Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. There is so much stigma around these diseases. What people don't realize is that Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Yet it is the least recognized and the least taken seriously. You don't have to be 60 pounds to have an eating disorder. In fact sometimes the sickest people are the ones who look completely healthy.
In my early teens I was not a depressed person. I was that girl who was always smiling and happy with an absolute love for life and everything that it had to offer. It wasn’t until I was in the depths of my eating disorder, when I really began to struggle. I had just felt so hopeless, and that I would be stuck like this forever. I thought I would never be able to rid myself of all of this self loathing and misery. Within the last year, there were times when I would just sleep for days. With no energy to eat or get out of bed. Isolating myself from many people, including my family, I was just an all around miserable person. Then there would be times where I would go days without being able to sleep. No matter what I tried I could not clear my mind from all of this negativity. I no longer cared about anything, I hated myself and my eating disordered life so much I did not care if I would live another day or not. I wanted to die. After hospitalization in January, I remember lying in the hospital bed just wishing that god would let me die. I was suffering so badly I saw no other way out. I had no hope for myself and my life. I was so wrapped up in my own disease that I did not think of my family or friends and how much they loved me and how much their lives would be effected if I chose to no longer live, but in my mind I knew I couldn't go on living the way my life was going. Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa had completely consumed my whole being. This is what this disease does. Takes you into a place where you see no other way out.
That’s when I knew I needed to get help. To free myself from this every day torture.
Laying hopeless and miserable in the hospital bed I heard a lady in the next bed praying. I’ve grown up in a fairly religious family. We attended church on all the major holidays and I believed in God. But at this point I was angry at him. How did he let me get this way? Why did he let this terrible disease consume me and take my love for life away from me? But being at this “rock bottom point” I decided to give prayer a try. I prayed. I begged god to help me get through this. Deep down I knew I didn't want to die. And at that moment I knew God didn’t want me to either.
Shortly after, I was introduced to this support group, Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous. And this is when my life truly changed. I attend two meetings a week, in which we read from our own literature and follow a twelve step program to help us reach freedom from this potentially fatal disease. I have a sponsor who I can call or text whenever I am having a tough time and she helps to keep me on track. I pray multiple times everyday; when I wake up and before I go to sleep, before and after every meal and anytime during the day I might be having a tough time. I have surrendered my food, body weight and shape and exercise to God, and I ask daily to be freed from my sins. This program has changed my life. It has given me the hope back that I never thought I would have again. I still have bad days, but I am trusting in God and his plan for me and that he will continue to help me through this. I have accepted the fact that I will never have a “normal” relationship with food, but it doesn't always have to be this hard. And I've had proof that it doesn't always have to be. I’ve had moments of light, of happiness. And the longer I am in recovery, the longer these moments seem to last.
That day in the hospital bed, I made the decision to continue to live and to ﬁght with every ounce of energy I had left in my body. Recovery is hard but it is SO worth it. Life is worth it. I still get emotional talking about it now. Thinking that just 5 months ago I didn’t think my life was worth it and that I would never be able to live without my eating disorder. But here I am. Having experienced the peace recovery has to offer. I’ve graduated from my program. I am about to start a new job as a ﬂight attendant for a regional airline in BC, with plans to go back to school at BCIT next September. I’m able to appreciate so many amazing things in life and cherish all of the meaningful relationships that I have. I can easily say choosing that day to live, was the best decision I have ever made.
I write this blog in honour of World Eating Disorder Action Day, tomorrow, June 2nd. By joining 200 Organizations and thousands of activists in over 40 countries dedicated to promoting worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment, we can help to end the stigma.
No matter how hopeless, or alone you may feel. No matter how much you think your life doesn't matter, take it from me, someone who has been in that place, it does. There is light at the end of that tunnel. We need to keep ﬁghting. To be stronger then our depression, our anxiety or our eating disorders. And you are certainly not alone. I chose to share my story and my struggles to hopefully help anyone who may be struggling and to let them know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If I can reach even a single person, then I have done my job. Each and every one of us are beautiful in our own ways, and we are all worthy of life and all its beauty. You Are More <3
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" - Matthew 6:25