I was diagnosed with anorexia in 2015 when I was 18 years old, after returning from my gap year. Ever since I was young, I have been extremely anxious and self-conscious. In high-school, my perfectionist and over-achiever personality developed stronger year after year. It is hard for me to talk about my gap year for a few reasons, one of which is because I can’t remember much from it (maybe because I have suppressed it deep down in my memory or that I literally cannot remember because my eating disorder was in charge).
Regardless, I came home 5 months early to very concerned parents. My return home was not what I expected. Very quickly, my eating disorder became my life. I was visiting my GP weekly, and seeing a psychologist and a dietitian who I disliked strongly to put it politely. I was in denial of my eating disorder, despite my behaviours being anything but normal. Every aspect of my life had changed. I went with my parents to visit my brother in America just a few months after I was diagnosed. My eating disorder controlled every aspect of that trip, including that night I had a full-blown tantrum in a beautiful restaurant in Vail, Colorado. That trip was one of many life experiences that my eating disorder has tainted.
In early 2017 I finally found a psychologist that I resonated with. I think this is when my recovery journey truly started. Since, I have had many relapses. I have battled various mental health battles and physical illnesses – all of which can be linked directly to my eating disorder. Whilst I am not yet fully recovered, I am the closest to recovery that I have ever been. I know I still have a way to go, but I can say I am proud of myself for how far I have come. I am especially proud for never giving up even when I thought it was impossible to keep fighting the eating disorder.
My battle with anorexia has been the hardest thing in my entire life (to put this in perspective, in 2018 I was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis – an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease). Some days, the eating disorder voice is louder than others. But I am grateful that my real voice can now rise up against it. There was a time when my only voice was the eating disorder’s. Recovery is not easy. But it is worth it. A life free of an eating disorder is worth the battle. I will keep fighting, and I hope you will too.