Healing from anorexia nervosa is a lifelong process for most people. In this article, Tayla describes her experience with an eating disorder – including how she recovered.
Thin is Grace Bowman’s memoir of life with anorexia nervosa. An extraordinary story, it is also a common one — is there a woman in the western world who has a normal relationship with food? This is a compulsive read, essential for anyone hoping to understand more about eating disorders and overcoming addiction.
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At the end of this article are links to articles about how anorexia starts, and how to overcome bulimia. Everyone’s experience is different, and everyone has different methods of coping and recovering. Some people find counselling helpful, while others seem to be able to recover on their own.
If you’re not sure about what an eating disorder is or if you have one, read How to Know If You Have an Eating Disorder.
Here’s Tayla’s story – if you have any questions for her, please comment at the end of her article.
Healing From Anorexia Nervosa
They say you only get so many second chances in life. I think I got more than my share, but how long could my body hold on?
The day I got my anorexia nervosa diagnosis was the day I almost died.
I had been starving myself for the summer months unnoticed by those around me until my Mom decided enough was enough. I was 12 years old, much too young to be losing weight so rapidly.
She drove me to the doctors where they immediately rushed me to the local hospital for further care. Once at there, they quickly determined that my case was too advanced for them to handle, and so I was rushed, yet again to another, larger hospital in the nearest city.
After my arrival, I was ushered into a small room full of nurses. They quickly inserted a long yellow tube through my nose which hooked me up with 24/7 intravenous feeding. I had become so malnourished in just those short three months that all of my crucial body fluids and vitamins were at dangerously low levels.
I was confined to a bed for the night. Hooked up with IVs and chest monitors to keep an eye on my heart to make sure it wasn’t slowing down. Unfortunately, throughout the night my heart rate dropped to a mere thirty beats per minute, almost half of the normal rate.
Unaware of my condition, I slept soundly while doctors and nurses hovered close and as my Mom prayed desperately to God that I would make it through the night. When I awoke the next morning, I was greeted by many faces smiling. I didn’t understand. My Mom grabbed my arm, and explained my situation. She had tears in her eyes as she told me how she had almost lost me.
It was at that moment I was finally able to grasp the severity of what I was doing to my body. I was slowly killing myself from the inside out. If I was to continue with this illness, it wouldn’t be long before I was no longer a part of this life.
I did want to live. I looked forward to my future, so full of my ambitious dreams and desires. I wanted more than ever to grow up, fall in love, and raise a family. How could I throw all of that away on this, an eating disorder that would take that all away from me?
My hospital stay was one I will never forget; as it was there that I was able to take charge of my future, of my life. I made the decision right then and there, that I would refuse to be brought down by the Ed, that I would fight with all I had, and never give up.
It’s been nine years since that day and I have found freedom. I have broken those chains that held me imprisoned. I have healed from anorexia nervosa. Ed no longer runs my life. He no longer has control over my mind. My thoughts are now my own and I choose to live my life happily, without the suffering and pain associated with his lies and false promises.
It hasn’t been easy. It’s been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life. There were days I wanted to give up and end my life, but I couldn’t. I needed to live in order to reach my dreams. And my dreams revolved around me being healthy and strong. Pushing forward has always been my motto and every day I fought to have power over this eating disorder.
And now I am free. Like a butterfly fresh from its cocoon, ready to take on the world.
I welcome your thoughts on Tayla’s experience with anorexia nervosa, but I can’t offer advice or counseling. To learn more, read How Does Anorexia Nervosa Start?
Tayla Anne is a writer, jeweler, and artist who has recovered from anorexia nervosa after nine years of struggle. Her blog, She’ll Be Free, is a nurturing place where she writes about her experiences and how others can gain freedom through self love and acceptance.