Regaining one’s life from a long-time eating disorder is an amazing feat. Imagine an unwelcome, extremely bossy person living in your home for 10 years or more; well, it’s a thousand times worse when the equivalent lives in your brain, and you just can’t get a moment’s peace. Regaining one’s true self, and pushing that horrid illness-cum-bossy-boots out of our lives leaves us feeling like we have had two lives – one with the eating disorder and now, one where we are free to be. The experience of escaping from an eating disorder makes our new life all the more special. Nothing is taken for granted. Joys never end. And many of us are filled with a desire to help fellow travellers on their journey. Why? Because we know how tough that journey can be. We identify with the isolation, the loneliness, the torment, the pitfalls. We know that no matter how many times one might slip, slide, right to the bottom of the valley, that we can get up, we can climb that mountain and regain our self. We offer friendship and above all, HOPE. Anne Sophie shares her inspiring story:
The alarm clock rings. Before I can open my eyes, a flood of thoughts starts to control my mind. What did I eat yesterday? Did I overeat? Lose control? How does my stomach feel? Is it empty? Am I hungry? Starving? Yes. Relief washes over me. This will be a great day. I am strong. Even though I am trembling with weakness, I know I have won the battle against the gnawing hunger once again. I am at peace knowing that my mind won’t have to endure any other thoughts than the oppression of hunger and the fear of exercising today. I am happy because I know I wouldn’t be able to handle all my horrible memories. I will be way too occupied trying not to faint in classes to dwell on the past. Yes, today will be a good day. This is what my life looked like for over a decade. This was my reality.
Today I am healthy. Today I wake up excited about the day. I open my eyes knowing that nobody will harm me. I rise with tons of ideas in my head of what I will do with my life and my business. Today I know that life is precious and amazing. Today I am truly alive.
There are hardly words to compare the life that I live now to the one I lived for 14 years. During my teens and the first part of my twenties, I walked through life going through the motions.
I didn’t know what joy was, I was constantly terrified, sad, depressed. I put so much pressure on myself that I was repeatedly in danger of collapsing. The world looked bleak, harsh and hopeless.
My eyes looked sad and haunted, my posture showed my insecurity. My thoughts tortured me. I was never at peace. Not once.
However, today everything has changed. Ever single day I leave my eating disorder behind a bit more and I experience a freedom that I never thought was possible. I can now distinguish between the thoughts that are mine and those that belong to my eating disorder.
I can now walk confidently through life not fearing that everybody judges me depending on how much or how little I weigh. I can concentrate, read, write, be creative, laugh, love deeply and enjoy each moment.
Recovery has opened my eyes to a whole new world. I appreciate the beauty of little things. Things that are so very normal for others, but are beyond precious to me.
Having the inner peace to snuggle up to my hubby on the couch is one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon and worth more than a million bucks. Being able to watch a movie and concentrate on the plot instead of counting calories in my head is priceless.
Cooking a wonderful meal knowing that I will be able to eat it without feeling guilty has become one of my favorite hobbies. Being able to give my creativity an outlet on my blog again without having to interrupt myself with ridiculous hours of exercise is one of the biggest benefits of leaving a recovered life.
Eating 3 meals a day and 3 snacks (a mantra essential in my recovery) gives me the strength I need to live life to the fullest and engage in all of these wonderful activities.
Obviously, my body has changed a lot. I refer to it as my new body. At first, it was not easy to accept that I would have to gain weight to be healthy. I was terribly scared of this change. Would I ever be able to feel comfortable in my skin? Would I ever be able to love the body that I was given?
It was a difficult journey, but today I am deeply and passionately in love with my body. I have learned to appreciate that looking healthy is something to be proud of.
I love that my body is strong now, I love that I can do Yoga or dance without being scared of fainting, I love that my legs don’t shake anymore and I love that my heartbeat is significantly stronger.
My journey to health was one full of ups and downs. I felt strong, I felt weak. I was excited, I was sad. Especially the beginning of my treatment was challenging. There was hardly a moment I did not cry, curled up on my hospital bed feeling like the world was going to end.
It was all too much and I thought I had made a huge mistake in admitting myself to a treatment facility. Furthermore, being away from my husband was not easy for both of us and it created many arguments and conflicts.
But as the weeks went by, I started to feel more comfortable in my new surroundings and I began to listen to what the team of therapists had to tell me.
Yet, there was still something missing. Instead of talking to therapists who have only learned about eating disorders in theory, I wanted to have a conversation with someone who had actually beat the devil within. In moments of insecurity, I wanted to know that there was hope and that I could completely and fully recover.
Remembering these thoughts when I ended my stay at the treatment center, I decided to be such a figure of hope for others who are starting their fight against their eating disorder.
That is why I created my blog Fighting Anorexia and the accompanying podcast. And it is the reason why I reached out to fellow bloggers in order to make the month of February a month full of inspiration and pro recovery messages.
Since the beginning of this month we have spread blog posts full of hope all over the web and we will continue to do so until the 29th. There is simply nothing more important than encouraging those around us who are still struggling that life can be amazing and that they can be free.
If you would like to participate and share your reasons why recovery is worth it and how life after an eating disorder can look like, I’d be delighted to have you join us. You can find more information by clicking here.
Recovery is hard and it takes a lot of work, but this fight is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life.
I am happy, my eyes sparkle and I am deeply and passionately in love with my life. This can be true for you too!