Last year, one of my biggest goals included getting my BMI down and becoming a “pro” at purging. I wanted the smallest jeans possible to fit loose on me. This year one of my goals was to run my first half marathon - and I did it!
Last year, it became difficult to do simple things such as get dressed in the winter, because the jackets and sweaters weighed me down. It became difficult to walk to the train, or take a walk around the block. And that is why I now value and appreciate any time I get to run.
There was a time when I felt as though I couldn’t even walk. I was so desperate to achieve my “goals” that I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I avoided all social interactions and gatherings. I didn’t care that with every purge, I was losing a crucial amount of electrolytes and nutrients. I didn’t care to the point that I almost overdosed on sleep aid one night because I wanted to fall asleep to avoid eating dinner. “Skip dinner, wake up thinner” was a phrase that swirled around in my mind almost every night. It was a phrase that my “friends” and I repeated to each other via a group chat I found on a pro-anorexia website.
I remember my face feeling numb, and my eyes slowly shutting as the hunger kicked in my stomach, harder and harder as the night went on. It wasn’t until my eyes were somewhat closing shut, but I was still unable to actually fall sleep at 3:00am, that I began to Google the side effects. I was frantic. I was crying. What would happen if I simply didn’t wake up? I began to question if this was all worth it. Was not eating dinner that important that I would risk death?
I would love to say that was the moment that I became completely dedicated to seeking help, but it wasn’t. It was a series of moments. One being a horrible experience I had while I was on the train coming home from work. After eating a few calories over my daily limit, I had a panic attack in combination with an outburst of motor tics, all brought on by severe dehydration and loss of electrolytes. That ultimately led me to begin balancing appointments with a therapist, nutritionist and a neurologist.
Months after I sought recovery I immersed myself into education on nutrition, exercise and mental health. I read self-help books as if I was getting paid for it, I was trying to find reasons, people, hope or inspiration. And eventually, months after I also discovered running. I didn’t think I could ever run (and didn’t even think I would enjoy running!) until a friend of mine suggested that I sign up for a 5k with her. And I fell in love ever since.
Running can be very personal and emotional for various reasons. I hope to one day complete a full 26.2 mile marathon. It is simply a hobby for me, but it is also one of the first things that helped me be able to relate to my body in a way that I never have before.
It made me see what my body can do for me. And it helped me appreciate the fact that I was still alive after all I had done to my body the years prior.