Coming to Terms with an Eating Disorder
By Vanessa Palencia
About 6 months ago, I wrote an informational piece about Orthorexia Nervosa and talked a little bit about my experience.
I said it was possible to overcome it (and it is!), but I never delved into the difficulties I faced and the emotional waves I had to overcome (and still am!). Things are easier said than done. It's easier to dream than do. It always is.
So this is my journey.
For all of you who mistreat yourselves daily because of your distorted belief or idea of what deems you worthy or beautiful. This is for you.
The road to self recovery, self love, and self care isn't a smooth drive. It'll be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome, yet. No one really tells you the emotional battle you'll have to fight and the inner demons you'll have to face. Every bite of food you eat can either be a peaceful passing, or it can rile up a war inside of you.
And every single time you're left alone to your own demise, you'll find yourself lost in your own head thinking about the foods you ate and what you're allowed next. And should you eat something off of your forbidden foods list, you'll have to bring your armor out again to fight the urge to diminish your self worth and fight the temptation to exercise because your identity is not in the foods you eat or how much you've worked out. You are more than that.
You'll start to think that it's much easier and that you'll be much happier if you just succumbed to your eating disorder, which is understandable because you've learned to associate that way of eating and living with being healthy, happy, and accepted. But it's not.
Right now it chains around your ankles, weighing you down, preventing you from ever really feeling the freedom that comes from accepting and loving yourself.
Now, I've been swishing the term ‘eating disorder’ around my tongue lately and it seems to always leave a bitter taste behind. I can't help but feel like it's a derogatory term, but maybe that's just me.
I'm a strong believer that words are a powerful tool that can either make or break you. In the same way that we are supposed to talk to ourselves in a loving manner, I believe sticking the label ‘eating disorder’ on us can do much the same thing.
By tossing that term around, I felt like I was losing my strength. I was losing myself to those words. I was no longer the young woman who loved to bake, write lyrics, or exercise for the fun of it. I was no longer the mother, daughter, and partner that I know I am. I was no longer defined by my character and hobbies, but by that ghastly diagnosis.
The term ‘eating disorder’ is meant to help you understand which part of you you need to strengthen. It’s not an identity. It's not an excuse to let that toxic relationship with your body image, food, and exercise keep happening. Don't lose yourself to those words because it isn't you. Yes, you will be waging war against yourself in the name of self love and acceptance, and yes, you will reach your breaking point, fall to your knees, and cry your heart out, but you can't allow it to overcome you.
You are more than that.