When I was 13 years old my father passed away. I wanted to be strong for my family during this time and felt that I should not be allowed to show my pain and emotions. Couple this with not having the tools to handle my emotions, my pain grew and manifested into anger. I felt out of control and attempted to find the control I desired. This came in controlling the food I ate and my body’s appearance. This rapidly led to highly restricted eating and over exercising.
I vividly recall the day that inspired me to get the help I needed. I sat down on a hard wooden chair and as I sat back, I felt something on the back of the chair poking into my body. I looked and saw nothing. I then sat back again and felt the same poking. As I looked back at the chair, again searching for what was poking me, I realized that what I was feeling was my spine protruding and hitting the chair. My mother and I spoke and we quickly began my journey with a therapist.
I first met with him while my mother was present, and then on my own. Step by step, we worked together to make eating acceptable again. I recall each step and how what may have seemed like a daunting action (like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without guilt), became something that I felt good about. My therapist helped me understand that it is ok to be me, exactly as I am. I progressed in therapy and with the strong support of my mother and sister, I continued to take steps towards recovery. That was 18 years ago and I have remained in ever since.
Overcoming Anorexia helped me appreciate many things as a young man and I carry that appreciation with me to this day so many years later. Our lives can be full of turmoil and despite how we feel during tough times, happiness is possible. That is why my future is worth fighting for.
Never forget that no matter how you’re feeling, recovery is possible. I remember in such detail how impossible it felt to take small. Even though an aspect of your recovery may seem challenging, or out of your reach, try it. When you accomplish one of these goals, it lets you know that the next one is attainable. Try not to get frustrated with becoming “normal.” Remember that this is your experience and your steps towards recovery are your own and each one is worthwhile.
The point being, whether you are personally feeling that you need help or a loved one is discussing getting help for you, I know how petrifying it can seem to leave your current ways/rituals/control behind. But your life will start to get better. Trust that getting the help you need is good for you even though it may not be what you want to do at the moment.
I am a 35-year-old Caucasian male