I’ve had an eating disorder for pretty much my entire adult life. I started my recovery journey the first day I stepped foot in a treatment center.
I thought I was recovering on my own for quite some time, but without the things I learned in Renfrew (through eating disorder specialists) I did not realize that trying to rid yourself of the behaviors is not what gets rid of ED.
Jenni Schaefer (writer of Life without ED) helped me hear the constant voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. Which is why in my writing, I will refer to my eating disorder as ED.
Through treatment, I found my own voice.
With the support of strong women behind me, I found the words to fight back.
And through my own strength and determination, I find independence from my eating disorder-daily. It is ongoing.
I loved writing when I was young. Since 5th grade, English was my favorite subject. I stopped at 17, my first year in college. Being a writer was yet another characteristic ED decided I wasn’t good enough to do. Thus, he took it away, as he did many other things–my ability to get dressed with ease, being a good worker, creating and maintaining friendships… the list can go on forever.
Today I am proud to have my life back, and I am also not ashamed to say that I am still peeling back layers of myself.
I speak openly about my eating disorder. Because I want to remove the secrecy and shame.
I also want to call out how ED has become disgustingly normalized. It is why I was able to go years without even knowing I had an eating disorder. And probably why many others do not realize the abusive thoughts they have about themselves are actually ED.
Preoccupation with food, and obsession with reaching the “ideal body” is acceptable in our culture.
It breeds poor body image and the need for control which is a lethal combination for developing an eating disorder.
I’m reaching for self-love. But, right now I’ll settle for neutrality. Meaning, the voice may still be in my head, but I can see and hear the girl who’s having fun and she’s way more important.
My goal is to be transparent. Show the world who I am, with or without the insecurities. Fight through it and one day maybe I can reach a point where I am fully and utterly in love with myself.
(by the way) Finally posting pictures of myself was insanely stressful. My personal values wanted me to make the leap. But, of course, here came ED–ol’ reliable–who was too afraid of being judged. I’m sure it will get easier.
After much deliberation, this is the criteria for posting a picture.
If you are ever ashamed of how you look, my suggestion is KEEP LOOKING until you find something to smile about.