National Eating Disorders Association

Stories of Hope

The Un-edited Version of My Life
By Rebecca Plaza

    Since I could pick up a pen, I have been writing stories and since I could talk I loved making them up.  I always heard the greatest story ever to be written is our own and that gave me great excitement.  I’m a dreamer by nature; falling asleep with visions of surfing in Hawaii, elephants across the plains in Africa or finding love.  The imagination fuels me and I strive in the real world to support my hopes and aspirations.  I’m notorious for building things up and gunning my engine to achieve them.  I want my story to be exciting and full of “remember that night?” and accomplishments I worked hard to get.  In a way I sort of naively thought life would turn out in a fairy-tale and since we could write our own story, why not? 
    But fairy-tales have wolves and dragons and witches to complicate things.  Mine does too and I realized not too long ago that I was the wolf.  My home life is my kingdom and besides the constant arguing and other environmental factors that stress me out, it’s also the place where I have family and friends.  As I got older my kingdom seemed to expand with school and work; more constant stressors I took to heart.  What I didn’t realize was as I took it to heart; it took me into a world of an evil eating disorder.  I’ll admit it.  I’m a nervous Nellie and I take nothing short a pint-sized cylinder of salt when people make comments.  My self-esteem and confidence hang on a shelf needing to be dusted and I often feel lost.  It sucks to be lost in your own head…a place so familiar.  Throughout high school I struggled with weight because of a tumor in my throat and that positioned my mind onto getting healthy.  I achieved my goal but as I reached the finish line it seemed to go farther and farther back. The stress was on.  I found myself feeling confused and in a “shouldn’t I have it figured out by now?” mode that I kept chugging ahead without any self-checks.  A weird way to visualize it but I felt like I was running through a forest, chasing a tailcoat of a dream and then recently I stopped, too weak to get up.  I was deep in a forest not knowing what to do but I knew I couldn’t do it alone.  Somewhere behind me my body and soul got separated and as I felt stuck- I know I can find it again.  The tailcoat I was chasing was an illusion; a cloak being dangled in front of me by an eating disorder.  I caught it with some help and now I am turning around, ready to take a new path. 
    I have done three weeks in a hospital, two plus weeks outpatient and many hours of personal archaeology I know is not ever going to stop but I know the more I self-check and the more I take of myself, the better I can become.  And little by little the more I can shake the eating disorder the more goals on my list I can check.  I realize I need a healthy mind and body to accomplish what I want in life.  There is more to me than an eating disorder and with the support team I have behind me I know I can completely overcome this demon and have been doing so since treatment.  Each day presents a new challenge and fear but I was once told fears are not facts and they are only as strong as we allow them to be.  So why can’t I use that power for confidence and strength?  Little by little I am and stepping slowly out the castle I shut myself in.  The dragon of insecurity and confusion I face I have let go, and now I find freedom and light.
    I don’t know how my story will end but I can help shape it.  As each chapter goes on I don’t want there to be a footnote of “she is an eating disorder”.  There are so many more words I can use to describe myself.  Everyone is a collaboration of wonderful words.  Books read on and I will too.  As for my eating disorder, it is a part of my story but it will not be my whole story.  It will be in the past.  After all, we don’t read books backwards.    

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