NEDA Awareness Week 2023
💚National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is here and it always causes me to reflect —both on the hardships I suffered, and what I fought to overcome. I believe all of us have demons to contend with in our lives. However, not all of us go to battle against a clear enemy; some of us go to war against ourselves.
I don’t remember the first time I looked in the mirror and saw a monster, but I did feel something wasn’t right with me. My brain felt on fire. Obsessive thoughts plagued me, and my anxiety surged. Nothing I did ever felt good enough —I was never pretty enough, cool enough, successful enough, or thin enough. How could I be? If I were actually enough, then I would feel happy and at peace, not inadequate and flawed.
Aiming for perfection seemed like my only option. I twisted myself inside out so that I could transform into someone of value. In one sense, I succeeded by reinventing myself. I was unrecognizable as I almost lost my life to anorexia. I lived a hushed life of a shut-in when I became obese from binge eating disorder. And I lived a double life when I was privately bulimic and publicly praised for my appearance.
It finally dawned on me that no matter how much I changed visibly, I was still going to gaze into the mirror and see ME. And when I looked at myself, I saw all that I had lost to my disorder. Time didn’t stand still for me, and the regret buried by what I would never get back weighed heavy. I had an important choice to make; I could stay in my grief wondering “what if” OR I could take actions that would prevent my regrets from persisting.
Recovery is the antidote to regret. Facing my eating disorder and all that lay underneath its veil has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I had to come to terms with the fact that, while my life might forever be altered, I didn’t have to dwell on what was, and could instead focus on what is and could be.
Eating disorders are insidious diseases and they are never a choice. They are also possible to overcome. Healing helped me define value differently and appreciate who I am on the inside. And so, while I don’t remember the first time I looked into the mirror and saw a monster, I do remember the last. ~Britt💜
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