Having an eating disorder means having a severe lack or even a complete deficiency of self-love. We hate everything about ourselves, our bodies and our lives.

We cannot understand how people would even want to be around us and we can hardly stand living with ourselves. Engaging in eating disordered behavior is a way of numbing ourselves and our feelings in order to temporarily stop this disgusting state of mind.

There are a number of reasons for this kind of self-hatred, too many to go into at this point. But, no matter how severe your hatred for your life, body and soul is, there is always a way to come back to a place of self-love.

I believe that one of the keys to recovery is developing this kind of love in order to be in harmony with yourself again and able to sit with your feelings, your thoughts and your body without going crazy.

Love is the answer, even if it sounds cheesy.

My favorite verse about love is the following. I know it by heart and I am hoping it will inspire you to start the journey towards gaining back the love you once had for yourself. You are worthy of it, even if you can’t believe me yet.

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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Every now and then, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered.

I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack.When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts and behaviors take up most of our time and shape our days, it is hard to remember that there is a way out.

Today’s word fo the June blogging challenge is “crowd” and I couldn’t think of  anybody better than Tracey to represent a force (a VERY positive one) that stands out from the crowd, going her own way and making a huge difference.

I am hoping to inspire and motivate you with these interviews and that you too will see that you can get your life back.

Today the beautiful Tracey of WeRFreedomFighters shares her story.

1.     Tell us something about you. Who are you? What do you do in life? Etc.

I’m a twenty something slightly weird chick living in the north east of England.  I am currently training to be a mental health nurse and work as a support worker on a casual basis.  Previously I’ve done allsorts of jobs from paper rounds to checkout operator, bar maid to low-rent journalism and working with children and teenagers with severe behavioral problems.  I love people and a challenge!  I love animals and like with my two dogs and four cats (who incidentally are the best therapists ever!) and have a passionate heart for challenging the stigmas, inconsistencies and areas od lacking in mental health services.

2.     When and why did your eating disorder start?

I was 13.  I was in a very abusive relationship and I wanted to disappear so I starved.  Ironically as I got smaller, I became more visible which terrified me and catapulted me into bulimia.

3.     What was your biggest fear? Why did you starve yourself?

When I starved myself I think part of it was about claiming the only thing I felt I had left to control – but mostly I just wanted to disappear, I wanted not to be seen because I felt so ashamed and because I was terrified somebody would find out what was happening to me.

4.     When did your healing process start and do you know what made you decide why you wanted to change your life?

In terms of eating disorders and behaviors I think I hit a series of lows with it – stealing laxatives, eating my flat mates birthday cake without permission and then lying about it, having an ‘accident’ related to laxatives.  There was that, but also I had friends who were amazing, who had experienced eating disorders and were in recovery and who told me the realities of what I was doing, offered me support and hope to finding a way out.  I was exhausted and hurting and came to a place where I tried to die.  I think when you’ve been in that place you realize there is nothing left to lose.

5.     Can you tell us more about your healing process?

For me healing was never linear.  I didn’t get better and better.  I improved a lot, but then had a blip and struggled a little.  Then I pushed forward more this is how I healed.  I am still healing.  There are issues, which lie at the root of my ED that I have to deal with, have been dealing with and am dealing with.  I guess for me that’s the thing I want people to realize most, that you have to deal with the root – whatever it is – the emotions, fears, events that triggered your ED and work through them.  Its like weeds – if you don’t pull up the root – they just grow back.

6.     Do you still have a “black list” of items that you won’t it? Or can you now say, you eat everything you want?

I actually don’t have a black list anymore.  I still have a cautiousness and slight unease at events where the meal is a buffet, more I think because of bad memories and because I’m socially anxious at times but other than that there isn’t anything I don’t eat – the thing I rejoice in most is that now when I think of foods and how they taste I don’t recall what they taste like coming back up!

7.     Do you consider yourself healthy now? Do you feel comfortable in your skin?

I’m certainly healthier.  I still have issues I’m working through in terms of how I relate to my body because of the history of abuse.  I remain overweight.  Part of this I think is to do with weight I gained during the ED, part is weight related to medication and other physical health issues.  But I eat properly, healthy, balanced – I walk twice a day with my dogs and do yoga and zumba – exercise that I enjoy and do because it makes me feel good.  I feel more comfortable in my skin.  Not completely comfortable but I embrace myself in a deeper way and with greater ease.  Recovery is a journey not a destination and I’m well on my way.

