Looking back on my journey with my eating disorder it’s hard to pinpoint where my recovery truly began. I’ve always been painfully aware of my disorder which created a great deal of inner turmoil in struggling to validate my own experiences. If I knew I had this “problem” why wasn’t I able to fix it on my own?
I was raised in a very stable home, where affection and support were plentiful. I did well in school, had a good group of friends and extra curriculars. All in all my upbringing was as “normal” as one would hope. I really can’t even remember when my disordered behaviours began. The beginning of my bulimia almost blends in with my adolescence. It became a coping mechanism for the lack of control I was feeling over the crazy thoughts and feelings in my brain. All I knew was that it made me feel better when nothing else did. The normality and simplicity of my home life left me confused – why was this happening to me? Why couldn’t I feel normal? What even IS normal? I couldn’t understand what I did to deserve this constant grey cloud looming over my every move.
My recovery began when I moved to Montréal, QC to begin my undergraduate degree. I struggled with balancing school, my new friends, and this big move to a new province. I ultimately ended up failing out of university and needed to re-apply for admission for the following year. It was a rude awakening. but it was the awakening I needed. I needed to be confronted with the fact that my disorder wasn’t only harming my mind, body and soul, but it was also harming my future. If I wanted to accomplish all I had set out to achieve, I’d need to start with working on myself and addressing my bulimia.
If I wanted to accomplish all I had set out to achieve, I’d need to start with working on myself and addressing my bulimia
I credit the change of scenery and surrounding myself with a healthy group of friends with jump starting my decision to seek help, but getting to where I am today took a lot of time and work. I dedicated my time and energy to my artistic practice, experiencing the benefits of art therapy and developing coping mechanisms that allowed me to express my emotions and regain control in more tangible ways. I immersed myself in my studies, realized I had substantial educational goals that deserve my utmost attention, and started to fill my time up with things that provided me with the validation I had been searching for.
Reminding myself of my bodies capabilities and its purpose allowed me to give it the respect it so desperately deserved. I am so incredibly fortunate to have this body that permits me to run, breathe, paint and absorb information that allows me to learn and grow. I’d just lost sight of that for a little while.
Recovery has reminded me of my worth, of course, but it’s also been a humbling experience in guiding me to be brave enough to ask for help. Having an eating disorder is tough, and facing it alone sure doesn’t make it easier. I’m so grateful to those who have stood by me in my journey, but mostly I’m grateful for myself and the woman I’ve become and continue to grow to be, all while embracing the disorder I’m leaving behind.
Eating disorders are serious, complex mental illnesses that can impact anyone. With support and treatment, full recovery is possible.
Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a nationally recognized week designed to raise awareness of eating disorders. In Canada, it is held February 1-7, 2020