Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny – My Very Own Secret

It’s interesting, as I look back over the last twenty plus years, and wonder how I chose to live with the struggle in my life.

When I was in my teens and started to entertain the idea of an eating disorder lifestyle, I only saw the positive side.

It would be my very own secret, one that I did not have to share with anyone.. it was mine. I instantly had a new best friend that did not judge me and was always there to comfort me. I didn’t have to feel any pain in my life or deal with the emotions, because I had a new way to ‘cope’.

Had I known how lonely, time-consuming, exhausting and miserable this would eventually become… I might have reviewed the cons of this lifestyle.

I began to wonder why no-one understood the pain I was feeling inside, the sadness, anger, frustration and the numbness.

Why couldn’t people see I was falling apart, slowly, each day I learned to hate myself a little bit more and no-one cared.

It was not until a few months ago that I was able to answer these questions and it was mind-blowing.

How could anyone know my struggles if I wasn’t honest with them about what I was dealing with? People are not mind readers, and I chose to keep this as my secret… damn… it wasn’t that nobody cared… I just didn’t speak.

I finally chose to be honest about six months ago. I told the world I am not perfect, which I’m sure was a shocker to everyone.. lol, and that my eating disorder was slowly killing me.

Do you know what happened?

People reached out to me with words of inspiration, love and kindness.

I was so overwhelmed by the support that poured in, and suddenly, I was not alone anymore.

I shared my nightmare with the world, and I was OK… I could breathe, and I was OK.

I will never have the words to express my thanks to all of the people who support me today and continue to inspire me.

Just know, you saved my life, and I will never forget your kindness.