Even Though I've Suffered I Wouldn't Trade It For How It Shaped My Life
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Health and Wellness

Even Though I've Suffered I Wouldn't Trade It For How It Shaped My Life

I'm not willing to give up.

Even Though I've Suffered I Wouldn't Trade It For How It Shaped My Life

“Would you?”

It was a seemingly simple question, just two words, only requiring a yes or no answer.

But at the same time, it was asking so much. The question wasn’t merely asking for a yes or no; it was asking if given the choice, would I take away something that had been monumental in shaping my life, something that is a primary reason I am who I am, if it meant that I wouldn’t suffer the way I have?

Would I give up the woman I have become if it meant that I could escape the pain?

YES, part of me screamed, ABSOLUTEY, 100 PERCENT, YES! It was the part that lived in constant darkness, the fighter that bore the endless scars and fresh wounds from countless battles, the part desperate for relief.

But wait, a calm voice within me whispered. Just wait.

“I… I don’t know.” The conversation within the group went on without me as I receded into my own mind, my thoughts muddled and confused.

I had been taught through this entire process that I was not my eating disorder, that my identity was completely separate from my illness. My whole recovery was based on me being a person who had been taken over by the illness, someone who needed to be freed in order to be herself again.

I was Sarah; it was ED. It was as simple and complicated as that.

Getting rid of ED—or better yet, never having it in the first place—would be the ultimate ideal.

But I thought back to the question, thought about what my life would have been like if I had never developed an eating disorder. Where would I be? Who would I have become?

It was a pretty picture; there’s no denying that. I could see myself in this alternate reality, one where I went through high school and college like everyone else, struggling with what they struggled with, enjoying what they enjoyed.

I would’ve cried to my mom because I fought with my best friend over a boy instead of obsessing and calculating each calorie, taking note of every bite.

I would’ve have giggled about that same boy with my best friend after we inevitably made up instead of constantly breaking plans so I could get in another workout, so I could work off every calorie from that day.

I would have cheered in the student section at football games, laughing and making memories with my friends instead of leaving early because I was so frail, so constantly cold, that I couldn’t see straight.

I would’ve continued basketball, loving the strength and fearlessness I felt each time I stepped out onto the court instead of quitting because I was at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

I would’ve stressed over the SAT and ACT because I needed good scores to get scholarships to my dream colleges on the east coast instead of worrying about if I would even make it to my senior year of high school.

I would’ve been an entirely different person, a person with a lighter load to bear, a person free from the prison of her own mind.

And yet, I would be less.

Without the endless days—and even longer nights—of trying, failing, and trying again to make sense of the love/hate relationship I had with the darkness of my depression by writing, I never would have discovered my love of words, of giving a voice to issues often silenced by stigma.

Without the times that I had to force myself to eat, to swallow each bite despite how my body shook with anxiety and fear from the incessant whispering of ED that I was fat, that I was a bore, that I wasn’t good enough, that I would never be good enough, I wouldn’t have learned how strong I truly am, how strong I can become.

Without being tormented by thoughts so dismal, so hopeless, I never would’ve been able to recognize the pain in the eyes of others who felt the same, who had suffered alone in shame, who had been wearing masks for far too long.

Without my eating disorder, I would not have the bright scars that reflect the battles I’ve survived, the nights I kept going, the days I chose to stand up once more.

I wouldn’t have the relationships that have been tested by the hardest of trials, the people who refused to leave as I failed them time and time again, as I fought to push them away.

I wouldn’t have the drive that I have, the desire to get the most out of this life because I have been on the edge of death, have been so close to leaving this world for good.

I would not be an ‘old soul,’ thinking so deeply, loving so intensely.

I would not be me.

And finally, after so long, I truly mean it when I say: she’s not someone I’m willing to give up.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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