When I look back on my life over the past decade, things begin to blur. What felt so painful all those years has slowly begun to heal, though it has been a process years in the making. My scars, both on the outside and inside, have faded for the most part, but they serve as a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. My voice is now powerful and resilient where I once almost let my eating disorder destroy it. When moments of darkness creep in, I can’t lie and say it’s not difficult to stand my ground. But the amount of hope I have within myself and for my future is enough to get me through to the next day.
Being vocal about my personal battles has been frightening at times because I was preoccupied with what others would think. However, I realized that by speaking out I was allowing myself to connect with incredible people who have dealt with or are dealing with difficult circumstances. By sharing my story, I have been able to provide others a reminder of hope.
Prior to developing bulimia, I began self-harming; I used it briefly as a control method. In addition to my eating disorder, I have also experienced serious depression. I even attempted to end my life twice. While I’ve written about my bulimia before, I have not publicly discussed my depression, self-harm, and suicide attempts. This is partly because I’ve tried to block it out and partly because I’m at a better place in my life.
While it came and went in levels of severity over the years, around five years in I began throwing up less. When I think about what shifted in myself, I honestly feel like it’s because I was so tired. I was weak, and the thought of even eating wore me out because I knew it meant I “had” to throw up. Some days were good; some days I truly felt like dying. I was seeking happiness and stability by controlling certain aspects of my mind, only to continue the cycle of instability.
About a year ago, I made the decision to truly recover. I’d made multiple attempts over almost a decade, but up until this past year I hadn’t felt a true desire to let go of my eating disorder. Perhaps I was scared I was letting go of myself since this was what I had felt defined me for so long. By this point it had been seven years of having my eating disorder, and my family and friends weren’t aware I was still dealing with bulimia. While they have been incredibly supportive over the years, there is often the misconception among many people that these issues don’t have a serious, lasting impact, and many of them aren’t aware of the reality of relapsing. I had always been open about where I was with myself, so I’m sure they would have supported me had I been open about it, but something was different this time around. I knew that if I was ever going to recover, the support I needed was in myself.
Throughout this entire journey, I just wanted to know I mattered. I now realize that I do. I did then and I do now, and so do you. You matter: your health, your emotions, and your future. Your weight, your scars, and your past do not define you. I cannot emphasize enough how if you hold on and push through the tough times – be it an eating disorder, self-harm, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts – it will get better. My whole life revolves around writing – lyrics, music, stories, articles – and I can’t even begin to put into words the self-hate I have felt over the years. I thought that nothing would change, but I was wrong.
It’s a daily choice and a daily battle, but by breaking the routine you will grow stronger. There is hope, and it’s always been there. Sometimes it’s just hidden, but with the right support, breaking through the boundaries of darkness is absolutely possible.