Carol, 19 from Massachusetts, got in touch to tell me her personal body image story.
”I’ve struggled with anorexia for about two years and have been attempting recovery for a little over a year. I was in an abusive relationship from the ages of 14-16, a crucial time in the development of self image and building self confidence. Being so young, I was scared to leave and wasn’t sure what to do. I finally found the courage to leave the relationship and get help. About two years after, I found someone else and quickly fell in love. I was so self conscious and doubtful of myself from the previous abuse that I would constantly compare myself to every single girl that came across my way. I began starving myself in an attempt to regain a sense of control over my life. Little did I know that anorexia was actually the one in control, while I was spinning out of it. Eventually the second boyfriend left, extremely randomly and without warning. I was devastated and heartbroken. I decided that it was time I got help. I knew I needed to get better for myself. Not for him, not for my family or friends, but for ME. I didn’t deserve to feel so bad about myself and nobody going through an eating disorder does. I went from being 80 pounds to being at a healthy weight. I admit I still find myself struggling with obsessively counting calories and facing fear foods. There are days where I hate my body so much I break down and cry. But there are also days where I’m proud of myself. Recovery was the best path I could’ve chosen, regardless of the horrible days that come with it. There’s a huge difference between the “old Carol” and the “new Carol”. Today I feel like I’M the one in control. I can choose to eat and feed myself the nutrients it needs. There’s also a lot of hope around me. Every day I count my blessings and am very grateful I even got the opportunity to try recovering from such an awful illness. Everyone going through an eating disorder or any kind of negative body image: stay strong. Know that tomorrow always holds the possibility of positive change. Life is beautiful and so are you – JUST the way that you are. We need to start celebrating ourselves instead of bashing ourselves. We are worth so much more than this. Together, we can make a positive move towards a society where body image is celebrated. Stay strong and stay hopeful.”
Have you struggled with an eating disorder? Do you want to share your recovery story and inspire other people? Write for my blog. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your piece can be as long/short/in depth/vague as you like. This is NOT an exercise to demonstrate your literary capabilities, I just want to share your stories. Please don’t be put off by your ‘level of writing’! You never know who you might touch.