Beautiful Moments in Recovery
I was on steroids for several chronic conditions as a child, which caused me to gain some excess weight. At that time, the Indian community I grew up in and my family constantly drew attention to my weight by making comments, comparing me to other kids my age, etc. I can’t remember a single conversation I had with anyone during this time that was not redirected to the topic of my weight. Things like eating disorders aren’t, or rather weren’t very well known or common in my culture. So, most people didn’t think too much of the impact that their comments could have on a young mind.
In addition to my community, I also danced regularly. Being a dancer, there was always pressure on me to lose weight and wearing a leotard for most of the week drew a lot of unwanted attention to my body and size. After I got off the steroids, I lost weight and was actually at what was considered a healthy weight, but by then my mindset was skewed and I felt that I needed to keep losing weight and was fearful of gaining weight. I started purging at 15 years old, and once people caught on to my frequent bathroom visits after meals, I started restricting my food intake all together. If I couldn’t get rid of it, I was going to make sure it never made its way in my body in the first place. The restricting was overlooked for a while. My parents figured I was just very mindful of what I ate, because I was after all a dancer.
After I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder, I immediately went into treatment. I went back and forth in my recovery throughout all of high school, but things started to work themselves out by the time I got to college. When I started college in 2012, I was finally healthy and happy to start this new chapter of my life. During my junior year however, I entered an abusive relationship and that triggered the eating disorder again. For the next year I went back to restricting food as well as over exercising for hours a day.
I started doing better once I was out of the relationship, however my grandmother’s unexpected passing a couple months later triggered all the behaviors again. This time, it wasn’t even about my size as much as it was about being so heartbroken and feeling so helpless in being unable to relieve myself of the pain I felt after losing one of the most important people in my life. The only time I didn’t think about the loss was when I was working out, so I worked out for hours a day. And I didn’t care to eat because when you’re grieving, nothing seems appetizing. Things got worse than they ever were, as I was at my lowest weight, and my body was not functioning properly.
After entering treatment again, I have now been recovered for about two years. At times, I’ll fall into some old behaviors, especially when things in my life get a little more stressful than usual. But with the help of my amazing friends and family as a support system, I am always able to get back on track and once again be thankful for the life and body I have been given.
Despite the things that have left me heartbroken, there have been some absolutely beautiful moments in my life thus far that I have been lucky enough to experience. Each one of those moments leaves my heart feeling fuller than the last. As long as there’s a future, there’s the possibility that I’ll find myself in the midst of another beautiful moment that makes my heart feel fuller than it’s ever been. And to me, that’ll always be worth fighting for.
What makes your life worth fighting for? Where have you found beauty in recovery?
-I am a 26-year-old female, of Asian-Indian descent.