One of my favorite art pieces is Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso. It is meant to show the distorted way we perceive ourselves. It’s one of those pieces that I really connected with. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with accepting my appearance, and I’ve been very transparent about my eating disorder on this blog. I’ve focused a lot on how I’m better now because I don’t want to dwell on the darkest moments of my life so much on the Internet. However, I think it’s important now and then to be vocal and say I still have days when I am not at 100%.
I still have days when I am hard on myself. When I look at myself and hate what I see, when I criticize every little thing I can find to hate about myself. It makes me feel so guilty, so self-centered, but it’s like I can’t turn off the noise once it starts.
I won’t go into detail about it because that can be triggering for people and I think you get my point. As someone who has had an eating disorder, there are going to be days like this. The hard part is not giving those days the power to ruin you. The hard part of my life, now that I’ve recovered, is staying recovered instead of letting myself fall down into a hole that is so hard to get out of.
I’m still learning how to do that. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve gone to therapy every week for the past year, and I still feel like I need it. I’m not ashamed that I’ve had to let go of certain commitments in my life for the sake of my mental health. And I’m certainly not ashamed that I have both advocated for myself and shared my story with the world.
Speaking out about my eating disorder has played a monumental role in staying healthy. It keeps me accountable. It isn’t a secret anymore.
Recovery is a lifelong process. You don’t just put the weight back on, buy bigger pants and move on. Because the eating disorder might try and sneak its way back in when you’re not looking, and you have to be vigilant enough to notice that and say no way. Which is very hard to do in the face of something so terrifying. It takes guts.
If you are struggling with a mental health problem, seek professional attention. But first, tell someone. Tell a parent, a close friend, your roommate, someone you trust. Because I know this disease can be the most isolating thing in the world. The reason I have stayed afloat so many years is because enough supporters in my life know to look out for me when it’s hard for me to look out for myself. It is not something you should go through alone.
I am not perfect, but I am well. And that is what matters.