Sarah's Story

Be Afraid and Do It Anyway


Recovery. This word used to invoke a great deal of fear and anxiety, because I knew that embarking on a journey of recovery meant letting go of my eating disorder; a prospect that was very difficult to fathom during the depths of my illness.

My experience with anorexia nervosa began when I was around 15 years old, and continued into my late teenage years. Anxiety was like a prelude to the onset of my eating disorder, where the loss of control I felt over my body and mind, led me to attempt to control the only thing I thought I could, which happened to be food. Anorexia had me continually chasing that sense of control and running from the anxiety I felt. Only I couldn’t see that the sicker I became and the more I succumbed to anorexia’s lies, the more chaotic my life came to be.

I believed I was destined for a life spent ricocheting between relapse and recovery, as I had done for the past five years since my diagnoses in 2015, never able to be freed from the mental entrapment that is anorexia.

My eating disorder never seemed to be satisfied, no matter how much I shrunk myself or surrendered to anorexia’s insurmountable demands, it was just never enough. It took me a long time to realise that maybe anorexia will never be satisfied, maybe my disorder was something to fear and not the food on my plate. Maybe it was a greater accomplishment to rebel against disordered urges, to do the opposite of what feels comfortable, to be afraid and do it anyway.

Recovery is definitely one of the most difficult journeys I have embarked upon. However, it is also one of the most worthwhile. It has given me my life back, as well as a genuine happiness which anorexia could never bring. Perhaps one of the hardest things about recovery is that the decision to recover doesn’t happen just once. You must chose recovery everyday, several times a day which can be challenging even at the best of times. But I can assure you that this choice does become easier as you become stronger, and the eating disorder weaker.

I am still navigating my path towards a full recovery, and with the amazing support of my Mum, Dad and Sister, as well as my psychologist and dietician, I have made and continue to make great progress in my recovery. So from the girl who never believed in a full recovery from an eating disorder, who struggled to see that there is indeed a life beyond anorexia, Recovery is real, it is possible and it is so hopeful. Be afraid, and do it anyway. Fight for the freedom you deserve.