8.     Do you think that there could be done more in order to prevent eating disorders?

There are SO many things that could be done to prevent eating disorders or at least to catch them before too much damage is done.  I believe that often people have a genetic predisposition which makes them vulnerable, other people experience pre-verbal trauma which impacts them, there’s social pressures, home environments – so many factors which can contribute to an ED.  I think making people aware of the diverse realities of eating disorders is important.  It’s not necessarily emaciated white teenage girls who suffer – sometimes an Ed can’t be seen and people, especially those in the medical profession, need to be aware of that.  I think working with children in building self-awareness, self-esteem, confidence and emotional intelligence is important.  Also treatment options need to be more accessible and accessible faster, as well as there being a greater degree of multi agency working so that people can get the best support possible from the right people simultaneously.

9.    Is there any advice you could give our readers?

No matter what a misguided doctor or a frustrated friend might tell you RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE – there is always hope so long as you hold onto it. Expect that there will be slip-ups in recovery, forgive yourself for these, get up and keep pushing forward. Know that you are not defined by your eating disorder.  That’s important.  Who you are as a person is beautiful, unique and infinitely precious – your ED is something that affects you, something you do, not something you are. Reach out for support, whether you do it online or in real life – reach out and break the silence ED creates – its a step towards freedom.

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Recovery: What does Change have to do with it?

June 1, 2012

Recovery is all about change, isn’t it? You have to change your entire life in order to recover from your eating disorder. It’s scary. It’s new. It’s difficult. It’s something nobody wants to do. But it’s the only way out. The only way forward. To be quite honest, I’ve had a very difficult week. My […]

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Someday I…

May 30, 2012

 I recorded the video above in November 2011, so exactly half a year ago. As you saw, it says that someday I will love me for the way I am. Since I recorded this video, I have made tremendous progress towards loving myself and looking in the mirror seeing a beautiful women. I don’t want […]

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Recovery: This Is My Song

May 29, 2012

I had a hard time deciding which song to choose for this post. I was going back and forth between Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. Both are songs that I relate a lot to and have helped me find perspective, strength, courage and a myriad of inspiration. But I ended up […]

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I Can’t Believe That I…

May 27, 2012

I can’t believe that I graduated after all. I can’t believe that I’ve lived in the US twice. I can’t believe I survived my childhood. I can’t believe I (almost) beat anorexia. I can’t believe I can eat a Snickers bar or two without feeling like I have to kill myself. I can’t believe that […]

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Recovery Toolbox

May 25, 2012

Sometimes pictures express more than a thousand words, which is why I chose to simply show you what helped me through the dark days of recovery. How about you? Which tips and tricks do you have for us? Can’t get enough? Here’s more:Don’t forget to browse the archives!

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Choose A Quote That Means Something to You

May 23, 2012

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” – Dalai Lama I value this quote because despite what we are taught, believe and even think we’re doing, we won’t […]

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The Sound of Silence

May 20, 2012

Silence. There are two sides to this loaded word. Of course, there are times when silence is extremely beneficial and opens your mind to new ways of thinking and your eyes to new discovering to make. I am in love with my daily 10-minutes of meditation. It feels like the world is at my feet and I the […]

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I want you to understand that…

May 11, 2012

Your eating disorder is not your friend. Your eating disorder is your worst enemy. No matter what Ed/Ana/Mia tells you, it’s a lie. Eating disorders are inherently belittling, deceiving, mean creatures. They promise you that everything will get better if you only listen to their sweet words, but in reality everything gets worse if you […]

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Only Words?

May 10, 2012

5 Words on My Experience with Anorexia: Misery I cannot describe those 14 years in other words but misery. I was miserable from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep. Everything felt worthless. Life seemed to be about agony. I couldn’t see what other people found so worth-wile about it. […]

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Vive La Difference!

May 10, 2012

Being different is the essence of this world. There’s hardly anything that fascinates me more than looking at different cultures and races. I love seeing the rituals that people in Africa still follow. I love looking at traits Asian people seem to have in common. I even like to see similarities between family members. But […]

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