HAVE A CONVERSATION THAT MATTERS

 

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Have you ever wondered why I choose to share my experience recovering from my eating disorder?

FIRST OFF: THIS IS NOT A DEPRESSING STORY! I find it often that people listening to my story think it’s going to bee all negative + sad… it’s NOT! Are there sad parts in the story? Sure! But guess what else has sad parts in the story… Disney movies! It’s part of the package people, and guess what, my story has a happy ending! 🙂 It’s a story of inspiration and strength that so many people need to hear! ❤

If you’ve followed my personal experience + story, you’ll know that I used to be very secretive about where I was at until not too long ago. Nobody ever told me to feel guilty about it, it was just something I really didn’t want to share, simply because I was embarrassed. If you know what living with an eating disorder is really like, you’ll know there is nothing glamorous about it. It’s secretive, obsessive and creates a chaos in your mind + body that feels like a trap. (Feel like a sad story right now? That’s OK, read on)! 😉

When I first asked for help, I told my parents about my behaviors + how I couldn’t stop it on my own. Life with my anorexia + bulimia had become an addiction that I couldn’t live without. It was making my life miserable + I didn’t know how to stop it. That being said, I also hated the person I was becoming. It would have been embarrassing if my friends or extended family knew I didn’t have control over my own thoughts or behaviors. It would have also been embarrassing if they knew that I had to take a very extended leave of absence from college + had to go to therapy 5 days a week. I also didn’t want anyone worrying about my health or thinking that I didn’t want to get better when it took me a few years to recover. It felt like I was living a lie, + I didn’t like it one bit.

I was treated in an inpatient facility for 3 months (think of what it would be like living in a hospital with group therapy + seeing doctors all day every day). When I was discharged from inpatient, I took a 1 year hiatus from Facebook + social media when I was going through treatment because I didn’t want anyone knowing what I was up to or that I was “behind” anyone else. I couldn’t help but to compare my personal experience or life to anyone else + I was embarrassed that I hadn’t finished college yet. It was such an easy time in my life to compare my situation to other people because I was vulnerable + ashamed. Some of my high school friends were even getting married + starting families… + there I was, in therapy 5 days a week + suffering from panic attacks, taking medication for depression + anxiety. While I can still understand my train of thought back then, but I am glad that I didn’t stay there. So why didn’t I stay in that place of being ashamed + embarrassed of my life experiences? (This is my favorite part…) 😉

I was SO SICK OF HIDING! I hated the fact that talking about my eating disorder to friends or extended family always felt so embarrassing for me. It was frustrating that when I finally got the courage up to talk about it that people either didn’t want to engage in conversation about it back to me, or people just didn’t know what to say + basically switched the subject. WHY is talking about your personal life experience or a mental illness something that is taboo?! Do people not want to talk about it because it’s unpleasant… maybe. But why not get over that? Why not just talk about it or ask a question if you don’t understand it? It frustrates me SO MUCH + I was sick of being quiet about it!!!

I knew some of my friends had struggled with disordered eating + NOBODY SPOKE UP. Each + every one of those friends of mine chose to keep it to themselves. *Please know that I am aware that it’s not for everyone to speak up about their eating disorder, but for every person not to share… that made me sad. The painful part of this was the fact that nobody was going to break the stigma if nobody wanted to speak up. Who was going to help educate families + friends if not one person I knew would actually talk about what it’s like + how to get help or support someone dealing with this matter? It was time I decided I was ready to say something. I decided to share my story + start talking about what I went though. Not just when I was living with my eating disorder, but how I dealt with going to Dr. appointments 5 days a week for a few years, what it was like setting my pride + some goals aside to put my health first, how it changed my personal relationships + how/who I dated. I wanted people to stop being embarrassed to talk about mental illness and for people to have a real understanding of the issue.

I also wanted to encourage others to stop being embarrassed if they had an eating disorder. I wanted people to say something when they needed help + for friends, family + loved ones to have an understanding of what it’s like. Not to feel embarrassed or secluded from the rest of the population. Because the truth is, it’s a confusing + scary time to know your loved one is not in a stable mental or physical state. It’s a time for loved ones to learn + support too! I wanted friends + family to have empathy + understanding about the whole matter. So that’s why I share my story.

I share it to change thoughts, beliefs + understanding about eating disorders. I’m sick of people being embarrassed + ashamed about their personal challenges + experience. Hopefully my ability to share my story will create a safer space for others to speak up too. It can be very lonely living with an eating disorder, but it doesn’t have to be! + it is SO POSSIBLE TO RECOVER!

…And see… not a depressing story! (I told you)! 😉

xoxo,

❤ Ashley

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