I am Angela.
I am not anorexic.
I am not a bad person.
I refuse to place labels on myself anymore.
I no longer hate my body.
I am learning to love myself.
I turn to my God in times of need and blessings.
I am in love with my husband and my friends and my family and all that life has to offer.
I am shedding the eating disorder identity.
I am no longer the woman who felt the most important thing about her was her weight and body size. I refuse to be that person. The only way to full recovery is to believe it can happen, and then go through the process.
Anything less than believing this is selling myself short.
Several people have questioned what they see as a dramatic change in me within only a few weeks. One person wrote, "How can it be that easy?"
No, it wasn't easy. It was hard and full of pain and tears. I often got down on my hands and knees and begged God to take away the anxiety and pain of recovery, of being separated from my husband, of the loneliness I felt as I ate most meals by myself.
But I have chosen to be positive. I have many blessings. My husband and I are talking and growing closer again, and we both acknowledge our love for each other. I have no idea about the future, but I do believe love will prevail in the end. I am determined to live a life of joy and happiness, free of anorexia and all its fallout. I feel one way to do this is to envision the type of life I want.
I remember my last attempt at recovery in the fall. At first I was very positive. But then I slowly slid back into anxiety and depression, and of course I used that to start restricting and losing weight. Before I knew it, I was again enmeshed in anorexia.
You see, I did have a rather romantic view of anorexia. Several people accused me of romanticizing anorexia, and of course I vehemently denied these accusations.
But I was wrong. My malnourished brain didn't realize that I was addicted to anorexia and the whole eating disorder identity.
This time around, I knew I had to do something different or recovery would always remain just out of grasp. I also knew that if I didn't recovery that I could die of anorexia. It was no longer romantic and airy-fairy, floating through life as a feather. It was about pain and suffering and death. And that death would most likely be slow and painful, not the quick heart attack I had imagined.
So I decided that this time I would stay as positive as possible. I would focus on the positive aspects of recovery — the lessening of anxiety and depression, being able to think clearer, the fact that I could focus better on writing and studying.
But it wasn't easy. I cried at many meals, and in the beginning I struggled with eating and drinking about five times more calories than what I was used to.
But I never stopped eating. Not once. Even when I felt so much emotional pain that I asked myself if giving up anorexia was what I really wanted to do. The answer was always, "Yes!"
This is because I simply decided I wanted a real life. Not a life of counting calories and worrying about every bite I put in my mouth and being constantly hammered by the eating disorder voice within my brain that I shouldn't eat, that I didn't deserve to eat.
I wanted out.
I don't have those thoughts anymore. I don't call myself anorexic. I say I am recovering from anorexia. I have reached my goal weight, and I look at my new figure and I rather like it. I look like a woman, not a starving person on the edge of a breakdown.
I am not that person anymore. And I never want to be again.