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
Hannah’s Story: Yesterday
Yesterday we lost another fight. Yesterday an eating disorder claimed the life of another too early. Reminding me how real this is, how dangerous, and how cruel.
An eating disorder doesn’t care that you have things to do, it doesn’t care that you already have so much to deal with, that you have to work to pay bills, that you have to go to school. All an eating disorder cares about is hurting you.
It didn’t care that she had just started treatment, it didn’t care about the doctors who tried their hardest to bring her back; it didn’t matter.
She had a family, friends, and a future yet all that was taken away in a second. The reality of this illness is scary, and it takes lives every day.
There are so many people like her in the world. So many people who die due to this illness. Eating disorders are a deeply misunderstood illness; due to the fact that many people see them as lifestyle choices. They are not. Eating disorders are deadly illnesses that are no more a choice than cancer is. There is a big issue with the lack of education, research and knowledge about eating disorders and this is what makes them so lethal.
Yesterday reminded me why I spend so much time thinking about this illness. Obviously it has been a huge part of my life, but more importantly I want to help people like me. People who don’t know that anything is wrong, people who believe that how they feel is normal. How sad is that? That we believe how worthless the eating disorder tells us we are. We believe that we are less than dirt.
We fall for it because no one taught us differently, we don’t know any better. No one sat me down and talked to me about mental illness, because nobody talks about it. Mental illnesses are so taboo and yet the majority of the population will suffer from at least one at some point in their lives. So why don’t we talk about it?
If we talked about it we might save more, more people might find treatment, and we wouldn’t have to bury so many.
We wouldn’t have to lie to explain our absences from work; because being hospitalized from an eating disorder isn’t a good enough reason apparently, we wouldn’t have to stare at the calorie count whenever we go out to eat, we wouldn’t have to seek help in private, or look up how we feel on the internet. We could say it, we wouldn’t have to keep it so hidden.
We wouldn’t lose so many.
Yesterday I lost a friend. Yesterday a mother lost a child. Yesterday the world lost an amazing person. My heart breaks knowing she will never know what it is to get better, she will never get to experience the amazing transformation that happens with treatment. She will never get to know what is means to be happy, without the voice of an eating disorder screaming in the back of her head. There are so many things she will never get to feel, never get to see, and never get to experience.
Yesterday I was reminded that for many the fight is just beginning. Yesterday I realized that I am so very lucky to have made it to where I am today.
Yesterday I remembered how important raising awareness is, and how it can really save lives.
We may have lost one, but we can save many.