If you are currently suffering from an eating disorder, this post might be triggering for you. Please proceed with caution and know that you are amazing just the way you are!
I’ve been really sentimental lately. With my college days coming to a fast close (one week!), I have definitely been taking some time to reflect on the highlights – the ups and downs, if you will – of my college career. My recovery from anorexia nervosa took place during my college years. I’ve never gone into complete detail about it but I figured now would be good a time as any – to close one chapter of college with my story.
When I entered college, I was not at Framingham State University. I began at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and, in hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea. I was very sick with my eating disorder and totally lost. I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. I instinctively chose to major in journalism because I knew that writing was a strong suit of mine – but I didn’t really know if it was my passion.
I’m not the partying type (never really was) and I knew that UMass Amherst was notorious for that. I gave it a whirl thinking it would broaden my horizons and open me up to the real me…the “new” me. Little did I know, it would only feed my eating disorder. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and trying to fit in with people I didn’t really mesh with. I made myself feel insecure and worthless, and tried numbing it with under eating, overexercising, and binge drinking on the weekends.
The first semester of my second year, I was threatened with being kicked out of school if I didn’t take the necessary precautions to get healthy. I hated everything about that. I hated that I had lost complete control of everything in my life. So. Much. Hate.
Nevertheless, I took recovery into my own hands. It was very, very hard. When you are malnourished and sick with an eating disorder, gaining weight seems like the worst thing in the world. You start to possess things a woman should posses, like boobs and a butt. Getting them back was so strange. I was so uncomfortable with my new body. But I trudged onwards. I added sunflower seeds to my salads and nut butter to my apples.
And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. I got my glow back!
That was my last year at UMass. I decided to turn over a new leaf and apply to FSU’s nutrition program. Nutrition was always my passion but I was always intimidated by the incredibly taxing courses. No more! I was ready to conquer the world.
Well, I fooled myself.
My first year at Framingham, I relapsed – and it was awful. I felt like I had “undone” all of the hard work and dedication I had put into recovery. I started seeing my therapist again, and she really helped me. She asked me how I felt and I told her that I felt ugly and worthless, all of the things that my eating disorder wanted me to be. She asked me if I wanted to remain feeling that way and I told her, “No.” Something clicked, and I began my second recovery process. It was much easier this time around – I think because I was starting to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (nutrition and writing), and I knew that I couldn’t do it with an eating disorder. I stopped my destructive behaviors and started journaling more often.
And you know what? I got my glow back again!
When I was sick with my eating disorder, there wasn’t a light inside of me. My light was clouded by my self-hatred. During recovery, I had good and bad days – days when I loved myself and days when I hated myself. Now, I love myself, I deserve to be loved, and I have a light - just like every one of us.
It’s still hard. Certain things still haunt me. My period is irregular and my eating disorder voice creeps in from time to time. But I know how to handle it now. I need to do what’s right for me. That’s why I wrote this post. We always need to follow our hearts – otherwise we lose sight of what’s important to us. We also need to look forward to new adventures with determination. We need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones – past the point in which that voice inside of you says, “You can’t!” Why? Because YOU CAN.
YOU deserve love. YOU deserve to be loved. YOU have a light! Let it shine, baby!