I was 39, had a great job that paid well, was highly educated, had family and friends who loved me but I was slowly dying inside. The day was August 7, 2012 and it was a Tuesday when my mom showed up at my apartment, an hour and a half's drive from her house, to perform an intervention. The intervention initially was about the weight I had gained (and continued to gain) and the associated health risks, however, it turned out to be much more meaningful than that. This teary, raw, painful and emotional conversation changed the course of my life because it prompted me to face the reality of what I was doing to myself. Who knew I would be diagnosed with a Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) in subsequent days and needed to enter a day program for 5 weeks to receive intensive treatment?!?! I made the decision to take a medical leave of absence from work to enter treatment which turned out to be the best decision of my life.
Prior to my mom's intervention, I really didn't care what happened to me. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't reckless but I wasn't worried about having a health scare that resulted from being so overweight. At that point, I had tried every diet and exercise program and became defeated and despondent because I never stuck to them so nothing improved. I had no idea what to do so I kept eating, gaining more weight, feeling ashamed and embarrassed and like a complete failure. My relationships with family and friends were superficial, at best. I avoided many social situations and deflected conversation pertaining to me for fear of having to open up. I was functioning, going to work and hanging out with family and friends but I now realize that I was just going through the motions. I’m amazed I even did that given the deflated emotional state in which I existed.
Everyone’s path to recovery and transformation looks different but they are all beautiful. I believe that symptoms and triggers are telling a story that needs to be understood, embraced and enjoyed because they contain a deeper meaning just waiting to be discovered. That seems a little oxymoronic…how can we enjoy or appreciate an eating disorder? The answer is that the recovery from and ensuing transformation that an eating disorder provokes can help uncover one’s soul’s purpose, identify underlying emotions that aren’t being acknowledged, unearth past traumas to be processed or prompt a closer look at how one is living their life. In my case, I found my soul’s purpose, learned how to identify and deal with emotions and realized that aspects of my life had to change in order for me to become physically and emotionally healthy.
Almost 2 years have passed since I was first diagnosed and I am healthier than ever. My emotional well-being and relationships have improved significantly and my health symptoms resulting from my BED and obesity have improved or resolved all together. I credit this drastic transformation to many forms of treatment and people in my life who have showed their undying support. The changes I have made in my life have also helped. I left my well-paying job and am pursuing my passion and soul’s purpose which is to raise awareness about BED and support others experiencing the torture that comes with it to find their own road to transformation.
I’ve found that recovery from an eating disorder does not follow a straight path. It twists, turns and switches back on itself and that’s OK because you WILL get there. The trick is to enjoy the journey NOW despite the temporary hard times and painful emotions, learn from it and embrace the joy that sticking to the path will ultimately provide.
But, most importantly, enjoy, live and love!
Michelle’s road to recovery from this eating disorder includes blogging about it, not bingeing about it!
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