Happy NEDA week friends! NEDA stands for National Eating Disorder Awareness in case you didn’t know
Every single year, I let NEDA week go by without saying much as far as raising awareness for the disease. Well, not this year. This year I spoke up about anorexia on my personal instagram/facebook, but I wanted to say a little more.
There is so much stigmatism around anorexia. Anorexia is more than “I don’t want to eat because I’ll get fat”
Every single day for years of my life, I’ve fought a mental battle. Every single morning, the disordered and obsessive thoughts are there… the second I wake up. Sometimes it’s like a conversation in my head..
“I NEED to go to the gym today.” “Ugh, but I’m really tired. I barely slept last night and I’ve worked out every day this week. Maybe I’ll skip the gym” “Nope!! No skipping the gym you HAVE to go” Usually, if I really am not feeling the gym, I’ll skip it. Which leads to obsessive thoughts all day long.
“Should I have an apple with breakfast or strawberries? “Well.. If I have an apple with breakfast I can’t have one later with lunch because I can’t have the same fruit twice in one day” “But what if lunch time comes around and I don’t even want the apple anymore? Then when do I get to eat it?”
“omg I was only supposed to eat half of that protein bar and I ate the whole thing.. now my whole day is ruined and I feel like I’ve gained 5 pounds!!!”
Get the point?! Obsessive.
I almost lost my life to anorexia. I almost LET myself lose my life to anorexia.. too many times. I starved myself to a point where it was dangerous for my body to even be up and walking around. I starved myself to a point where my body no longer functions properly – organs start to shut down when you’re that malnourished. My digestive system is all out of whack. My hair falls out everywhere. I am ALWAYS cold. I no longer get my period (sorry TMI) because I starved my body so much. Because of that damage, I may never be able to have children. Yup.. that’s the truth. I put my body through SO much that there is a chance that I will NEVER be able to have children. That thought scares me every single day, it has since the beginning. But did I stop restricting? Did that fear make me want to turn things around and get healthy? Nope. Not even THAT was enough to make me stop my unhealthy habits. Because anorexia doesn’t care about any of that.
I’ve spent too much of my life hating myself. Too many months trapped inside the walls of a hospital. Too many years destroying my body, feeling unworthy of love, of life.
There was a point in time where I was force fed through a feeding tube. One that went up my nose and down into my stomach. There was a point in time where I wanted to die. Yes, that sounds harsh.. but its REAL. There was a point in time where I could not focus, or hold a conversation, or remember what someone had said to me 2 minutes prior because my brain was MALNOURISHED. There was a point where walking up a single flight of stairs took every ounce of energy in me. A time where I used to cry over having to eat a single strawberry. I used to feel dizzy, ALL of the time. I used to feel weak. I could feel how hard my body was working, just to keep me breathing, let alone all the other stuff.
I had chest pains every day. Nausea every day. Getting out of bed was a force. It took everything in me to eat and not shed tears. Self harm was my “get away”. I would hide food. I missed social events because of fears of people seeing me eat. I would grab at my fat, squeeze it, yell out of anger and cry out of disgust.
Yes, anorexia is about my body. But no, that is not ALL it is.
Anorexia is a monster. A manipulative trap. It’s a disease that seems impossible to get away from, and I’m not sure I ever entirely will.
Recovery is a process – a long one. I have to wake up every morning and choose recovery. I have to choose to fight for myself, for my life. My battle isn’t over. Thankfully, I am MUCH further than I ever thought I would be. I have found a passion for health and nutrition, and from that, food has become easier.
I still struggle with obsessive thoughts every day. I still struggle with the thought of calories. I still struggle with not being able to accept my body, and wanting to change it. I still struggle with negative thoughts about myself. Sometimes I still push myself too hard in the gym. Sometimes I ignore my hunger cues. I am a work in progress. BUT, I can finally see a little light in what has felt like years of darkness. I finally have a little hope. I have had one hell of a support system through this whole journey. If it weren’t for them, I would’ve given up on myself a LONG time ago. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m grateful every day that I am still alive to keep fighting, and as hard as it is to admit… I am proud of my progress.
If you are struggling, I encourage you to reach out. Get the help that you need. This is no way to live, and I am finally realizing that after YEARS of not wanting to recover. You are worthy of more than this disorder allows you to believe.
Anorexia is not what it is stigmatized to be, and I hope this post gave you a little insight about what the disease actually is. Happy NEDA week 🙂
As always, thank you so so much for reading!!!