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I AM not my Illness.

Having an illness which is stuck with you for life, whether it’s mental or physical can be the hardest thing to deal with. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact my Anorexia was never going to just go away, the physical aspect, yes, but the mental never will. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot easier now, with way more good days than bad, but a little part of it still lingers in my brain. 

When I first began my Eating Disorder recovery, I was the most scared I have ever been in my life. Like I was trapped in a cage that was caving in around me, my mind conflicted as to whether I leave the saftey and die or run for my life. 99.9% of me didn’t want to let go of any of it. Anorexia was me and I was her. I was the quiet girl in school, the one no one really noticed who I was, then when Anorexia began to take over my life and who I was… I was suddenly noticed. I was somebody. Just not in the right way, the way that only made Anorexia happier and she loved it, every single bit of it.

 The one thing Anorexia wanted to be good at, she was not finally getting recognition for. 

I was petrified. I was now known as ‘Hollie the girl with Anorexia’. I hated it and she loved it, and my mind was a constant war. I never really knew who I was but now I didn't care. I had no direction in life, she had taken away all my hopes, dreams and aspirations. I felt like I’d lost everything I was possibly good at. I was completely lost for a lot of my teenage years. My Eating Disorder was all I really knew; it consumed my entire life. It's all I could do. It's all I controlled.

I remember sitting there wondering just who I exactly was without my illness. I had no idea. It wasn’t until I began to break down the walls and let anorexia go bit by bit that I saw who I was underneath it (I prayed I was still there somewhere). I wanted to be more than another statistic. I wasn't leaving this world a statistic.

We all have hopes and dreams deep down. We all want something in life. We have a glimmer of who we are, each one of us individual as ever. I’ve found that re-finding who I was isn’t a negative as such but more positive. 

As the years have gone by, I have unpeeled each layer of who I am. The woman I am, not the scared, ill girl I once was. I am looking back and realising that who I am is what makes me powerful. Anorexia does not. 

I don’t want to be remembered for the past me, I don’t want to be remembered for the girl who starved herself to death or the person who hated herself that much she couldn’t succeed in her career. 

I don’t want to be the girl who fades away from a illness that defeated her.
I am not my illness and my illness is not me. My illness doesn’t define me.

MY strength defines me, my goals, my aspirations, my kindness, my words, my thoughts, my love, my colours, my long hair, my choice of drink, the fire in my eyes, my hobbies, the music I listen to, the way I write, the way I paint, the way I sing (I cannot sing that well, haha), the way I hug, the fact I am the world’s biggest drama queen and cannot eat anything without making a mess. 

The things which make me who I am, are not the things which caused me to break. 

And the bad days? Yes, they come and go. They hurt, they’re a struggle, but they do not define me. Like the rain doesn’t define the weather, the sun could rise tomorrow, and blue in the sky. 

Your illness isn’t you. 

You are YOU. 

You are strong. Powerful. And capable of anything. 

Write down the things which make you who you are. Face your illness in the face and kick it's ass. 

Holli x


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