MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates out of all mental illnesses. I remember when I first read that I was stricken with both fear and the feeling that ‘it’d never happen to me.’ This fact was read at the beginning of my downward spiral with anorexia nervosa. I knew something was wrong and began to spend a lot of time scouring the web. To this day I don’t know what I was looking for. Maybe there was a sense of pride that I could relate to such symptoms. Maybe I was trying to find a way of getting help without having to address the problem directly to my parents. Either way my mental health deteriorated further despite my knowledge of the mortality rates.

I’ve written and spoken about my experience with anorexia a number of times already and will continue to write and speak about it until the day I die. Luckily the way I die will not be anything to do with the eating disorder. Some people aren’t at lucky though and that is one of the things that hurts my heart the most. I know the pain of living with such an illness and I know how difficult it is to come out of it the other end. However, I am living proof that it is possible and if you suspect that you are developing or living with an eating disorder then I encourage you to seek help as soon as possible. If my Mum hadn’t forced me to go to the doctor, if we left it a year later, a month later even, things may have ended up completely different to what they are now.

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So, where am I now in terms of my recovery? I left therapy back in February 2016 and haven’t been back since. I have managed to remain a healthy weight and am now actually living my life rather than just existing. I still have bad days and little blips here and there. Sometimes I despise my body and want to rip the fat from it and long to be a size 6 again. Most of the time however I am able to push all of those thoughts from my head and am more than happy to devour pizza and chocolate to my heart’s content.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe that this is something I will live with forever. There will always be a nagging voice at the back of my head saying that I’m ‘too fat,’ that I’m eating ‘too much’ and that I’d be happier if I was a dress size down. But the longer I’ve been out of therapy, the longer I actually participate in life rather than just watch from the sidelines, the easier it is to ignore those thoughts.

This past year and a half has been amazing for so many reasons and I have recovery to thank for that. Recovery has allowed me to make more friends, it has allowed me to get so drunk that I wake up with the worst hangover known to man. It has allowed me to go to university and write voluntarily for my local paper. It has allowed me to develop a love for fashion, an obsession for ONE OK ROCK and has allowed me the chance to let people get close to me again.

There is so much more to life than striving for ‘perfection’ or trying to reach an unattainable goal. It goes to say with any mental health problem, you are more than your mental illness. You have to find it within yourself to want to recover, accept help when needed and realise that life is fabulous. That’s what I did and I am the happiest I have ever been.

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