Rachel's Story

Self Discovery Through Recovery


“I have rarely said the word “anorexia” out load. Such a harsh, ugly word, for a ugly, ugly illness. To this day talking about it out loud is hard and uncomfortable. Writing quickly became my greatest outlet and way to process and express.

They say genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. Events, circumstances and tendencies came together at once to form the perfect opportunity for the development of anorexia and for it to rapidly takeover. I become unwell rapidly and what felt like out of nowhere when I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in 2019.

Working in healthcare I thought I somewhat understood anorexia being a mental condition resulting in physical symptoms, however I NEVER could have imagined the complexity, depth and layers of what’s happening in someone’s heart and mind. They are perceived to be about food and body which is such a damaging misconception. Although sadly the connection with your body becomes completely severed. They are a sense of safety, calmness, order & control. Although this is a terribly oversimplified explanation.

Eating disorders thrive in isolation. COVID hit at a detrimental time & I deteriorated quickly, ending up spending some time in Hospital at the end of 2020, after months of believing I had recovered, although now I know this was “quasi recovery”. To see how quickly I became unwell and how hard it was to stay well, was terrifying. What felt like rock bottom was really the beginning of my first sincere commitment to myself. For me, healing from the damage and trauma that the eating disorder itself has caused mentally, physically and spiritually, the places physically/ mentally that it’s driven me to and the self hatred for the pain I caused to loved ones is by far the hardest aspect of it all.

It’s deep, hard internal work for recovery. It’s a daily fight within yourself and a society/culture that’s constantly pushing diets and weight loss as if it’s the greatest thing you could possibly achieve. You feel alone, running in wrong direction, opposite to everyone else. Who you are closely surrounded with can be detrimental at this stage.

You can’t do it all alone, but your formal and informal supports can only get you so far. Its frightening and empowering to know you are the only one who truly holds the power to save yourself from this illness.

If you can endure the pain of the disorder you can get through the pain of recovery. Not only a life free of a disorder but a life that you’re more free in, stronger and connected to than ever. I believe that those who experience and/or recovering from an eating disorder and other mental illnesses are the most self aware , nonjudgmental and compassionate individuals there are. Recovery brings forced self discovery, awareness and acceptance. Protection and connection to your deepest self. And with that you bloom into the truest, powerful version of yourself. You know yourself inside out and many never get to that place. That’s the one thing you will thank your eating disorder for.

A few quotes that have helped me:

“An eating disorder is a fight against yourself. Recovery is a fight for yourself.”

” I’m doing this for future me, so she gets to live the life she deserves”.