Living in a Triggering World After an Eating Disorder

Author: Paige S.

Living in a Triggering World After an Eating DisorderYou look great: the three dreaded words that can send someone recovering from an eating disorder into relapse. Confusing, right? Most people would take this as a compliment, but a person struggling with an ED will interpret this (I know I did) as you look fat or she gained weight. When I first left my treatment program and stepped back out into the world, every time someone said these words to me I wanted to pull my hair out of my head and rip myself out of my body. Sounds intense? That’s because it truly was. The discomfort of being in my own body was not something that I could put into words. How I felt back then is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. 

When I left treatment, my weight stayed the exact same (and I mean the exact same) for more than a year. I didn’t lose weight (which is great!), but I also didn’t gain. A normal person’s weight fluctuates – it never stays the same. But, mine did. I wasn’t starving myself or burning thousands of calories at the gym, but I also wasn’t truly living. I would rarely drink with my friends because of “extra calories”, and when I went to restaurants, I would find the lowest calorie item possible and order it. I could have gone on living this way forever, and frankly, I would have been fine. But, I realized something that changed my mind: I wasn’t happy.  My self esteem still sucked, I was still depriving myself of what I truly wanted and I still wouldn’t order the damn food that I really wanted to order.

Reality struck, and I knew I needed to make a change. Sometimes, the fear wouldn’t go away, so I would have to push through it, often-times afraid.  I challenged myself over and over and over again, and fast forward to present day – after 3+ years -, I finally consider myself to be RECOVERED.

I go out with my friends and drink, eat, laugh and live the way every 21-year-old should be living: carefree (during the summer at least!) and just enjoying whatever life throws at me.

Today, when people say “hey Paige, you look great”, I say thank you with a big smile 🙂
Do I have body image issues still? Yes, absolutely. But, life is too short to care, and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.

If you’re still struggling with an Eating Disorder, I just want you to know that it’s possible to recover. I never thought it was and never believed it would happen for me, but IT DID. Don’t give up. Ever. Keep fighting and keep working, be patient and let life take its course. Stay strong, and remember you are beautiful no matter what. That’s what I am slowly learning about myself 🙂

– Paige S.

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