I just recently got a tattoo of a lioness wearing a crown…this is my recovery tattoo. The courage and fight I had to keep fronting up with day in day out for 15 years saved my life….this is a happy ending!
I lost my teens and all my 20’s to the Eating disorders Bulimia and Anorexia.
It truly took away everything in my life.
Whilst battling various mental illness’ that ‘kindly’ piggy backed along…and having over 40+ inpatient admissions to a Psych Hospital in Melbourne, I was 29 and I decided I no longer wanted to be the ‘sick one’…
But it wasn’t as easy as just deciding that and wave the wand and now I fall in love with myself!!
I’ve sat in front of multiple therapists weekly, sometimes twice weekly for 10 years. They were the ones holding my ‘hope’….there was no light, no belief in recovery….and the darker my days got, the more convinced I was destined to be entrapped forever. Sadly I tried ending my life multiple times. Fortunately unsuccessful. I would beg my Psychiatrist to just “give up on me and let me die…”
My amazing family were just hanging onto hope themselves…scared I was going to die any day.
Obsession, ruminating, self centrEDness and the amount of food I could binge and purge on, or powerfully refuse, I just thrived. And I had convinced myself “this was the only way I’d ever get happy…” by shrinking myself.
But I didn’t want my world to shrink as well!? I didn’t sign up for that…..but with my shrinking world and sicker body and mind….I chose to hand my will, honesty and openness (WHO) over to my therapists. Surrender and wave the white flag!!! I didn’t know best, my illness wanted me dead, and I realised a number was never enough….it was never going to be enough- only once I was dead would the illness be happy.
So no more lies, no more water loading before weigh ins, no more avoiding my GP’s phone calls but answering them and following instructions to go to Emergency to have countless potassium infusion!
Caring for myself, getting a haircut, painting my nails, buying clothes, putting on makeup…was all impossible! I didn’t want to show one ounce of care and kindness to myself. I despised myself, the way I looked, but ultimately despised myself for all the milestone events I missed out on, the connections with family and friends I just pushed away, the opportunities I lost…
I’ve never been so adamant in my life about anything other than that I was 100% convinced I was unfixable. Recovery seemed out of reach and impossible. I know how hard it is to believe someone when they say “Recovery is Possible”…
To now live a life, happy to wake up each morning, at peace with my body…no longer striving for perfection…because my version of perfection was never enough and was killing me! Medication helped…once I allowed myself to take it, as helping myself was hard for me. I didn’t deserve medication to get well….
Fast forward days and days of just trying again and again at recovery…finally I started seeing things that were meaningful re-enter my life…and realising in time that I had wasted so much of my life missing out, opting out and backing out…as I emerged from the “fog” I couldn’t believe how I threw away so much for so long.
Recovery isn’t a lightbulb moment. It’s trying again and again and again.
Crucial for my recovery was realising I was going to make something good out of all this suffering. I am motivated and determined to shake up the Eating Disorder world and make use out of the High Distinction I had attained in Eating Disorder knowledge, tactics, thought processing and suffering. I may not have received a scroll and graduation hat at the end of my illness’ days…but I got my life back, and this was better than anything!!!
Turning such a dark, desperate, hopeless time into a positive, completely changed my trajectory of recovery.
The day I decided I am going to work with other men and woman who are suffering with this illness that also have zero belief and hope…I was and am driven to make a difference. To have support and guidance from somebody like myself who has “walked the walk”…has already touched and helped my many ED warriors fIve met along the way. And this gift to give is ‘surprise’ a billion times more worth it than being a prisoner.
My advice to others is that you don’t go through what you go through, because you’re a bad person, a failure or someone not worthy of just a life! But you go through what you go through because you’ve got the strength, courage and tenacity within to make it out the other side. And you MUST then tell your story, scream it from the rooftops…because future sufferers need to hear your story and have YOU give them that hope…that you have lost for so long…
Survive. Thrive. Share your experience. More often than not, us, the beautiful souls that suffer from this illness….are so gifted, intelligent and if you’re motivated enough to stay in your ED, believe me you’ve got it within you to get out!
My career and job was my mental illness, my identity was my illness’….but now it’s not in my life….I can have a relationship with family, friends even a partner! I can order a fried fish on fish and chip night because let’s get real…it tastes SO much better. If I feel like dessert later at night, I’ll reach for a drumstick!
The freedom, flexibility, zest for living and acceptance of myself has by far trumped the desire or thought to ever want to go back…
I’ve been to hell, I’ve put others through hell, I’ve become a harder, stronger and more grateful person because of my recovery. The little things in life….I definitely don’t sweat!
Recovery is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And I am so proud of myself for never giving up!
Now I wear and show my crown with pride!