??What do you “see” when you look at this photo?
Let me tell you what I see…
I see a girl with low self-esteem, a girl who’s lonely and never feels good enough.
I see anxiety -fear, doubt, paralysis, suffocation.
I see depression -isolation, turmoil, defeat, a life not worth living.
I see anorexia -a coping mechanism innocently turned deadly. Numbing my internal pain by focusing on calories, weight, exercise. Watching life and opportunities crumble into ruins. Sensing my parents’ pain and fear when my weight dropped to 56 pounds.
I see binge eating disorder -a violent counter to starvation. Numbing my internal pain by secretly focusing on binging all day. Letting food artificially fill the emptiness within. Watching the scale flash 221 pounds only a year and a half later.
I see bulimia -desperation to regain control. Numbing my internal pain with a vicious binge -laxative -restrict -repeat cycle that was seemingly endless.
I see the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. I see it equally in all my different physical forms -because the turmoil in my mind was the same.
But I also see hope, courage, perseverance, beauty and hard work.
I see healing.
I see recovery.
I see a girl who decided to not give up -who was determined to address the internal pain over and over until it was her eating disorder that went numb.
I see a girl who got her whole life back -and so much more.
I see a girl who represents one of millions -a voice for such a highly misunderstood and devastating disease.
Full recovery is possible.
None of us are alone -speaking out is the solution to silently staying sick.
I see what no photo could ever capture -a journey composed of peaks, valleys, and dead ends -but also an eventual slow climb to the top of the mountain.
The struggle is within. The solution is within.
I’m not the exception; I’m simply an example.
Now close your eyes and tell me –do you see what I see?