This week’s Love Your Body comes to us from volunteer blog contributor Kristine Strangis. Thank you, Kristine, for sharing your story!
I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa at age sixteen, but my symptoms really started to emerge when I was thirteen after I had been in a traumatic car accident while driving with my dad. That horrific moment changed me forever. I began to isolate myself, falling into the trap of an eating disorder in order to cope with the intense feelings that I kept bottled up inside, but, as I realize over time, this was a dangerous road that I, deep down, do not want to travel.
Right now I am twenty years old, and over the last seven years I have been constantly battling my eating disorder. I have been in and out of both inpatient and outpatient treatment, but this time is different. Now that I am an adult, I have made my own choice to check myself into outpatient recovery on my own. I have been forced to do treatment in the past, but now this is my choice. I have finally decided that I have had enough of this eating disorder. Now, I am truly passionate about recovery and I am more than ready to take back my life.
The journey continues and, as I slowly start to find myself again, I realize that this whole eating disorder is NOT worth it! No one should have to go through all of the pain, suffering, depression, anxiety, and turmoil that this deadly, manipulative disorder forces upon them when there is so much more to live for. We have a choice to let this disorder go and live our lives to our fullest. Why am I so serious about this? Because choosing an eating disorder is a death sentence. The universe is not going to give you a free pass to have an eating disorder and be happy, it just does not work this way. Recovery is not all rainbows and roses, it is hard work, but truly rewarding and definitely possible.
I am now dedicated and passionate about recovery and especially helping others throughout their journeys, but I always seem to slip when I focus on recovery myself. I tend to do great with recovery when I start but, as time goes on and I start getting freedom back, I start to get lazy with my recovery, giving into urges and using symptoms. I start thinking that nothing will happen to me. I was so naive. I am still young, thinking that I am invincible, when I am not. I learned this on November 25th, 2014 when my whole world came to a stop.
I was rushing through my life, on a binge of nonstop work before my holiday break came, which is typically an eating disorder pattern that I tend to fall into. I had promised my treatment team that I was not going to give into my eating disorder before the holiday, and I was committed, but, one moment, just one moment, I had slipped. In these moments, I am like a drug addict, doing whatever I can to get that next high. I knew that I would pay for this, but I didn’t think it would be in such a horrific way. That day, I ended up getting in a car accident. Fortunately, I was not hurt, but, just a second later and I would have been killed. My whole front bumper was destroyed; the other car T-boned me on my side, it all happened so fast. I was shaken up and scared to death, but this was the perfect reminder that this disorder is serious.
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. The fact that I had survived the car accident when I was thirteen coupled with the recent accident means that I am meant to do great things for others, to tell my story so that people can take this disorder seriously. I gave into my eating disorder, and the universe snapped me out of it. A car accident is one of the major factors that caused me to slip into this disorder, and another car accident is going to be what snaps me out of it. I do not know why things like this happen, but I do believe that it all is for a reason, and that my reason is to help others. I will do whatever it takes, I will dedicate my life to ending this disorder. The universe has given me many signs, and I’m sure that you have gotten these signs too. Listen to your heart deep down and ask yourself, is this disorder worth it? Is it worth all of the pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, and darkness that it forces upon you? You have the choice to end this. I am angry at this eating disorder, I’m angry at myself for giving into its irrational lies, and I am ending this now. Finally, I am coming out of the fog and letting go.
This is my story, and I hope you all use it as inspiration to overcome your own eating disorder, or any mental illness that you are facing. I know that you probably hear this a lot, but recovery is possible, I am living proof. My eating disorder has kept me silent for so long, but now it is time to speak up. My voice is finally being heard, and I hope that you all will join me in the fight because, as you probably know from experience, none of us can do this alone. We need each other to grow and stay strong. We are all very strong and insightful people and, if we put our minds to it, we can overcome this eating disorder together. We are all incredible people and each and every one of us is meant for great things. Just believe in yourself. Please, never give up because you are worth it.