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 -The ‘Change My Life’ Challenge

I know that a lot of us struggle with self-esteem, body image and just loving ourselves in general.

When I was halfway through my hospital stay, I was asked to do a very interesting challenge, and at the time, it scared the hell out of me…. so I did it anyway.

The challenge was to go home on my weekend pass, and go through ALL of my clothing, and get rid of all that no longer fit me.

I (due to my circumstances) had to label them my ‘sick’ clothing, and if I ever fit into them again… I knew I was sick again.

This played with my mind, my body and my soul, and it made me have to think about my illness. Did I really still want it in my life, or could I finally let go, and surrender.

I went up to my room alone and slowly started going through my drawers, my closet… everything that I owned.

NOthing fit me anymore. Not one damn thing.

I cried, and then I sobbed. Not for long, but it hit me how much clothing and size defined me.

I loaded up my bed and bagged up every single item that I was going to donate.

When I looked in my closet… 25 years of my eating disorder was gone, and it terrified me.

I took a picture of all the clothing that supported my illness and keep it as a reminder of what I used to be.

I wanted to keep some items ‘just in case’ I could use them again, but I knew that meant I was slipping back into old habits.

Money was tight, as I wasn’t working, and am still fighting to find a job now.. stress, however, I went and bought a few things to get me started.

I kept it simple and comfortable… not really my style, however… I decided to challenge myself and my perception of who I wanted to be.

Days passed, and I felt very empowered.

I took the challenge that scared me, was life-changing, and made me feel emotions.

You know what? It didn’t kill me. I’m still here, breathing and wearing comfy clothes…lol.

For any person that struggles with body image, weight issues or make your clothing a priority to fit you forever…

I challenge you to do this and see how much weight is lifted off your shoulders when you no longer have to fit a ‘size’ or ‘size specific’ clothing.

I promise you a life change and a feeling of self-accomplishment that you have never felt before.

Life is a challenge, but please don’t let these things define you… nobody else does.

The Only Way Out is Through…