A journey to the light
I am Em, I’m 19 years old and I was diagnosed with anorexia two years ago. I grew up as an active kid, doing all kind of sports and competing in gymnastics up to 20 hours a week.
People always want to know how my anorexia started, like there’s some miracle answer but the truth is it’s more complicated than that. Anorexia is a complex illness and for me at least, it was never about wanting to lose weight but rather craving a feeling of control when everything else around me was out of control. My illness is rooted in trauma, perfectionistic and obsessive tendencies, repressed emotions, feeling unworthy of love and so much more that it’d be difficult to summarise it all up into one concrete answer.
To say I’ve overcome my eating disorder would be a long shot but I’ve come a long way and for that I’m proud. The support of my friends and therapy as well as the community on Instagram has allowed me to know I am not alone and helped me a great deal.
I think I realised I needed help when I realised I was barely surviving. My whole life revolved around anorexia, 24/7 no break. I struggles to focus on the smallest of tasks my body was hanging on by a thread and I was terrified of not making it through the night.
Once I reached out my illness was invalidated and I was told I wasn’t sick enough to get treatment, this only prolonged my suffering and delayed my recovery. Next time I showed up to my doctors office I was diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse and anemia; both consequence of my eating disorder. Unfortunately this is the story of many others, many who haven’t lived to tell their story. Therefore I decided to start an instagram account (@milsliving) to advocate for eating disorders and recovery and spread awareness to help those in need and hopefully make someone else feel less alone.
I am very grateful for those who guided me into reaching out when I couldn’t see what to do myself. If I could talk to a younger version of myself I’d tell her that she’s going to be okay, that she will survive and find people who genuinely love her. Letting go and getting help is terrifying but to continue and act like nothing is happening is a road that will never lead to a better life.
No matter how sick you feel, how weak you are it will never be enough. Your eating disorder will always find a way to win, to remain in the back of your head, all the time. So my advice to anyone who needs to hear this would be to get help right now. Even if you do not feel sick enough, because you never will. You already are, and you deserve help, waiting even one more day could cost you your life and you deserve to live.
So many struggle with anorexia yet we talk so little about it.
If you are reading this and my story resonates with you please reach out, you are not alone.