“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
This was the quote painted above my hospital room door while I was in inpatient for my eating disorder. Little did I know it would stick with me throughout my journey of healing.
As I lay in that room, I thought to myself, “I don’t need to be here. I am not sick or skinny enough to be here. My eating disorder isn’t bad enough to warrant this level of treatment or any treatment for that matter.”
That’s the thing about anorexia, you never believe you are sick enough. It tells you, “If you lose ‘x’ pounds, your eating disorder will be valid,” but I learned that this was a trap.
When I reached THE goal. I felt a sense of accomplishment—but only for a second until the eating disorder took over again, telling me I was worthless and need to go further. So it set a new goal for me to reach and I sunk back into the trap.
Anorexia pushed me. Just one more mile. Just one less meal. Just a few more pounds. I felt a sense of pride seeing the number on the scale drop and the number of hours passing since I last ate.
I knew what I was doing to myself. I knew I was dying. I knew it was going to kill me, but I didn’t care. I cared more about my eating disorder than my own life.
I got to the point where I couldn’t see a reason to keep fighting. I felt like a failure. I failed at the one thing I thought I could succeed at. I couldn’t meet Anorexia’s goals, I couldn’t live up to its ever-increasing standards.
That spiral of supposed failure forced me into treatment. I was told I no longer had the capacity to make decisions for myself. I didn’t believe this. I did everything I could to resist. I truly believed I wasn’t worthy of help. Laying there, in the ICU, I still believed I didn’t have an eating disorder.
About a month into treatment, I had one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever participated in but something clicked.
I wasn’t ready to fully surrender to recovery and treatment, but I agreed to at least give myself a chance at life.
It’s been ten months since that day. I wish I could say that everything worked out and I gave myself a full chance at life, but that is not the reality. I tried. I failed. I gave up. Then, I remembered the quote above my room, and there was a part of me that knew I had to continue helping myself to perhaps help someone else.
So, I’m trying again.
You are more than a number on a scale or a measuring tape. You are human. Messy and whole, capable of so many good things, regardless of your body’s shape. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at [email protected].