A NEW CHAPTER

I’m always a bit reluctant to post two recovery or eating disorder related posts in a row. I always feel a tad paranoid, thinking that I’m shoving my mental illness in your faces. However, I never write about it unless I have a point to make or want to help others. In saying that, today’s post is a bit more reflective.

Yesterday marked my final appointment with my therapist. After a little more than a year and a half, I have finally closed the door on the darkest chapter of my life. I still have work to do in terms of making a full mental recovery, but it’s now something that both professionals and myself are confident that I am able to do outwith mental health services.

It’s left me looking back on how far I have come since my first appointment back in 2014. When I first met with my therapist, I was severely underweight and unhappy. I entered the room feeling both anxious but excited at the prospect that I may not have to live the rest of my life this way – not really living, just existing. As the months passed, I slowly began to increase the amount I was eating and including a bit more variety into my diet. Things were slowly but surely improving but after a while I became stuck. I wasn’t going backwards, but I wasn’t making any further progress. I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t gaining any either. Food was still dominating my life in many areas and the thought of staying in this state for the rest of my life scared me more than actually getting worse and potentially dying from the illness.

This state of limbo continued for a few months, but I eventually began to push myself again and my weight began to increase again. I was suddenly given a huge burst of motivation and determination and began challenging myself more frequently. I like to think that this was mostly down to having the odd moment where I would catch myself not thinking about food as much or actually having a brief moment of legitimate happiness.

Two years ago I was living off the same, bland foods day in, day out. I was hugely concerned about the numbers and nutritional values on food and had an irrational mind telling me that I was not allowed more than ‘X’ amount of fat/sugar/carbs etc. a day. I wasn’t living my life like every other 18-year-old. Now, at 20 years old, I am able to laugh until I cry. I can eat out at restaurants or fast food joints without the feeling of crippling anxiety or wanting to burst into tears. I am learning to love and accept my body for the natural shape and size that it is and not try to fit into the unrealistic body image standards. I am the happiest I have been in a long time and I believe that I am now living proof that anyone who is struggling with eating problems or body image issues can overcome their darkest of days.

I am excited to finally focus on other aspects of my life and not have to attend multiple appointments a month. I may still be on the journey of recovery, but I am now able to actually go out and live. I feel as if I am being given a second chance at life and I cannot wait to see what this next chapter holds.

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