Finding and Accepting Myself
What a friend told me over dinner a month ago encapsulated what recovery meant to me. “You are interesting and you are beautiful”. We hear it all the time from others when we’re stuck in the cycle of disordered eating, but it doesn’t register, does it? My friend will never know how much those words meant to me, but they meant the world.
Today, I posted a new display picture on Facebook, without being wrought with anxiety over how many “likes” I’d get because I already felt beautiful and amazing. I am overwhelmed at how far I have come. I am no longer stuck in a dark, isolated world where counting calories and obsessive cardio is normal. I enjoy eating out now. I relish a good workout. I truly cherish spending time with friends. Instead of focusing on anyone’s weight, I focus on the small qualities that I admire about them, such as the way their eyes crinkle when they truly smile or the sound of their laughter. I’m leading a balanced lifestyle as best as I can. I exercise, incorporating both strength and cardio training. The most rewarding moments are when I coach my friend through some bodyweight and weight circuits. It’s amazing to see what my body is capable of when it is nourished and cared for and I’m only getting stronger!
I’ve come to a stage in my life where I’ve accepted who I am and it’s absolutely liberating! I’m comfortable with voicing my opinion and asking for help when I need it. Whereas before, I would be a wallflower and I would shoulder everything, thinking that it made me appear stronger to others. It can be very difficult to remove yourself from that mentality. I saw a quote on Tumblr a few days ago that said, “When you starve yourself, you feed your demons.” Stop feeding those demons. Recovery will take time, but ignore that negative voice and ask for help. There is so much in the world and our surroundings to experience, to appreciate, and to love. But let’s starting with loving, appreciating and accepting ourselves.
Elisabeth Lam is currently a 4th year Specialist in Mental Health Studies and Major in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus. She hopes to eventually pursue graduate studies perhaps looking at the genetics and neuropsychology of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and EDNOS. She is also interested in the efficacy of treatment for people with Eating Disorders. Outside of academia, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, and is currently learning Italian.