan on using my yoga and self-awareness to carry me through. I am studying the science of the body and brain at college, with the sole intention of learning as much as possible so that I can build a career in promoting healing and recovery. I have sold my soul to learning about every tendency of the mind, every cell, and every component of this endlessly complicated disease. My most profound struggle in my life also gives me purpose. Right now, I feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and emotional…but I have never been more confident in what I want my career to be. For the first time in my life, when someone asks me, “What do you want to do?” my heart glows when I answer: “I want to help eating disorder patients.” I feel like I’ve never spoken truer words. My path may be a blown up mess of obstacles and roadblocks, but I know where I want to end up. I want to be standing at the front of my sweet little yoga studio, throwing all my brightest energy toward the people who need it most. I want to watch someone’s eyes light up when they can finally see the possibility of recovery and liberation from their disorder. I want to hustle, work hard, battle my disorder so that I can radiate bottomless hope to everyone who needs me. Because let’s face it, I needed someone to do this for me back when I first realized I had an eating disorder. It’s not something you can manage alone. I want to get my health back so I can help others do the same. It’s why I’m here. This is what I was born to do!
I’m raising a glass to all my warriors out there who are out there kicking butt while quietly trying to kick their ED, too. It’s hard to do both. It’s hard for me to go to work, go to school, heck, go out on dates and function without my eating disorder standing in my way. Sometimes, I just can’t fight with it. It beats me down and I get weak. I’ve canceled plans, missed school, and had relationships fall apart because it’s more than I can handle having to constantly stave off this monster. My eating disorder is a part of my journey, but it is not a part of me. I am anorexic. I am strong.
Thank you for being with me on my path.
I love you.
And I am fighting so hard.