Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

Author: Mackenzie

Seven months ago, I never would have guessed that leaving the Center for Change would be so difficult. All I could think about was the food on my plate, the weight I had to gain, and how miserable I was. I remember calling my parents about 3 weeks into my stay, crying about how I wanted to go home, and how I could recover without the help of anyone here. I now know that I was not unhappy because I had to be here. I was unhappy because the eating disorder was controlling my life.

Making the decision to recover was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. My first two to three months here were terrible. I no longer had the opportunity to starve myself instead of allowing myself to feel my emotions, and my negative mind made every day a battle ground. Not only was I an emotional wreck, but my physical health was in such bad shape, that it was painful to let my body heal. In the end however, it was all worth it. I feel like I am alive again. I can do the things I love without feeling exhausted, and my body is healthy again. I no longer go to bed at night wondering if I will be alive in the morning. My life also no longer revolves around how much I weigh, and I feel like I am a whole new person. Happiness is definitely possible, and I can honestly say that I really am happy.

For a long time, I turned away from God. I didn’t feel worthy to have Him in my life. In a way, I thought that my eating disorder was a punishment for all the bad things I have done. I now realize that it is not true. God loves me despite my mistakes, and He wouldn’t let me experience anything I couldn’t handle. I have so much more understanding about what life is about, and I wouldn’t have gained that knowledge without my eating disorder. God is always there for us, even when we turn our backs toward him.

Despite how hard it is to recover, never give up. I want you all to know that an eating disorder is not something you have to be plagued with the rest of your life. You don’t have to be a statistic. You have the strength to overcome your Eating Disorder, and to pursue your dreams.

You are all extraordinary (and not one of you is the exception). It really hurts me that so many beautiful and talented girls and women have to go through the pain and suffering that the eating disorder brings. It has taken me awhile to believe this, but you cannot always trust your eyes. For a long time, I believed that the monster I saw in the mirror was really who I was. I never stopped to think that perhaps that my eyes were distorted. Those distortions weren’t just physical either. I also did not see the gifts and talents that I had. Remember what I have learned, because all of you have your own uniqueness and beauty, but you may not be able to see it.