(trigger warning: this post may make you uncomfortable. i make no apologies.)
i’ve had it all: bulimia, anorexia, orthorexia.
my eating disorders have not been linear. they have not been cyclical. they have not made sense. many times, they haven’t “looked” like what an eating disorder is “supposed” to look like.
when I was the most bulimic of my life - throwing up 2-3 times a day - I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. It was an intense, tumultuous period of my life that shaped me into who I am today…but for a long time, it’s also what kept me from sharing my story: I was afraid people wouldn’t believe me, because I wasn’t “thin enough” during those highest periods of intensity.
*let me say that again: I was afraid people wouldn’t believe that I was bulimic, because I still didn’t think that I was thin enough. you see the problem here, right?*
when I was “healed” from my bulimia and "suddenly" realized I had dabbled into anorexia (avoiding food, and eventually using prescription drugs like Adderall to numb my hunger and any emotions I was actively trying to avoid...like the pain from a breakup, or the boredom from a job) I became more concerned. to me, anorexia always seemed like the scarier disorder. I’m not sure why, because from direct experience they are both equally painful.
I oscillated between both disorders for years.
when I was sad, when I was stressed, when I wanted to control, because my life felt out of control.
sure, my eating disorders were about my body…but they also weren’t about my body. at all.
not liking how i looked physically was just the tip of a very large iceberg of self-neglect. a lack of self-love. a decision to ignore what my insides wanted to say. at the end of the day, my disorders were a loud, screaming signal that I had work to do.
i wasn't happy in my job. my city. many of my friendships. my relationships. i put so much pressure on myself - and what other people thought about me - that i didn't dare to turn inward. i knew that if i did, recognizing the disconnect would be too much to bear.
at one point (and i'll get into the specifics of that one particular point another day)...I had enough. ENOUGH. enough, enough, enough. i hired a mentor, i committed to myself, and i worked hard as FUCK on myself to go in DEEP into the unrest. i worked to actually understand the root causes of my anxieties about my appearance, about my people-pleasing tendencies, about my willingness to numb pain instead of lean into it. i committed to moving forward, because i didn't want to live like that anymore.
was it hard? fuck yes. nobody knew. it was a hard, solo voyage for sure...but looking back, i wouldn't have it any other way. those experiences are exactly what taught me how to stand tall in my own power now. to love myself - my WHOLE self, not just my physical body - through and through. it's those experiences that have given me the power to teach other people how to move past their own struggles - whether it's eating disorders, depression, a toxic relationship, or something else.
i say it all the time: inner work is work...but it works.
the more willing you are to explore those gross, scary, ugly parts of yourself, the more beautiful fucking gems you're bound to uncover. and guess what comes along with those little gems of self-knowledge? happiness. steadfast happiness.
it's there. i promise.
if you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: you CAN heal... and I’m not just talking about your physical body. I’m talking about the most important parts: your mind, and your soul.