Emma s Story
New York, NY USA
Emma s Story
New York, NY USA
For a good portion of high school, I felt like a ghost walking the halls. Physically, I was present. I was maintaining straight A's, involved in the school theater productions, was the Feature Editor of the school paper, ran track, had friends, and went to parties. Mentally and emotionally, however, was another story.
Beginning around the middle of my sophomore year, I started to feel incredibly lost. I did not feel like my voice was being heard enough, like I was not being seen enough- which was ironic, because I was being heard and seen a lot what with all the many activities I was involved in. But still, at the time, it was not enough. I wanted more. More positive results, more acclaim, more respect, more love.
These feelings of being lost and out of control I was experiencing caused me to begin to feel really down on myself. I was confused about who I was and I needed an identity. Thus began my downward spiral of restriction. At the time, restricting my intake made me feel in control and powerful. I was succeeding at things in my life with barely any nutrition to fuel me. What a feat, right? But, I became sicker and sicker.
I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and, the inside of treatment centers, both outpatient and inpatient, became all too familiar. What was I doing? Everything I thought I was fighting for (a voice, to be seen, more admiration), that wasn't happening. I was even more lost, scared, and confused. I had no control. And I was starting to realize that.
The summer before college, I had a choice. I could continue with my eating disorder and probably continue to be in treatment centers, or I could decide to start my recovery journey and get myself to college. I had already been accepted into school, so it was a real option. I could chose the path to my future. Yes, it could be scary because it meant taking the steps to recover. But, I thought it could be really rewarding as well...
There wasn't one particular moment where I just snapped my fingers and recovered. But, as the days and weeks went by that summer, I started to put into play the things I had worked on in treatment. I began to journal. I ate fear foods*. I took walks outside. I remembered why I was here and what I really wanted out of life. And, that was not to be sick and stagnant. I was going to live, thrive, love and inspire.
Today, I am a recent graduate from Fordham University with my Master of Social Work. I seek to work with individuals with eating disorders and help them as they set out on their own recovery journeys. I know what it means to be sick, to feel lost, and to be afraid to take that first step toward recovery.
I want to be there for others as they take that first step. I want to remind them that they have a voice that can and should be heard by the world. Living life in an eating disorder's shadow is no life, and those suffering deserve not to feel invisible."
* fear food - a term for foods that one suffering from an eating disorder finds difficult to incorporate into everyday eating