I am 25 years old. I have a house. A veggie patch. A dog. Beautiful friends and family. I’m a physio. I love the gym, kicking the footy and swimming in the ocean. I love cooking. I have too many indoor plants. I’m loyal, intelligent as well as a bit of a sass-queen. I’m also a survivor of anorexia.
Almost a decade on from my diagnosis, I can look back on my journey and be proud of where I stand today. I would not be here without those who were my support network. Doctors, psychologists, dieticians, friends, family and support groups. A lot of those professionals still play an active role in my life today.
There is no magic word, prescription or motivational speech that will force recovery upon you. Only you can make that choice. That choice will dissipate the loneliness and isolation that your eating disorder compels you to feel. I took small steps, which turned into bigger leaps towards health and happiness. Of course, the dreaded eating disorder voice still exists. It can cast a dark stormy cloud across any joy or achievement you may be feeling. For me, it’s loudest when I am stressed, over tired or feeling sad. That little irrational voice in my head still exists today; ” you don’t need to eat that piece of chocolate”,”you need to exercise today if you want to enjoy that food later on” or “you don’t deserve that”. However, the choice to turn down the volume on that voice, and instead fill my life with things that bring me joy and satisfaction was the turning point in my road towards recovery. This is the way in which I am able to lead the life that I do.
I don’t believe the journey through something so significant as an eating disorder ever truly ends. Each day when I roll out of bed and place my feet on the ground, I have to make a conscious effort to channel my energy into positive choices which allow me to remain in recovery. Accepting, acknowledging and making peace with both my anorexia and my recovery journey has given me the gratitude to propel myself forwards.
Finding purpose in a life that has tried its hardest to knock you down is an incredibly courageous feat. Anorexia does not define me as a person, and my self-worth is not lessened by my battle. Instead, I belong to a unique group of people who have defied the odds and fought against a debilitating illness. The skills and resilience you gain from your recovery provides you with the inner strength to conquer almost anything that may come your way.
Everyone will tell you that recovery is worth it. You will roll your eyes, as I did every time someone said the same to me. Then one day, I realised I wanted to be able to go outside, go to the beach, play with my dog and spend time with those I loved without the eating disorder cloud hanging above my head. So, channel that strong willed attitude that resides within all survivors of this illness into something productive. Take small steps in a journey that will make you, and everyone surrounding you, incredibly proud of the battle you have won.
Contributed by Amy