“I am not my eating disorder”

Project Description:

“Even though I am now five years recovered from Bulimia, my biggest insecurities still revolve around my body and the way that I perceive it on a daily basis. I find myself trying at times to stuff my disorder down into the deepest of spots within me, but I can still feel it there with me a lot of the time.

Although the physical manifestation of my eating disorder no longer persists, the mental challenge still remains. I am still regularly battling thoughts and feelings that make me perceive my own self in ways that others might not. Some days I wake up and love what I see in the mirror. Other days I can hardly stand in front of the mirror before my skin begins to crawl. On the days when the thoughts are really bad, they follow me out of my dorm room and into the real world: Are they seeing what I’m seeing? Do they see that roll of fat between my crop top and my jeans? Should I ever wear this again? Are my thighs touching right now? Do they look huge with the way I’m sitting right now?

These thoughts are not just vanity. They are a manifestation of anxiety and stress that at that moment may have nothing to do with the way that I look. If I’m overwhelmed by life and all the things that seem to be piling up for me to do, then I’ll take it out on myself. When everything seems to be out of my control, it seems that I can at least control my body. Deep down, I know that that’s not how things work. I remind myself that I need to not just listen to what the world needs, but also to what my body needs from me.

Every day is not a bad day. In fact, the more time goes on, the less frequent the bad days get. As much anxiety as it caused me to put my insecurity out there, I hope that it gives me as well as others strength and a sense of solidarity. Eating disorders can stay with you for a long time, some say forever, but it is not what defines us as human beings.”