Anorexia Nervosa. Orthorexia Nervosa. Anorexia Athletica. These are the terms that have described me for the past eight months of my life. Before this, I was just a tennis player. Now, I'm a tennis player living with and fighting anorexia every day.
Before my eating disorder, I have never used exercise as a means of compensation. However, this is what exercise and tennis practice became to me. All I saw it as was compensation. This ruined my love for the game. Tennis practices that I once saw as fun training, I now saw it as something that I "had" to go to because I allowed myself to have food that day. Something that used to be my greatest escape from the world slowly became a chore.
As a captain of my high school varsity team, it is my responsibility to lead the team. However, when I got sent to a residential facility for my eating disorder, I could not lead my team from so far away. I was admitted to residential just before my season started, and as the days passed by, I felt more and more heartbroken that I couldn't be with my favorite people in the world- my team. I cried almost every day that I was missing our first few preseason practices. I had come to the realization that tennis was not just compensation- it is the love of my life.
Luckily, I got out of residential just in time for the regular season. I have never felt more joy than I do with my team and my coaches. Every day is a struggle for me, but when I get to go to tennis at 3:30, I get to forget about my eating disorder for a little while. I am no longer the tennis player with an eating disorder, but just a tennis player.
Each and every day, I choose recovery. Yes, there are bumps and slip-ups along the road, but recovery certainly is not linear. I choose recovery because as long as I stay healthy, I will always have the love of my life- tennis. I am so thankful to have my team and my coaches to support me every step of the way.
Thank you tennis for showing me that life is worth living. Recovery is worth it.