When struggling with a mental health problem you may feel like a victim to your illness.Facing an eating disorder and depressed moods can be complicated and hard to explain.Sometimes there is no reason for how you feel and it unsettles you.Your head is filled with thoughts that feel like they shouldn’t belong to you,this is not you.You don’t want to be like this.You have good days then bad days,but when will it all go?
I know the feeling of being so trapped in your illness,so consumed by it that you have little life beyond it.Feeling unable to get out and losing all self belief.Your confidence being knocked time and time again as you try to get out and fail.You are scared to attempt recover and give it your all.What if you can’t do it,what if you fail?And so you look for reasons why you cannot fight back.
The thing is you do not have to remain feeling victimised by your illness or state of mental health.It’s true that it’s not a choice to suffer from mental health problems and you cannot just “snap out of it” but we do have the power to seek help and take steps towards recovery.We just have to be brave enough to stand up,look fear in the face and use that power.You can either look for problems or you can look for solutions.You can get bitter about your past and current situation or ou can choose to get better.
I have chosen to not be a victim of my eating disorder.I could live in the past and be angry and upset over the opportunites it took away and the hurt and pain it caused. Or I can look into the future,take what I have learned from the illess and recovery and use it to move forwards in life.
Had I not taken a gap year to recover I would not have had the experiences,learning oppurtunities,challenges and chances to grow that I have had.Working as a waitress at a crazily busy restaurant has been physically challenging. The long shifts,late nights and awkward timings could have all been used as excuses to not eat enough and sink further into my illness..But instead it pushed me to structure food to fit my life and be flexible rather than to live my life dictated by food,restriction,purging and exercise.I could have looked for a million reasons why I could not recover and gain weight but instead I found all the more reasons why I could.The desire to recover and be a functional,capable adult was greater than the desire to stay a scared little girl trapped in purging and binging cycles. I am not perfect,far from it,Some days It all feels hopeless.Some days I am probably the shittest waitress at work and have cost the restaurant a fair bit in smashed glasses and messed up orders but I work my ass off and try to improve. No longer will self hate be used as a reason to shrink.
We all have valid and legitimate reasons to develop an eating disorder but we also have a choice to fight back.That doesn’t mean we never struggle again or have the “perfect recovery” but it means we choose to aspire to be more than our illness.We not only try but we do.