NEDAwareness Week Day 6: Silencing the Internal Critic
When I originally embarked on sharing my story, I thought I was in a place where I could separate myself from who I used to be – detach my present identity from this battle that consumed the greater part of my adolescence. I envisioned a polished essay with a crisp and neat conclusion. A happy ending. But there is no ending. I am in the thick of it. Weak and tired from years of being on the defense, this battle is still raging. You never fully recover from an eating disorder. You never fully rid yourself of anxiety. You don’t eradicate the voice in your head reminding you that you are not enough. You adapt. You cope. You learn to overpower the voice within you – to quiet the internal critic, if only for a moment.
Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 6: Today”
NEDAwareness Week Day 5: Asking for Help
It was 9 p.m. on a Wednesday somewhere in the middle of Kansas. I scrolled through the pale pink web page, eyes squinting in my phone’s harsh light. I was partway through a cross-country drive, eventually landing in San Diego, Calif. for a summer internship. I was also headed to the San Diego-based eating disorder clinic I had decidedly entered myself. The deposit was paid, and the application was finalized. My certainty, however, was not. Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 5: Treatment”
NEDAwareness Week Day 4: Defining an Eating Disorder
The room smelled familiar – like antiseptic soap and one too many sprays of Febreeze. I shifted on the table, wincing as the paper scratched against the cheap leather. I had just finished another round of the Gardasil vaccine and inquired about remedies for dry skin – my hands used to get really dry in the winter – as in arid, cracked hands with knuckles that bled when I held a pencil. My doctor looked over my hands, brushing his moisturized fingers over the red knuckles. He set them down on my lap and looked at me very matter-of-factly. Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 4: Eating Disorder, defined”
NEDAwareness Week Day 2: The Burden of Perfection
I have always been prone to anxiety. I remember sitting in pre-algebra, my right arm warm from the dusty projector crammed between my desk and a peer’s. The week’s fraction quiz glared at me with a large red C circled in the top right corner. A brick dropped in my stomach, weighing me down to the point that my shoulders slumped and my chest tightened to bear the load. I blinked back tears and ended up in the nurse’s office. A “stomach ache,” I said. Continue reading “NEDA Week Day 2: Perfectionism”
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
And this year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.”
Talking about mental illness is hard. The stigma, the shame, the embarrassment. it leaves little room for recovery and community, little space to grow and heal. But it is time to talk about it. It is time to allow our stories and struggles to live and breathe. Because there is power in shared experiences. There is strength in community.
Sharing my story is hard, but so is recovery.
Next week, I’m sharing my story. I’m allowing my words, experiences, and struggles to live and breathe. My journey is unique and yet shared by so many. The anxiety and shame, the restriction and amenorrhea, the depression and need for control. It is all interwoven, creating the life I lead today. As we work through this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I will share a piece of my story each day, including my struggles with anxiety and depression, my relationship with running, my quest for healing, and my partnership in a project aimed at keeping this conversation going.
It’s National Eating Disorder Week, and this year we’re going to talk about it.