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What I Learned From My Eating Disorder #EDAwarenessWeek

When I look back on the things I have faced and battled, It's rather amazing I'm still here and going. I feel like all of these experiences, despite being good or bad, have helped shape me into the very thing I am today. So really, in a way I am grateful.

I'll be honest because of my Eating Disorder, I've been to place which I know is one of the lowest I'll ever have been. A place where I've wanted so much to crumble down and give everything up. I was in such a haze where I believed I'd never ever escape the hell I was living in. I felt alone, unloved, worthless, scared and all I wanted to do was simply disappear. I knew I was completely filled to the brim with shame, guilt and fear. It's been a hell of a journey, one which I truly believed I wouldn't make out alive - yet here I still am striving brighter than ever. Stronger than ever, wanting to try and inspire and help as many of you as I can.

Through my Eating Disorder I believed that admitting to the issues I was facing meant I was only a failure. The day I got the diagnosis for Anorexia Nervosa was quite frankly like being given a bunch of lies and a death wish. I couldn't see it, couldn't believe it and certainly didn't want to either. I was so so blinded while the rest of the world could see me and what was happening so differently.

It wasn't until I finally begin to accept my Eating Disorder that I could start a attempt at recovery. I could begin to live again and realise more about life, compassion, trust, love and myself. I wanted to share with you a few things I've learned, to hopefully raise awareness and help some of you out there who are also struggling.

This is not your fault 

Through most of it I've blamed myself, I still do sometimes. When I've hurt family & friends, broke down relationships, caused anger and hurt... It's all been down to me. I felt like all of my actions were just causing more stress and heart ache, I couldn't quite understand why I became so selfless. But, many forget, an Eating Disorder is an mental illness. Just as real as a physical one and there should be no blame put upon anyone suffering. You wouldn't blame someone for having cancer? Exactly. This isn't your fault. The people who truly love you will understand that.

Everything is temporary 

It's so so easy to get wrapped up in believing that bad thoughts or moods are going to be there forever. It feels like a lifetime and that they will never go away. However my Eating disorder taught me that it isn't true in the slightest. The truth is everything has ups and downs, good and bad, better and worse. The good doesn't last forever meaning nor does the bad.

I always used to fear actually being happy because I knew it wouldn't last BUT that's what made me realise that neither does sadness. The days where you see a monster staring back in your reflection or cannot face the world, just know it'll pass. It'll come and go. Trust the process and hope.

Emotions are good

I know what it's like to face numbness. To stare it right in the face and not care at all. I know what it's like not to feel. It's scary.

Sadly, we live in a world where emotions can be considered a weakness and can be extremely gender stereotyped. Crying is a weakness, anger is a crime, love is too soppy, confidence is cocky, happiness is great yet hurt is bad. Whatever you feel you'll be judged for.

When really we are entitled to feel whatever it is we are feeling. You should never try to deny this, reject it or assume it's wrong.  No one should ever take that away from you. It's great to feel, good or bad, it makes you human. It' makes you alive.

Health over looks 

For a long long time, being told I looked 'healthier' was like pure hatred to my ears. For so long I had striven for thinness. The thinner I was the prettier I was, the more successful I was but now, looking back, I can see clearly how distorted that is.

Okay, so I know everyone has completely different body types, so people are naturally slim built and that is fine! But the 'skinny' I was after however wasn't healthy for me. I could walk around with the lean legs I wanted or the extremely visible six pack, washboard abs with body fat as low as I could count on my hands, yep great right? But I felt awful. And yes while looking good does improve the way we feel, you should never ever let it detriment your health. And now, even though I'm heavier than I once was and don't have the washboard abs, I'm in love with my body more than I ever have been. I feel so strong, healthy and happy. With that comes beauty. That's the most important thing of all.

It doesn't define you

Your Eating Disorder is part of you but it isn't all of you. It does NOT define you. I spent a long time believing that It was all I could make of myself. I lost myself in the whole world of Anorexia. People would continuously, and still to this day, relate everything back to it. I've learned to try and separate myself from my Eating Disorder. I class my disordered thoughts as Ana. This means I can try and classify what is scientific facts and what isn't. I try to use what I've been through as a positive yet, I don't let it define every part of my life and every decision I make. That I know is still Holli.

You aren't perfect and that's OKAY

I find one of the biggest things highlighted in my life is that I'm in a constant strive for perfection.

Whether that be in myself, my body, my food, my actions, my relationships, my day, my week, month, year, you name it! I'm constantly searching for what I 'think' is perfect. Truth is? Nothing is. Nothing and no one will ever be 'perfect' AND that doesn't indicate failure. Perfect simply doesn't exist because it isn't the same for any single one of us. What you are now is enough and you should forever love that.


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