I reflect on my past, asking myself what I missed out on in life with an eating disorder (E.D.). This is what I reflected on. I missed out on reality. Life with love. I pushed people away and was comfortably numbed out; high on life. An eating disorder pushed me through life of restriction and over exercising. I lived in fear of the unknown. Every day was centered on the number on the scale and how many miles I ran that day. Every ounce of nourishment was counted in calories and dictated my own self-worth. Ultimately, I felt I was untouchable to everyone that came into my life. I was impulsively, uncontrollable at the time. I was driven by perfection and in a constant state of a delusional reality; trying to run from my past and jump into my future. I was a walking zombie, screaming for help on the inside. Finally, my breaking point had come knocking on my door.
My breaking point was knowing that life was not meant to be lived like this. I was lying to people and myself. I was running away from reality. I was exhausted. My body was frail and dying. I did not know exactly what at the time, but something had to change before it was too late. It was the support of other’s voices of reason and the total exhaustion into near death that led me to seek help. I had reached a breaking point and I knew I did not want to live like this anymore. I needed help.
Once, I accepted the fact I was in recovery from an eating disorder and needed help, I began to live life. I still struggle to this day. The unhealthy behaviors may be non-existent for the most part, but the negative thought process still lingers on. I struggle with the thoughts of accepting myself in my own skin and clothes. When E.D. is talking loud in my head, I feel insecure and lost amongst myself. I try my best now to ask myself “what’s really happening in my life?” Often I tell myself that these thoughts are not real and they will pass too. Then I focus on reality and struggles of everyday life instead of E.D. Certainly, it is not easy but I know that I want to live a life fully recovered; free from E.D. That fact alone keeps me focused on recovery.
The more and more I focus on recovery, the more I live my life as the real me. My thoughts are clearer. My concentration levels are higher, I’m not in a constant state of deprivation and numbness to reality. I feel every emotion and embrace them all. My self-worth, confidence, and thought processes are not tainted by E.D. I have learned to live life without E.D. as I got older. I have developed self-respect and a sense of self-worth. Communication and assertiveness became a cornerstone to my recovery. Learning the difference between the two and the end results of each one are very important, I learned along the way, with much trial and error, that I am ‘perfect’ just the way I am. May we all be heroes/heroines in our own eyes!
About the author:
Ariane Theriault is a registered nurse at a Boston Hospital in the cardiology field. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude for Nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her favorite part of blogging for Walden is being able to help others and herself on her road to recovery from an eating disorder. She likes to give a fresh perspective on eating disorder related news in the media and on her own personal struggles, while relating them to others. In addition to writing for the Walden Blog, Ariane also writes her own blog Rest in Peace E.D., Hello Ariane. Her passions range from gardening, writing, and advancing her career. She enjoys spending her time with her partner, family, friends and her two cats, Jaguar and Binks.