[TWLOHA actually found Nora’s graphic art before we found her blog. But once we stumbled onto this post, we hoped we could share it with you all. Nora was happy to let us do so. As she says, “There are countless others who feel this way about themselves, and I am doing a disservice to all of us by suffering in silence. If this post can reach out to at least one other person and make them feel a little less alone, then I will feel okay.”]
The worst part about having an eating disorder is the way it becomes your whole life. When you have an eating disorder, everything else takes a back seat: school, your job, the relationships you have. You don’t mean for it to happen, but it does. When your thoughts are filled with food, thigh gaps, collarbones, and the desperation for a flat stomach, there’s only so much room left for anything else. (What little space does remain is usually reserved for frantic wishes to be taken to a time before all this began.)
The worst part about having an eating disorder is looking back on the past two years and realizing the only thing that stands out to you with startling clarity is your illness and all that’s come with it:
Locking yourself away from the people who love you because you are not beautiful enough for their love.
Being so fixated on your every flaw that you could hardly hold on to what was happening outside yourself.
Hours upon days in bed, afraid to face the world and for the world to face you.
The worst part about having any eating disorder is the way it keeps you at a distance. You can hardly live with yourself. You can barely spare a glance toward your reflection. Why would you expect any different from others? When you have an eating disorder, all you are is your body. The idea that someone else could see you for more than how you look is absurd. Therefore, you hide. You don’t call. You don’t return texts. You avoid going out. Heck, you may even delete your Facebook (several times over). You stop reaching out.
And that’s the worst part about having an eating disorder. You stop connecting with the outside world and instead make a home in your own head where you toss around insults and tell yourself you’re worthless.
All the while, there’s this entire world outside your disorder. There’s laughter and there’s love and there’s experiences to be had and mistakes to be made. There’s Life. And it’s just passing you by.
There was a time when I didn’t know any of this. There was a time where all I cared about was seeing a drop in that number on the scale. There was a time when I could tell myself I didn’t need the company of others. Wouldn’t I rather wait until I’d shed a few pounds?
I’m not at that point anymore, though I’ve got a long road ahead of me still. But in the past year I have learned at least one thing, and that is this:
Your best chance lies outside your head.
Your best chance for recovery and happiness and an appreciation for the life you’ve been given lies in those friendships you’ve let slip by and those nights you’ve said no to.
So stop saying no. Go out and live. You are more than what you look like now or what you looked like before this all began. You are beautiful. You are kind. You are worthy of love. And you always have been.