Tomorrow I turn 30. I turn 30 knowing that I have an eating disorder. I have spent the last two birthdays in inpatient care for it. I will not mention numbers but I was sick. I may have not looked like I was sick at various points over the last three years but I was. An eating disorder can be an invisible illness. It’s not always about your weight, but can be with your relationship with food or your relationship with yourself. I was in denial about it for quite a while, my relationship with food was not very healthy, but I managed to get by. At some point I just couldn’t stand being chronically sick and I sought help. It tooke me 2 months into my first inpatient stay with Eating Recovery Center to even admit that I had an eating disorder. I swore up and down that it was just my severe anxiety and depression that caused my issues with food, turned off my hunger, got me to the point I was in. It finally occured to me that that is an eating disroder. Eating disorders are different for each person and for me, my anxiety and depression were intertwined with my relationship with food. It seems very obvious now, but not to my eating disorder brain. Once I accepted this treatment was much easier and made way more sense. I spent four months total my first time in inpatient. I say first because I did relapse twice and fell back into old habbits of skipping meals which fed my anxiety and depresion and vice versa. At the time I looked at them just as harshly as my first time in treatment but that was me being hard on myself. Each time I relapsed, I wasn’t as sick as the last time. I was making progress. It just took me a couple times to get it right. With a lot of help from medical doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and counslers, I’ve been able to develop new, better habbits, and learned to accept a lot of things about myself and to be more vulnerable. To this day I still have an app on my phone that reminds me to eat meals and snacks, as I don’t want to fall back into old habbits. I’m not ashamed about it, it’s way better than being in a hospitalized setting for another four months. I treasure all of the relationships that I’ve made in treatment, but I hope I never see ya’ll back there 😉
Why am I writing this? Well it’s NEDA Awareness Week and I also want help reduce the stigma regarding mental health and eating disorders. I encourage anyone struggling to seek help and care at any level, inpatient, outpatient, PHP, whatever you need, you need. Do not be ashamed if it takes you multiple tries either, that will only further set you back.
I’m happy to report that I am doing much better now and will be spending this birthday axe throwing with friends. #boostlife