The fear glistened in my eyes as I sat down at the dinner table. I was vulnerable, beginning to lose my identity, my sense of worth; finding myself manipulated and trapped. I was blinded from what was happening, lacking the perception to see that I was slipping away into nothing. Yet I managed to fake some sort of peace of mind in order to camouflage the suffering I felt inside. And that was the first lie my eating disorder whispered into my ears – “I am okay.”
For years I would wake up not living, just merely surviving. Some days I simply craved the destruction of my own body. My stomach would growl on the hour, craving not only food but some sort of comfort my life was lacking. It was as if the comfort I found in destroying myself would calm all my fears in an instant. I became hungry for happiness and somehow managed to convince myself that the eating disorder would satisfy my appetite. I began flirting with these disordered thoughts, and before I knew it, the voice of the eating disorder coated my vision until that was all I could see.
Soon enough, I stumbled upon others going through the same torment. I watched as their eyes glazed over with melancholy when they sat down at the dinner table in the hospital. Hours upon hours would go by until our plates would be cleared. Day after day of repeating this process released my eyes from the cloudy vision and opened up doors of hope. Watching the other strugglers’ eyes brighten as they took each bite and seeing their bodies ignite with life with each grueling thought they pushed away proved the worth of staying with the process – through the twists, turns, and everything in between – no matter how hard it gets.
I remember one day hearing, “I cannot think of anything worse than failing suicide, you fail so much at life that you even fail to kill yourself,” and being consumed with guilt from my past. Today, each time I hear those words slip from someone’s mouth, the higher my motivation jumps to put an end to the stigma, the suffering, the pain. I have become hungry for a change, hungry to make a difference. I am now opening up, sharing my story for the entire world to hear. Speaking my truth, becoming vulnerable. Sharing pieces of my past I was previously ashamed for and cowered away from in hopes of helping at least one single person.
Slowly but surely, the drive to thrive and create a life full of adventures began to overpower the suffocating apathy the eating disorder caused. I began to recognize the incredible power my body has, the mental strength I have gained through years of treatment and learned how to cope with the toxic mindset that became the norm. Each step forward came with an ambition to celebrate my strengths and acknowledge this journey I have gone through of overcoming this crippling, gruesome disorder. I began to wake up excited to see what the new day has in store for me. Exploring the incredible qualities my body and mind has and the strength I have gained throughout the years of this battle.
“I cannot think of anything worse than failing suicide, you fail so much at life that you fail to even kill yourself”
Actually, I can think of something worse than failing a suicide.
And that is succeeding.
Because despite the years spent with a disease that has filled my head with demons, I have managed to continue life while encouraging and sprinkling joy throughout whoever’s life crossed my path. And that, is one profound act of bravery. And despite the hounding to end it all, continuing to rise out of bed each day and nourish myself while feeding others hope is anything but a failure.