It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and I thought I’d write something about where I stand now in relation to my recovery from anorexia, something I’ve been writing about for Shona for the past 4 years.
I used to post and share a lot on social media about eating disorder recovery and my experience with anorexia etc. I stopped doing it as often because I began to think that this was how people were perceiving me, as a girl with an eating disorder, and not much else. This illness took my personality away from me, my hobbies, interests, passions. I gained them back throughout recovery but I was aware that others knew what I’d been through, and I wanted to be known for me and not my ED. As Megan and not as ‘anorexic’. So I shared less, acted as if I was doing great, was happy in my body, and that I was living a life free from an ED. I was in a stagnant state of getting by daily but I wasn’t living a life I knew I could live, and deep down I knew this. But because I was doing a lot better than I was in the past, I didn’t think I needed help again. In fact, I was scared to tell people how I truly felt because I was being told I was ‘an inspiration’, ‘brave’, ‘strong’, and overall just ‘doing so great’. People were proud of me, and reaching out and saying I needed help again seemed like I was going back to square one, I felt I’d be letting people down. Ultimately, I felt like a failure.
It occurred to me after some time that I couldn’t live this way anymore. I came to a breaking point as I was struggling so much in private and putting on a brave face in public. I felt I was making excuses for my behaviour because I didn’t want to let people know of the real reasons why I was acting the way I was. I know how easy it is to relapse into your ED, and the last thing I wanted was for this to happen again. Asking for help back at 14 saved my life, and maybe asking for help again at 22 would improve my life. I decided to take that chance and not have my decision be based on how others see me because I’m the only person who gets to live with my mind, why not make it the healthiest it can be?
I’m now back getting help to heal my relationship with food and my body, I’m not ashamed anymore to say this, in fact, I’m proud because it shows I’m taking control of my life and wishing to live it the best I can. I no longer feel I’m not ‘worthy’ of help, I am a person with feelings and trauma that still causes pain, and I need help to overcome this.
Mental health is a fluency of good and bad and great and terrible and every little thing in between. If we reach a high, we shouldn’t be angry or frustrated at ourselves for reaching a low again. Wellness culture may want us to believe that having a bath and lighting a candle is good for our mental well-being, but when you’re so low these small things are ultimately not going to change anything. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to feel your best all the time, life is seriously confusing and crazy and that brings confusing and crazy thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
When you feel like things are getting too much to handle, don’t be afraid to say it to someone, and to let people know you want help. It’s scary to be vulnerable but we need to be if we desire change. Putting on a facade that everything is ok may seem like the easiest option, but it’s just a small dig at a big hole that will suck you up, and from there you won’t see any light.
You don’t need to “Be Happy” all the time, you just gotta know that sadness occurs just as often as happiness and that doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you human 💗
We just want to say a massive thank you to Megan for sharing this with us x
If you have been affected by anything in this article, you can take a look at BODYWHYS which provides online, phone and group support for eating disorders.
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