What ANAD Means To Me

What ANAD Means To Me

Recovery is worth it!

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I was only about a week shy of my fifteenth birthday when I was formally diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. A week after that birthday, I was emitted to CHOP to begin refeeding and treatment. Throughout the next five years, I struggled to fully recover from my eating disorder.

I relapsed twice. My weight was never truly stable. I dabbled in other disordered eating and compulsive exercise behaviors. I abused my body. I stunted my growth. I lost my period and compromised by reproductive abilities. I was formally diagnosed with osteoporosis at only twenty years old after fracturing both of my femoral heads and pelvis while running.

No matter how difficult things got, I never gave up fighting for my physical and mental health. I am proud to announce that I have now officially been recovered for one whole year. Although I still have that nagging voice that lingers in the back of my mind and I consciously have to choose recovery every day, it gets easier as time goes on. My thoughts and feelings around my body image, exercise, and food are maturing as I continue to discover my healthy balance.

Anorexia nervosa (along with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder later down the road) took a very physical and mental toll on me, and I know they have done and currently are doing the same to many others. Unfortunately, eating disorders will continue to affect even more people throughout the future. It is because of these reasons that I find the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) to be so important.

ANAD has a mission to support individuals and family members affected by eating disorders. The organization provides support groups, mentors, and educational resources for schools and communities. Through its programs, ANAD promotes recover and aims to improve body image, acceptance, and positivity.

This year, I am helping to raise money for ANAD through two events at West Chester University. At both of these events, I will be sharing my story and explaining how anorexia nervosa (along with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder) affected my life.

Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that the reason I went through the struggles I did with my eating disorders was so I can raise awareness of what they are, the consequences, and motivate others to keep fighting. I know that the statement is kind of cliche, but it's true, so I am going to say it anyway: recovery is worth it!

If you are or know someone who may be struggling with an eating disorder, please don't be afraid to ask for help. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. For more information, check out the ANAD or NEDA websites.

Also, feel free to check out and follow my Instagram page @fightforlifelauren to see what my life is like in recovery (but mostly just pictures of the food I eat with recipes).

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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