“I’m just going to lose a couple of kilos before summer”, I thought to myself as I walked home from work, “I’ll be happy then”.
If only I had known then what I do now. At first, my weight loss was praised. People told me how good I looked and to keep up the good work. So I did.
The number on the scale continued to drop, my goal weight got lower and lower every time. I felt in control, I felt good, I felt on top of the world. I ran half marathons and was at the top of my game. My period had stopped and my hair started falling out…but I was healthy – or so I told myself.
As I continued even deeper into my eating disorder, more aspects of my life were becoming affected. I stopped hanging out with friends because our outings usually evolved around food. I stormed out of a family gathering because we were having mac and cheese for dinner. I had three courses of antibiotics in three months because my immune system was slim to none. But I was skinny and it was all that mattered.
I pushed away anyone who tried to help. There was no way for anyone to come between me and my new best friend – anorexia. As time went on, my grades at university started to slip, I couldn’t sleep anymore, I felt miserable. I couldn’t keep this a secret anymore. I told my mum. I cried for hours. From there, we went about finding help, which wasn’t easy. The waiting list for receiving help was huge and it would be months before I would get seen by a professional. I did, eventually, see someone and slowly began to recover.
While therapy helps, there is nothing better for recovery than eating. You have to eat to nourish your brain, you have to eat to be able to think, you have to eat to be able to survive. As I began to increase my intake, I realised something: my friends and family still loved me, I was beginning to return to my old self, and most importantly the world didn’t end. The more I ate, the more strength I had to tell the anorexia to f*** off. I finished my degree, became a nurse and am now working in my dream job.
So, to anyone fighting this horrible illness: please seek help from friends, family, a councillor or anyone you trust. If the eating disorder is screaming not too, then it’s something you need to do. Don’t wait until you are ’sick enough’ like I did, because there will always be an excuse not to do it. Anyone looking for validation, here it is: you ARE “sick enough”, you DO deserve help, and you CAN beat this. There is hope.