Inspiration
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NEDAwareness: A Story of Hope

A few years ago, I would have woken up at 5 am and I would have stood in the mirror, examining all of the parts of myself that I had despised. I would have glared at my thighs, imagining how beautiful I would feel if I could just lose a few pounds.

I would sit on my floor and do as many crunches as I could, pushing through the stomach pains and nausea, not stopping until my vision was clouded with black spots and the entire room was spinning in every direction.

I would wipe some concealer over the black circles hugging my eyes, sweep some blush over my pale, gray cheeks.

I would walk up the stairs to the kitchen, hug my father as he would hand me one of his famous egg sandwiches that I would take “to-go,” and walk outside for the bus after tossing his homemade creation into the woods. I would wait in the cold with my music playing as loud as it could go, in hopes to drown out the groans from my stomach and the anxious thoughts plaguing my mind.

Today I woke up early and sat outside in my pajamas with a cup of coffee, soaking up as much of the unseasonal sunshine I could. After I finished, I washed my face and looked in the mirror, and I smiled. I admired the few freckles I used to desperately try to cover, I giggled as I glanced at my one crooked tooth; the one I used to be so self-conscious about. I played with my messy curly hair, the hair I used to spend two hours straightening every morning. As I was getting dressed, I ran my hands across my dimpled thighs, the beautiful thighs that have carried me on countless adventures with the people I love the most.

I got in my car and drove with the windows down, belting all the words to my favorite songs. I met one of my best friends in the world for brunch at our favorite restaurant, where I devoured every last bit of chocolate chip pancakes and homefries on my plate.

A few years ago I was living a nightmare and today I cannot stop smiling. A few years ago I lived in fear of the scale on my bathroom floor and my reflection in the mirror, today my heart would explode if it were any more full. A few years ago I isolated myself from the people around me, and today I have some of the most amazing best friends I could possibly ask for.

There are so many reasons to want to be happy, there are so many reasons to love yourself and the body you were given. Recovery is not easy. It is not pretty, it is not trendy. But recovery is possible and it is necessary. It has been four years and my days can still get dark, but my whole world is brighter and warmer than it has ever been.

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Eating disorders can happen to absolutely anyone. If you or someone you know is showing signs of an eating disorder, seek help as soon as you can.

For confidential support, contact the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

More information and help can be found at any time through the NEDA website: {https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org}

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