Natalie's Story

Iowa, USA

"Hello, you! Repeat these words: I am good enough, I am beautiful just the way I am, and I am loved. I am enough.

 

My name is Natalie, and I was diagnosed with Anxiety & Anorexia Nervosa years ago. Ever since I was a young child, I never felt that I was good enough. In high school, things went downhill quickly, and I was struggling with an eating disorder.

 

Here’s the thing about eating disorders- ED’s make you believe that you are never sick enough, that you don’t have a problem, and that you are perfectly fine and normal. That is exactly the opposite of the truth. May 7, 2015 is a day I will never forget. On that rainy, summer day, my parents scheduled an appointment to meet with an eating disorder treatment center to see what their program entailed.

 

To my surprise, they took my vitals and immediately told me I needed to go to the hospital and that my life was on the line. As eating disorders do, I believed that I was perfectly fine and that they (the professionals that spent years in school) were crazy.

 

After much discussion, I finally agreed to head to the ER. Once I was there, the nurse took my vitals and all she said was 'I am so sorry.' My heart rate was dangerously bradycardia and my life could end any second. I got used to the sound of the heart monitor beeping, trying to warn me that this was a serious situation, but I still thought I was perfectly fine.

 

Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening diseases. Although society likes to paint eating disorders a certain way, they do not have a certain size, gender, age, race, or stereotype. Any person can struggle with an eating disorder. And, everyone is worthy of receiving help to break free and live the happy life they truly deserve.

 

Recovery. Recovery is and can be different for everyone. And, that’s ok and normal! Some are well into their recovery after a few months whereas others might take years. Either way that is okay, you deserve recovery, and the freedom from your eating disorder.

 

Recovery is not linear. From my sophomore year of high school to being a sophomore in college now, recovery has taken many ups-and-downs. I recently had a relapse and had to take a couple of medical leaves from college. And, you guessed it, it's okay! Sure, I was not a happy camper when I was given the news that I had to leave my favorite people and place, but without receiving the help to get back on track, I would not have even been able to thoroughly enjoy college or start to fall back in love with life again.

 

Although it’s a difficult road to recovery, I would much rather be able to spend college doing things like ordering pizza late at night while cramming for an exam, going on jogs with my buddies because it gives me joy (not because I am trying to 'fix my body'), and going to that concert with a new dress I bought rather than fainting in the gym, crying over calories, isolating myself in my dorm room, or shivering in the 80 degree weather.

 

You deserve to be free from the lies that tell you that you aren’t good enough. Because spoiler alert: you are perfect just the way (and weight) that you are. You are loved. And, you are enough."

 

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P.O. Box 788, Mount Pleasant, SC 29465

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