An inspiring message from someone who has recovered and wants to inspire others, that recovery is a journey - and is possible! Thank you for sharing your story.
Last year I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I cannot pinpoint the exact timeI developed this eating disorder, as it seemed all a blur at that time, as it was hidden by depression which was as a result of a skin medication. Neither am I sure what led me to develop an eating disorder. I have had an amazing upbringing, many friends, close family and a healthy lifestyle.
In my early years of college, I felt self-conscious of how I looked, and it had been on my mind but I had been overly bothered. I wasn’t fat but I would have considered myself chubby, which now, on reflection, I realise there was nothing wrong with that. At fourteen I got to a certain weight and decidedI’m not letting myself weigh more than that, so, maybe that was the beginning. ALTHOUGH, side note; some people can healthily lose weight, and not develop an eating disorder just like some people can drink alcohol and not become an alcoholic. Unfortunately, I was not one of those people. I started eating healthier and exercising a bit. I would do 500 sit ups in one sitting which, looking back, is crazy but other than that, I was pretty normal. And here’s now where it was all such a blur and shock how it all went downhill. Suddenly it was June 2016 I was in the waiting room at the NZEDC clinic.
During the time before I was diagnosed and before I even thought something was wrong I was miserable. One of the most upsetting memories of that time was being at school and feeling so sick and faint like I was going to vomit from eating just a single mandarin that day. I was pretending to my friends I forgot my food so they would give me something small so I could have at least something in my stomach. Some of my friends would comment on my lack of eating of how much weight I’d lost and that made me feel happy. But then again, people commented on the fact that I was slim, and I thought they were lying, just to make me feel better about myself. Or I even thought it was part of some big joke. My anorexia was not just feeling fat, it was feeling annoying, and feeling like everyone hated me. Thinking back, it was so strong, it had convinced me even my friend's parents' hated me. I didn’t think I was slim. I didn’t think feeling guilty over a muesli bar was unusual. I didn’t think coming home and eating and eating was unusual. I didn’t think my target weight getting lower and lower was unusual, and I didn’t think my weight being my sign of worth or beauty was unusual.
After treatment, I’m in a much better place. Healthy eating topics can be triggering, I still feeling uncomfortable with the word “anorexia” but I no longer restrict, I eat when I’m hungry, and I no longer believe my weight is a sign of my value and beauty.
Here is my rendition of Alessia Cara's “Scars to your Beautiful”, an anthem for those struggling with their body image. A lyric that stood out to me in this song was “and you don’t have to change a thing the world could change its heart”. You are beautiful! It is society that’s not. This society that we live in, makes money from people’s self-doubt, publishing articles about what not to wear, how to get a bikini body, weight loss tips and more. No wonder teenagers have body image issues! Where is all the body positivity? Replace the weight loss tips with self-love tips, the how to get a bikini body with how to rock your bikini with confidence.
There needs to be more songs out there like this. “ Scars to your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara, is an empowering song that spreads an amazing message. I have never felt so strongly connected to a song and if you have never heard it before, listen to the lyrics. it is something everyone should hear.
To those few people who I told about my battle with Anorexia, thank you so much for all your support. I would not be here without you.
No matter what your eating disorder tells you, you are worthy of help, please ask for it.
You are not alone xx
The author gives permission for her words and video to be shared on the NZEDC website.