My story is messy. Messy, traumatic, terribly unbearable, yet oddly beautiful. My story was written long before I was even born and it was up to me to bring it to life. And it is because of my story that I can smile at the sheer resilience that stares back at me in the mirror; and because I am alive and I fought so hard to become the woman I am today.
I am a product of chronic alcoholism, debilitating narcissism, seemingly endless abuse, and an eight-year war that some would refer to as my parents’ divorce. The first memory I ever had of my eating disorder was my mother telling me that if I ate dinner at my father’s house, then that meant I no longer loved her. It was in that moment, food became a constant source of anxiety for me. Between the stress of trying to survive their divorce, my father leaving without a semblance of ‘goodbye’, my mother’s deflection of her own problems onto me as the eldest child/pseudo parent, and the constant comparison and severely disordered eating habits that were modeled for me growing up, an eating disorder was nearly inevitable. From severely restricting to obsessively purging each morsel of food that ever crossed my lips and every emotion I was too afraid to feel, my eating disorder felt like the hug I never received, but so badly craved as a child. Mix that with paralyzing anxiety, painfully heavy depression, surviving a sexual assault, and turning to self-injury when my ED was no longer ‘working’, it amazes me that I am able to even write this next paragraph.
I am 24 years old now and I am not only in an incredible place of strength and stability within my own recovery, but I am also fortunate enough to be practicing as a counselor within the eating disorder field as I work towards my clinical licensure. I wake up every single day and choose recovery. For my clients who inspire me to become a better counselor and human being. For my therapist who never lets me face the bad days alone. For my recovery mentor who understands me more than I understand myself most of the time. For my friends who have taught me how to trust. And for my brother and sister whom without I would not be here to share my story. But lastly, and most importantly, I choose recovery for myself.
So, if anyone out there reading this is looking for a sign to choose recovery, THIS IS IT. Step off the scale. Give yourself a hug. Eat that cookie. Talk to a friend. Stop living in secrecy. Ask for help. Buy a journal. Tell that voice in your head to ‘shut up!’ and let your own voice finally be heard. The world needs you and there is a life beyond your eating disorder; this I can promise you. But it’s up to you to live it. So, stand up and choose to fight. You won’t be sorry.
I am 24 years old. I am a lesbian. I am a sister, cousin, granddaughter, counselor, nanny, friend, student, artist, yogi, and runner.