In 2009, I was staring death in the face…

My life had gone to shit. I started indulging in unhealthy eating habits when I was 11 years old – although the detrimental thoughts began long before that. Over the years, my starvation became more of a priority to me, along with self-harm, alcohol, and promiscuity. I spent a few years in and out of mental hospitals for depression and suicidal thoughts. But I knew the system, so I knew all the right words to say in order to be discharged, even when I wasn’t really ready.

By 2008, my weight started dropping rapidly. But I still wasn’t happy. No matter how thin, I became, I kept wanting to lose more. I would hide from friends and family so that I could pursue my dangerous weight loss goals. And then the day came that I saw a psychiatrist who told me, “You need to be admitted.”

I didn’t want recovery at the point. But my body was already suffering from the effects from the malnutrition. Plus, I had ruined several relationships, including a boyfriend who was terrified to be intimate with me (he literally thought he would break me). I was constantly fighting with family members and friends who simply didn’t want me to die…

My inpatient and outpatient experiences in December 2008 and January 2009 was eye-opening. I saw several other women who I believed were beautiful – inside and out – yet they had the same desperation for control that I did… control over their bodies, control over their relationships, control over their lives. We all felt so out of control, so we controlled the only thing that we knew how: our weight. When I realized how much I related to these other women, yet wanted to help them see their own value, I knew that I needed to do the same for myself first.

I am not perfect; I still struggle daily. Recovery is something that you never truly get over. It’s a lifetime journey with bumps in the road, hurdles to jump, and walls that you have to figure out how to scale. It is hard AF. But it can be done.