This is for all the beautiful souls that have faced this incredible adversity, and to those who have unfortunately lost their battles. And for Kate, I love and miss you so much.
Beginning at a very young age, I was extremely self-conscious of my body. I remember counting calories in grade school. Fueled with societal pressure and scars of bullying, I hated myself and the way I looked. I thought that if only I changed, if only I lost x pounds, grew my hair out, or wore makeup that I would be HAPPY and PEOPLE WOULD LIKE ME.
I was barely nine years old when the behaviors started. *Trigger Warning* I would try and see how long I could go without eating anything and if my “diet” failed I would cut my skin. Soon, I would purge anything that touched my lips, and at times I was afraid to drink water, shower, or brush my teeth because I weighed myself so often that even water weight changed a number I valued above everything else. This continued for 5 years, until it nearly killed me.
Days after my 14th birthday, I suffered so many medical complications from my eating disorder that I was hospitalized for a month. I left everything I knew to focus on my recovery. It was the most difficult journey I had ever faced, but if I had not entered treatment when I did, I know I would not be here today.
Seven years later, recovery has given me a confidence I could never obtain through some diet. I learned to love and respect myself no matter my size. The value I now have for my health has lead me to truly live a HAPPY life, and I am proud to say that I am BEAUTIFUL. In looking back, I am eternally grateful to every amazing person who aided me to good health. I am so happy and I hope to encourage others to STAY STRONG.
“What’s most important to me is that I just keep fighting, and I keep aiming for a goal of complete freedom.” – Demi Lovato
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. While I am happy to see the growing knowledge of these diseases, the current statistics are daunting: 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders during their lifetimes, hospitalizations of sufferers under the age of 12 have increased by 119%, worst of all, the fatality rate of these diseases is roughly 20%. However, there is hope. Recovery is 100% possible. If you or someone you know struggles with any form of ED, please contact the National Eating Disorder Hotline at 1-800-931-2237 or visit nationaleatingdisorders.org