It’s a special day here at Good Millennial because we have a GUEST POST! This week’s guest post is from the lovely, formidable butterfly that is Abigail Oldham.
This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders affect over 20 million women in the United States, and many of these cases go unreported and untreated.
I knew I wanted to highlight #NEDAwareness Week on the blog, and I immediately thought of Abigail. She has been sharing her recovery experience for over two years and her effort, strength, forgiveness, and compassion never cease to amaze me. I’m so honored she shared her story with us.
Over the past two years in recovery, I’ve surely been known to use my social media platform to promote openness, honesty, and self-discovery through the recovery of my eating disorder. When NEDA’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week rolls around, I take the opportunity to share even more posts to celebrate my recovery and the gift awareness brings.
I come from a world where calorie and nutrition facts quantitatively measured my worth, and now I live in a world where faith trumps fear and a number can’t define the many intangible parts of who I am. How that did that happen? It started with me knowing I was bulimic. Though I had exemplified every behavior trait of someone suffering from bulimia for the past 7 years, I sat at the group table during my first day of therapy with tears streaming down my face explaining, “I’m just not one of you.”
It’s never us, until it is. It’s never real until the reality is our own staring us back in the mirror. I really was one of them, and I was in a battle that I was refusing to know. One night while in treatment but denying my diagnosis, I innocently walked to the kitchen on the phone to get a drink of water. Impulsively, I dropped the phone, opened the freezer door, and dug into 2 gallons of ice cream, a pizza, and then the porcelain god for the following 3 hours. I laid on the couch until the sun rose with one thought, “I cannot live like this another day.”
I often refer to this as my “Come to Jesus” moment. The next day, I brought my beloved scale to treatment to smash and vowed it would no longer ruin another night of my life as it did the night before. That is the day I decided to go on the long and treacherous road to recovery from my eating disorder.
To celebrate this week, I originally thought about just telling you facts you might not know about an eating disorder, like an eating disorder is not just physical but very mental, it looks different on everyone, and how you talking bad about your body and “diet talk” triggers everyone around you struggling with an eating disorder.
However, what I want you to know is that recovery is hard. It is the most unpredictable process: one minute you’re doing well and the next you’re back in treatment for a relapse in behaviors. It is learning to love what you’ve defined as unlovable because you only know conditional love. It’s learning to silence the “Who do you think you are?” and “I am not enough.” For I really am just enough.
I hope this week you will commit to being aware, because I promise you we’re all in recovery from something. Of course, I am passionate about eating disorder recovery because it is my battle to fight, but we are all fighting a battle every day. I beg you to be kind, loving, and full of grace to those around you.
Awareness is our greatest agent of change. Share some love this week on someone else’s recovery journey.
If you or someone you know is struggling with food or exercise issues, please visit nedawareness.org. NEDA can help you get screened, find recovery centers near you, and help you begin or continue your recovery process. Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy.