My Journey To Recovery
Growing up, I never thought I was the prettiest or the thinnest girl in the room. Models and actresses on TV all seemed to be about half of my weight. I noticed that I looked a lot like the girls who were being bullied, so I began to hate myself and my body for it. I thought that my self-worth was tied up with how I looked on the outside. Every time I looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw; I never considered that my kindness or my intelligence was what really mattered.
What I was suffering from is called Body Dysmorphia. Body Dysmorphic Disorder usually shows up as finding insignificant flaws within your body and seeing them as intense issues that you obsess over. I was never satisfied, even when losing weight I still experienced feelings of not being good enough, I was constantly anxious, and I just had a general dislike towards myself and life all-together. At about 16 years old, I started to use substances in order to cope with my emotions. My Purging Disorder was still in full effect and on top of that, it was developing into a co-occurring disorder with my new-found addiction to drugs. The substances numbed my feelings and allowed me to continue purging for a little while, but eventually, even that wasn’t enough. I still wasn’t happy and when I was being honest with myself, that was all I was really craving. I finally asked for help and went on a journey through therapy that forced me to look inward to find what was causing my self-hatred and crippling anxiety.
“What I didn’t know, was all I needed to do was learn how to love myself for who I am and love my body as it was.”
Once I started to face my real problems, I realized that my purging disorder and substance abuse issues were really just unhealthy coping mechanisms I had picked up in order to quiet the noise in my head. I started to appreciate my body for all it does to keep me alive every single day, and in turn, I noticed how much I had neglected it. This allowed me to begin eating normally, without trying to force the food out of my body. My body deserved the nutrients it needed after working so hard to allow me to live.
“We are more than our appearance. Beauty comes from the inside; it comes from how we treat ourselves, how we treat others, and what we do to make our lives worth living.”
One of the things that I have found to be the most helpful in my recovery, is to give love to my body for every day that it keeps me alive and to give love to others who need it. Writing about my eating disorder takes power away from it and spreads awareness to others who may be suffering from the same issues.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:KAILEY FITZGERALD
Kailey Fitzgerald is a young and upcoming writer in the recovery community of South Florida. She enjoys finding creative ways to link mental health and addiction awareness to varying forms of art and is passionate about helping others to recover.