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“Freedom has come to mean the ability to believe in a future of unlimited possibilities. I am free to think of any future I desire, to work towards any goals I want to achieve, and to make whatever dreams I want happen. It’s a beautiful thing, freedom.”
It sometimes still hurts to think back to when my eating disorder started and on the subsequently dark, cold, painful years that followed.
It was a time when I didn’t think there was anything else for me besides the harsh realities of anorexia, a time I wouldn’t speak, write, or if I could help it, think about.
What began as school-related stress and a perfectionistic personality grew into innocently skipping meals so I could study longer and not have to worry as much. Which then grew into obsessively skipping meals and getting the scale involved because I wasn’t eating anyway, so why not keep track of something that felt oddly like success? Which morphed into a paralyzing fear of food and entry into an inescapable contest with myself to see how well I could make myself less, less, less.
I was angry.
Angry that my schoolwork was unceasing. Angry that I couldn’t for the life of me shake the bitter cold that had settled deep within my bones. Angry that I couldn’t eat –no, strike that, that I didn’t want to eat. Except I also did, I just really really couldn’t.
As I approached rock bottom, unable to extricate myself from what I’d somehow gotten myself into, unable to feel joy, unable to live life, the most amazing thing happened: the people around me offered their help.
With loved ones around me now on my side, I was hospitalized and officially began down the path to recovery.
Now, I realize my experience is only my own. I fully acknowledge that no matter how a person gets sucked into the depths of an eating disorder and no matter how they get out, their experience is valid. But I thank my lucky stars daily that my journey played out the way that it did.
It took crashing into the lowest of my lows for me to come to a point where I was ready to accept help and make a change.
And for me, that was phenomenally helpful.
My name is Laura! When I was a teenager, I fought what I call a crazy battle with anorexia. After three years of intense struggling, I was lucky enough to be shown that there was another option: recovery. It took years of hard work, mental grit, and introspection, but I learned to live a life of freedom. Now I’m learning (once again) that you don’t just choose recovery; you have to keep choosing it.
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