From the ages of 18 to 24, I struggled severely with anorexia. At my lowest weight, my 5”8 frame dwindled down to 89 pounds. This was without a shadow of a doubt the most challenging period in my life. During that time, I felt very unhappy and depressed; I was constantly obsessed with my intake and burning calories. The idea of eating out at restaurants with friends or co-workers gave me so much anxiety that I would avoid such occasions as much as I could. This left me feeling alone, disconnected and isolated. Living through anorexia was extremely draining in every sense of the word: physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. At times I felt depleted and hopeless, as though this was just something I would have to live with for the rest of my life and mind as well “suck it up” and get used to it. I can’t even begin to describe the mental torture that I put myself through every single day – all of this while life, school and eventually a demanding full-time job continued (because life doesn’t somehow just pause because you are going through an eating disorder). The “light at the end of the tunnel” concept at that time for me was as real as Santa Claus.
Looking back, I feel incredibly blessed to have received so much support and love throughout that time. Healing for me was a LONG process, LONGGGG. My family and best friends were there for me and showed me love, empathy and compassion every step of the way which I will be eternally thankful for. In addition to regular meetings with my therapist at the Douglas hospital and nutritionist, yoga also played a big role in my recovery.
My journey with yoga started in the summer of 2010 (I had just turned 23 years old). Yoga helped me to regain balance in my life and to reconnect with myself, which I had somehow (temporarily, thankfully) lost along the way. I had become so disconnected with myself as a person, I felt overwhelmed with my issues, and I didn’t really know who I was anymore. Other than school, working out and worrying about my food intake, I didn’t make much room for anything else in my life. Friendships, relationships, learning new things and having new experiences had taken the back seat, WAY back. Yoga gave me a new focus, a challenge, something to dedicate positive loving energy into and an opportunity to invest in myself. For the first time in a very long time, it made me feel good to feel strong physically and to be fit and healthy rather than weak and emaciated. Yoga also game me a sense a pride and feeling of belonging, I was proud to be a yogi, to be talented in my practice, to be dedicated to something that brought so much positivity into my every day.
Today, I feel connected and committed to myself. I feel powerful within my own life and feel as though I can do anything that I set my mind to. I still have my “off” days (name a person who doesn’t); however anorexia no longer controls my life. I am strong believed that no hurt it wasted. You can either choose to let it knock you over or make you stronger. My experience has left me with me with so much gratitude and appreciation for life and a greater sense of purpose.