The breakthrough came when I took the giant leap of faith to ask for help
I sit here staring at the cursor blinking away, wondering how things ever got to the point where I would be lead down the road of an eating disorder. As I think more and more about it, I wonder why I am so surprised – in hindsight, it now seems that it was inevitable.
To those that knew me growing up, I was a very active, funny, obsessive, little smart-ass that always like to get in my two cents worth. I was desperately shy around new people – in most situations I struggled to speak up and be heard.
What belied this active, cheeky exterior, was a serious lack of self-confidence and self-worth. This continued on throughout my adolescence – maintaining, but seemingly not getting any worse. Then one day, I made a decision that millions of people make every every week – I decided to go on a diet and lose some weight.
What would ensue would be a long battle with an eating disorder over many years. This fight would become a 12 round heavyweight battle – fought with the toughest opponent I had never seen – in what could only have been described as a no-holds-barred, bare-knuckled stoush, fought with my hands tied behind my back – this was never going to be a fair fight.
What made this fight so difficult, is that for a long time, I didn’t even know the opponent I was really fighting. For so long I had believed I was fighting the lack of will power and desire required to be ‘perfect’. It wasn’t until I saw a story on T.V that I realised this wasn’t a battle with myself – this was a fight with ‘E.D’.
Realising what I was truly fighting was the first win I had had throughout this dour struggle. But while the real opponent had finally been unmasked, this was only the beginning. There would be fewer ups than downs over the coming years as I fought the belief that I wasn’t worth fighting for.
The breakthrough came when I took the giant leap of faith to ask for help. This had occurred once before some years earlier with almost disastrous consequences. This time however would be different. A little bit of luck in the form of being introduced to the right doctor, had unknowingly turned this unfair fight my way.
It was now two against one – and the numbers were in my favour for the first time. It took time to believe that recovery was even remotely possible. As the stranglehold of ‘E.D’ slowly began to weaken, there were flashes of what the future might hold.
Bam. Pow. Crash – we had entered the 12th round and I had come out swinging. Bloodied and bruised, this new found vision of a ‘normal’ life had me fighting the eating disorder and not myself.
Fast forward a few years on without any disordered eating in sight, and an epiphany had occurred – unlike a similar situation which had taken place years earlier, where suddenly one day I had realised that I could no longer recall the last time I had had an episode, this epiphany was even more significant – as it had come through what would be for anyone, one of the toughest times a person can face.
Just days after the end of a long-term relationship with my ex-partner, I realised that this situation in years gone by, would have been a guaranteed trigger for ‘E.D’ to exploit. On this occasion however, ‘E.D’ was nowhere to be seen. There was just a quiet inner peace that left me knowing all would be OK, and life would go on.
Almost nine years on and the only thoughts that fill my head, are all the places I can’t wait to visit, and all the things that I hope to achieve. I don’t expect life will always be smooth sailing – but the self-belief that I can conquer any opponent that foolishly decides to take me on, leaves me safe in the knowledge, that the light will never become dark again.