There have been times in my life where I loved my eating disorder. It made me feel powerful and capable and loveable and I know that it served a purpose for me. But looking back from where I am today, I can definitely say that I hate it. I would never wish this kind of experience on anyone.

But at the same time, I’m almost thankful that I’ve had it. Well, thankful is probably the wrong word. Slightly appreciative of it maybe? I’m not really sure how to categorize the kind of feelings that I have towards my eating disorder. I don’t exactly look back on my worst times as fond memories, but I’m thankful for everything that I’m learning in recovery and none of that could have come without the struggles that I went through.

I feel like I’ve gained so much awareness about myself within the last few months. Awareness that I know I never would have gained had I not gone through the process of treatment and recovery. I feel like I would have stayed in the dark about myself forever. Even before my eating disorder ever started, I wasn’t really happy with myself. I was still very perfectionistic and such a people-pleaser. I still looked entirely to other people for affirmation that I was an ok person. And even though so much time of the last five years was absolutely miserable, I would rather have gone through that and emerged better than to have never experienced it at all. I’m starting to almost feel whole, rather than just like an empty, emotionless shell.

Even now, not yet fully recovered, I think I’m a lot happier and more understanding of myself than I ever have been. Even if I don’t get any better than this, I’d rather stay here than go back to what I was before the eating disorder. I don’t think I would have ever really realized that anything was wrong, or that life could be so much better than it was. I don’t know. I guess a large part of that is that I was so young when my eating disorder started and I probably wouldn’t have had much self-awareness at that time anyway. But I still don’t feel like I could have ever reached this level of awareness without everything I’ve been through. I’m not there yet, but I can see myself developing into a very whole hearted person. I understand the reasoning behind a lot of my emotions. I have a pretty good grasp on what my eating disorder did for me and why I used it. This makes me want to tell everyone to go talk to a counselor or read some self help books or do whatever just for the hell of it. Even if you don’t think anything is “wrong” with you. You might be surprised what you find out. It’s a shame that seeing a counselor comes with such a stigma because I feel like I’ve learned so much.

As much as I hate my eating disorder, I’m starting to accept the fact that I can’t change that it has already occurred. All I can do now is move on from it and turn such an awful experience into an experience of growth and learning. And if I can help other people to find that same growth within themselves then it will have been worth it.

Also, if eating disorders are going to affect a certain percentage of the population anyway, I would rather it be me than some other innocent person. Like I said, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.