National Eating Disorders Association
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Rediscovering Myself in Eating Disorder Recovery

Kamryn Contino

Day 28: Tuesday “I forgot how miserable I really used to be...I want my life. I want a personality. I want hobbies. I want love. I want feeling, I want confidence. I can’t have those things along with ED. So goodbye ED. Goodbye forever. I want recovery more than ever.”

On day 28 of 24-hour eating disorder treatment care, I realized that six years with an eating disorder had stripped away my personality, my hobbies, my feelings, my confidence, my ability to love, and my life. It took me six years to realize this, and I was in shock as I noticed everything that I did not know about myself. What is my favorite color? What do I like to do? Who do I love? What do I feel? Who am I?

All these years I thought my eating disorder was helping me get to the happiness I had been searching for, but it turned out it was actually taking the happiness I originally had away. My life was so focused on one thing. One thing that didn't make me any more lovable, that didn't make my quality of life any better, that wasn't a healthy hobby, that didn't help whatsoever with my confidence. One thing that shouldn't determine how I live my life.

Day 28 was a day I can never forget. It was the day I started discovering me. The day I realized that my happiness, personality, and life could finally come back to me. It was an exciting day because it marks the re-beginning of my life. I started this re-beginning by writing a list of 189 things that I remembered loving, enjoying, or being grateful for.

“A clear night sky full of bright stars, glitter, sunsets prettier than paintings, Pomsky puppies, Justin Bieber (my man), Heber, Utah, twinkly lights, church on Sundays, Christmas spirit, painting a galaxy, laughing until I cry, clouds that look like animals, smells of the seasons, a chance to live again...”

Rediscovering me was the best thing I can remember and I want to share that with the world. Recovery from an eating disorder is hard and not many people understand everything that comes along with an eating disorder. It isn't just the fear and terrible relationship with food. It is depression, anxiety, losing the life you once loved, and everything that came with it.

If you were to ask me five months ago to tell you about myself, I would have said this:

“My name is Kamryn Contino. I used to dance and I was born in Torrington, Connecticut.”

Many of you, I'm sure, heard this exact answer.

But if you ask me today my explanation is much longer and more detailed, filled with blooming flowers, people who love me and who I love in return. Music that fills my whole entire soul, and my life that is so worth living and discovering again.

Eating disorders are terrible and hard and all the bad words in the dictionary, but we can overcome this. We can rise out of the dark hole of our eating disorder and rediscover ourselves. We can learn that our lives are more than worth living.