Words From An Eating Disorder Survivor

Words From An Eating Disorder Survivor

Living proof of an incredible recovery.
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To dedicate an entire article to one person must mean something right? Absolutely yes. Alyssa Cristadoro is an inspiration and wants nothing more than to help others. She proudly shares her story, her strength and everything that she has been through on her blog at www.blissful-lyss.com, where you can read her full story and learn more about her! I want you all to hear her story and to learn about her strength while she stays eating disorder behavior free at college. No amount of writing could ever give words to describe her inspiration. Alyssa has a powerful story that deserves to be shared with the world; she is truly a self-love advocate and a main desire of hers is to spread this self-love.

Her strength never fails to inspire those around her and one day, Alyssa wishes to use her experience to help others going through similar disorders, along with depression and anxiety. Her journey has led her to spreading self-love and body positivity; she is a lover of supporting and helping others. "I believe that everything happens for a reason in life, and through my struggles I have stumbled upon my strength." She has learned to love her body and constantly reminds others of what healthy bodies are capable of, "Shout-out to my body for being able to do pretty amazing things, like taking long walks to explore nature and all of the beauty it has to offer."

Her story never fails to get to me. It constantly reminds me that anyone can be capable of anything and that we are all enough. "Something clicked" in her mind one day in December 2013; from that day on, she fought and fought. As a resultant of her constant perseverance, she is where she is today and healthily doing what she's doing. She's recovered and she aggressively beat her eating disorder.

I'd like to share some of Alyssa's most powerful words spoken throughout her blog and other social media sources:

"Almost losing my life twice to anorexia nervosa gave me the outlook that my battle with this disease and mental health in general all happened so I could give back in some way, so I could help at least one person struggling and suffering in the same way I once did."

"If you are struggling, please seek help. Life with an eating disorder is not living. Always remember that you are good enough and beautiful no matter what."

"I am stronger than my eating disorder."

"I know for a fact that so many girls and boys out there are fighting for their lives and for a life free from an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, etc. and are ashamed of it or are ashamed of the fact that they once struggled with these things...Winning a battle with any of these things is something that one should be extremely proud of and not embarrassed to talk about or share."

"I have accepted my imperfections, my not so perfect skin and I have come to peace with a body that carries fat. Now I have energy, genuine smiles, gratefulness for all my body can do, and I realize that a body is so much more than just something to look at...I know I am far more than my weight, I know my body is a gift: a gift that I will forever appreciate."

"I don't care how others perceive me because the confidence I have inside, the confidence that I AM beautiful is enough. The rest doesn't matter."

"Just like my tattoo on my shoulder says, love yourself: loving yourself unconditionally and every single day will be the greatest choice in your lifetime."

The Warrior Within by Alyssa Cristadoro:

"And the scars will stay, the memories don’t fade, the darkness comes and goes."

"But as I lay, three years later, oh how I am glad I know."

"The numbers don’t define me, that happiness is real, that I am more than the size of my jeans."

"And I’m glad I came to realize that I am far more than the number on the scale beneath me."

"And how I am thankful, and came to understand, that ending it all, that giving in-that wasn’t part of the plan."

"And I am glad I began to learn that starvation wasn’t my only call; that there is more to life than being thin."

"So the scars they remain and the memories still hurt; and on some days, I just can’t escape the pain."

"But I think, and I remember what happiness feels like to me. And I think, and I remember how amazing it feels to be free."

"So I throw out the scale, and I burn the food diaries, because never again will I be so frail."

"And I trudge on, and I continue moving. Because god, god if I give in; then I am just letting this disorder win."

I'm so happy and lucky to have met this beautiful and inspiring girl! The amount of inspiration and hope that she spreads is indescribable. Thank you for being you Alyssa, thank you for spreading the importance of self-love, thank you for helping others who are suffering and thank you for letting me share your story with the world!

Cover Image Credit: Alyssa Cristadoro

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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To All Lawmakers, Keep Your Laws Off My Body

My body, my choice.

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This past week, Ohio and Alabama received a lot of attention in the media after bold decisions were made regarding abortion laws in these two states. Alabama has signed an extreme abortion ban into law which gives no exception for even rape or incest. Women and doctors could end up facing 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in this state. In most cases, rapists only serve about 6 years of jail time. This means that a woman could spend more time in jail for attempting to abort the fetus than the man who planted it inside of her. In Ohio, similar laws are being put in place that denies women from getting an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. However, that is only 5 weeks into the pregnancy, or one week late of a period. Most women do not even know they are pregnant at that time.

I originally was very hesitant to write this article. Not because I did not know what I thought about the issue, but rather because I was afraid what other people would think of me writing about this. I'm typically not one to post anything too political but there comes a time when something must be said.

When it comes to abortion laws, pro-life advocates often argue that the fetus could be the next Einstein or the person to cure cancer. However, the women who are going to be taking care of the child could have potentially done the same. Instead, they are often forgotten about and their lives are changed for good. There are so many women who will have to give up so much such as their education, career, and happiness as a result of the laws that are being put into place.

Furthermore, if a woman is not capable of taking care of a child at the time she gets pregnant, the child will end up being the one to suffer the most. If the woman has no option but to keep the baby, the baby has the potential of growing up in an unstable home where it will not have the resources it needs to live.

Pro-life advocates push for women to just give the child up for adoption, but that has its own set of problems. If the woman puts the baby up for adoption, there is a ginormous possibility that the child will live their entire life going in and out of our country's broken foster care system. Lawmakers should not be advocating for the protection of fetuses unless they are able to make sure the fetus will be able to grow up in a stable environment.

Putting laws to prevent abortion into place isn't going to stop abortions from happening. Instead, it is going to make women turn to hazardous practices that could end up with them harming themselves. Many people, including some pro-life advocates, have even admitted that the bills being put into place are too far.

The most amazing thing to me about the bills being signed into place is that the support for them is heavily reliant on men. It is very easy to jump behind supporting something that doesn't affect you. These men will never be able to experience what it is like to carry a child around for nine months and care for it after. That is why it makes absolutely no sense that they are able to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies.

Being pro-choice is not necessarily being pro-abortion. It is being for women to have the freedom to do what they believe is best for themselves. A women's right to make her own choices should not be a conservative or democratic issue. It is a human issue. It shouldn't matter what the circumstances are. If a woman feels she is not ready for a child she should have the ability to do what is needed to be done. I hope that as a country we are able to take the necessary steps to prevent us from moving back in time. So to all lawmakers, keep your laws off of my body.

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