I took these photos for a contest run by Dare Magazine. You can enter here until the 29th of this month to win a $250 gift card to Penningtons, so get those entries in. I thought this would be the perfect way to share something so close to my heart.
Five years ago when I truly started working on recovery from bulimia and binge eating disorder I wrote this in my journal.
I was told that there were different phases to recovery, the physical one where the goal is just getting you out of the intense danger territory and giving your brain enough fuel to begin thinking again, and the mental one. The mental stage is the one that takes years, that takes time from every day and is the reason why "just eating" will never cure an eating disorder. These are mental illnesses we have, with physical side effects, and I think that is forgotten by some people that focus on the physical side of things.
I have a long way to go but I need to take more pride in myself. Sometimes I see myself as a failure because I've gained so much weight in quitting purging. I know that's because binging is such a hard issue to tackle. I don't want to just get through life anymore. I want to enjoy it. I don't know how to combat these compulsive feelings towards food.
Five years later and I'm still working on it. Five years later and I'm still seeing a therapist and dietitian. That doesn't mean progress hasn't been made in these five years. The days and weeks I go without binging are more frequent. I'm learning the difference between exercise for health and exercise as a form of punishment. I've learned to feed my body fuel so that my mind can properly function instead of constantly malnourishing myself. I'm still learning healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression and anxiety instead of using food.
Most importantly, I really think this is the biggest key to recovery; I've learned to love every single inch of my physical being. Not when I've lost a certain amount of weight. Not when I have exercised vigorously. Not when I've eaten under a certain amount of calories for the day. Now. My mantra since the start of this year has been "I exist as I am, and I am enough". I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't care for your beautiful body when you hate it.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, stay strong and please know that your hard work will pay off. If you ever need help finding treatment centers or have questions about recovery please feel free to message me.
Let me know in the comments below what you're unwilling to compromise on.