I thought I was going to die about a year ago. I was by myself in a bookstore on a class trip faraway from home when I felt the strongest pain in my chest, my vision blurred and I had a salty taste in my mouth with an urge to vomit. Alone and scared, I sat in a chair and waited for it to pass. Each time I stood up my legs felt weak and I sat back down.
I’m having a heart attack at 22, I thought.
I’m going to die.
Eventually, I found the rest of my group and obviously have lived to tell the tale. I kept my experience to myself, inside my aching chest. I kept quiet for two days, but I didn’t feel better and I was scared. When I got home, I told my parents about what had happened. I was taken to the hospital. And for the second time in my life, I was told by hospital staff that I was malnourished and underweight.
Do you want to die? the nurse asked me.
No. I said, although my actions spoke otherwise. My refusal to take care of my body said yes, I do want to die.
Even with all the support I have from my loving family and friends, each day is an obstacle. Each day I have to look in the mirror and try my best to not judge, to focus on the positive and to will myself to recovery. Each day. And I thank God that I’ve made it this far, even though I’m nowhere near fully recovered, as long as my mind is riddled with the desire to stop eating.
The truth is, no one can make me recover. Only I can. There is nothing that I wish more than eating something that I used to thoroughly enjoy without feeling the heavy guilt after. And my wish today and everyday is that that day will come if I fight hard enough.
For those of you that are going through any eating disorder, know that you are not alone. Fight for life, it’s worth it.
-Dedicated to my family, especially to my parents who have spent countless hours worrying about me and always being by my side and to my siblings that always encourage me to take care of myself and have had to live with my sometimes unpleasant self.