On Dying, Anorexia and Fighting for Your Life

“Looking at you, I am shocked.” The doctor looked me in the eyes in order to stress her point.

This was the moment I had been dreading for months. This was the moment when I needed to face reality and myself. I had been waiting for treatment for a while  now.

I went to several different psychiatrists and it came down to the point of having to go to a treatment facility. However, despite my outcry for help, I continued to work out up to 4 hours a day while eating as little as a slice of bread and a 150 kcal soup at night.

“When we talked last week, you painted a completely different picture of yourself. Do you even know how grave the situation is? Do you realize how close to death you really are?”

I knew, deep down, I think I knew. But I couldn’t admit it. I couldn’t let go. Anorexia didn’t allow me too, didn’t let me see how skinny my legs really were, how much I had shrunk, how sick I looked.

Anorexia blinded me, told me lies and forced me to go down this destructive path that was going to have a disastrous end if I didn’t put on the emergency brake immediately.

But how could I? Anorexia was my best friend, my closes ally and the only thing I could rely on in my life. It was the only constant I had ever had.

Before anorexia took over, I was a lively, creative, energetic and bright girl who loved to perform for others, who loved to direct plays, choreograph dances or circuses with my friends.

I was the self-confident girl who put together 2 entire Spice Girls’ concerts with her friends, made up songs and was just living every single day to the fullest.

Sure, I was also the girl that was tormented by her brother, beat up, harassed and mentally violated, but still I was going strong. This changed when I was about ten years old and my young mind couldn’t handle the despair and the insecurity anymore.

Subconsciously, I turned against my body. I went on a diet and started to exercise rigorously. After a while, I stopped eating dinner altogether, restricted what I had for lunch until I even stopped eating that.

I lost weight, felt great and was admired by everyone. This was my finest hour. Now, finally, everybody was noticing me. At last, they saw that I was more than the girl who is crying hysterically because her brother had done yet another horrendous thing to her.

I went on with hunger gnawing at me at all of times of the day and continued to lose weight. I started to become obsessed with calories up to a point where I lashed out at my mom for wanting me to take 2 vitamine pills a day that had all of 10 kcal.

My mind had quickly been overtaken by anorexia and it was a welcome distraction from pondering why on earth my brother was doing all these things to me and why noboyd was helping and instead often blaming me for everything that happend.

If I can’t control my brother, I can control my weight.

And so I spent my entire youth counting calories, working out, losing friends, feeling weak and dizzy, telling lies, stealing laxatives and finding all of my worth in the number on my scale.

It was a lonely place to be in. A place where everything seems grey, dark, hopeless and completely senseless. It was a life not worth living. My weight was dangerously low many times, but I did not care about the consequences. I wanted to disappear.

Death did not frighten me, life did.

It all changed when I met my husband. In our first months of bliss and being madly in love with each other, I successfully hid my eating disorder from him. I continued to sneak into the bathroom at night to take my daily load of laxatives. I pretended to eat using all kinds of tricks to keep up the appearance.

When he was at work, I went to the gym. When we exchanged our vows, I was silently counting calories terrified of what I might have to eat that night. When I saw my wedding pictures I wept because of my big, fat arms.

During our first vacation, I struggled more than ever before to keep up the mask of being a happy, carefree person. It lasted 2 entire days before I stopped going to dinner with him and locked myself in our room for most of the time in order to avoid the many aromas and treats that wanted to lure me in.

When my behaviors got worse and worse, my weight dropped to a new low,  my daily workouts got longer and more intense, I sensed for the first time that I wanted a change. I had always thought love would instanlty heal my broken soul. Noticing that it didn’t made me want to first curl up in bed and die and then fight for my life.

That’s what I did, precisely in that order. I started to look for therapists, read about anorexia, opened up about my eating disorder for the very first time and finally decided to admit myself to a treatment facility.

And so I Began to Fight

On March 23rd 2011, I walked into my temporary home, hardly weighing 70 pounds with trembling hands and shaking legs. I wanted to be everywhere but there and at the same time I wanted to be nowhere but here.

I knew I needed help. I knew I wouldn’t last much with the little energy I had and I longed for a break.

The following months were a new form of the hell that I had been living with for 14 years. Eating when you’ve restricted for so long was a bigger challenge than I had ever thought. Being honest with myself and stopping to abuse laxatives took almost half a year.

Falling in love with my body was extremely difficult when I had hated it for such a long time. How could I ever feel comfortable in a body that weighed 30 pounds more than I had ever wanted to weigh?

How could I ever look into a mirror again without feeling the urge to smash it? How could I not see myself as a big, fat failure by giving in and gaining weight?

I cried. I screamed. I begged. I lied. I sobbed. I rebelled. But I never gave up. I wanted to, more often than I can count, but I never did.

I wanted to live. I wanted to be the wife my husband deserved. I wanted to have children and have the family I have always dreamed of and I wanted to be free of this whole damn cycle of eating, restricting, guilt, shame and self-hatred.

I knew there had to be something better in this life, something even I deserved. I knew I couldn’t let everybody around me down. They believed in me, supported me and counted on me.

So, I woke up every morning and I fought with the willpower of a lioness protecting her cub, always having the bigger picture in mind: to succeed (and live) or to fail (and die).

I forced myself to eat, to think positively, to fall in love with my body and surprised everyone around with my huge progress and my renwed sense of purpose and quest for a healthy and free life.

Fighting for your Life

And that’s what the essence of what life is about, isn’t it? It is about giving it your best, despite what the circumstances might be on any given day. It is about never giving up. It is about following your dreams with a passion that is burning deep inside.

It is living without excuses and regrets. Life is about living and not merely existing. It is about always knowing you can start anew. It is about seeing past your daily struggles and worries and into the future you have in your own hands.

It is about taking action today and not always putting your decisions, problems, challenges off to tomorrow.

It is about taken the chances that present themselves every single day and not closing your eyes because you are scared.

It is about stopping to stand in your own way and saying no to your self-sabotaging tendencies.

It is about using all your frustrations and anger into reaching your goals.

It is about getting back up every time you fall.

It is about opening your eyes with a decided heart knowing that today will determine the rest of your life.

You have to realize that your life is not just merely a tiny time span that will pass by unnoticed. Your life, your actions can change the course of humanity.

Everybody has that power within themselves. I do and you do too. You only have to awaken them and then get up and fight.

What are you waiting for? Align your weapons and start using them already. Humanity is counting on you.

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