National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

19 years ago I dropped out of college, walked away from my collegiate athletic career and was hospitalized for an eating disorder that nearly cost me my life.

While the physical symptoms of my eating disorder eventually went away, the deep rooted issues associated with the disease didn’t. It wasn’t until I became pregnant with my first son that I invested in doing the real work on myself to get to a place of acceptance and love. And even now, that work continues.

As a young girl, my self worth was tied up in things outside of myself and stories I made up about myself. My body, my voice, my popularity, my parents approval... my talents & abilities. I was 100% insecure about all of them, yet walked around as if I had it all together. Because, perception... 

The reality: I shamed myself on the regular and never felt good enough. I was a people pleasing, type A perfectionist who was completely detached from her own feelings and desires.

Like any addiction, mine started with a trigger and eventually spiraled out of control - leaving me isolated, scared, depressed and utterly lost. For a long time I struggled with knowing who the hell I even was...

After so many years of being emotionally closed off and scared to be vulnerable, I had found comfort in the control. I didn’t want to feel, and unknowingly it became my escape.

With any addiction, or mental illness, our society thinks someone is better if the symptoms go away. The visible habits that come with the disease are gone? They must be better. 

Not quite. 

The trouble is, we fail to question if the underlying cause has been addressed and processed. In my case, that real work didn’t start until 12 years later. 

That’s when I found my voice.

I don’t like labels. I think we tie our identity to them too much and they end up defining who we are, when our identity should be about who we are as people - not what. 

I used to call myself a recovered anorexic, but that was a lie. “Recovered” implies that a resolution has taken place. But the reality is, while I have done a lot of work to improve my relationship with myself (and as a result food), the work never ends.

It’s very easy for all of us to fall into bad habits by seeking refuge in something (insert vice here), and this sabotages our growth (and happiness). In order to prevent that from happening we have to do the work, the deep work, every day. 

Eating disorders are on the rise, and it should come as no surprise that the impact social media plays is extensive. Both men and women are at risk, and more often than not it happens in silence because not all ED’s are physically obvious. 

If you know of someone who is struggling with this difficult disease, suspect someone who is, or are yourself - I urge you to seek support. If you need resources for how to support a loved one or get help, please contact me or visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

#bodylove #selfworth #eatingdisorderawarenessweek