How the Pandemic Helped Me Survive an ED

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I struggled with an eating disorder stemming from very distorted self-perception and a need to lose weight continuously. My disordered eating habits consisted of restricting food intake and being extra cautious about consuming foods that I believed would cause me to gain weight. This escalated and developed into bulimia, and I found myself physically wilting away. I would take photos of my 'progress,' documenting myself getting thinner and basing my self-esteem on my body shape. I would faint regularly, my hair became brittle, and I was blind to how underweight and unhealthy I had become. 

Hesitantly, I started to meet with on-campus medical providers, who were the first professionals to make me aware of my disorder after I normalized it for so long. Then the virus sent everyone back home from campus. I was separated from the resources I had been turning to. Being home from college, my family was introduced to my frail body. I had to face how underweight I had become because I now had an audience that noticed when I would skip meals or pass out from malnutrition. 

Sad woman with smudged mascara holding a fake smile Photo by Sydney Sims from Unsplash

In quarantine, everyone adopted new hobbies to keep busy, like reorganizing, cooking, or crafting. The desire to come out of this pandemic a healthier version of myself was my only priority. There was no social pressure, no campus life, and no need to look a certain way. It gave room for self-reflection and allowed an opportunity for deep inner work. With so many lives being lost to the virus, being healthy and alive is a blessing. By starving myself, I realized I took that for granted.

Once restrictions eased, I got a personal trainer and a gym membership. This was combined with intentionally eating more, being hospitalized, and lots of therapy LOL. I committed to focusing on myself, and growing stronger gave me the motivation to take care of my body. The pandemic put a pause to every block, distraction, or social anxiety trigger that prevented me from building a better me. Months later after working back to a healthy weight, I feel the greatest about my body more than I ever have. While still completing classes remotely at home, my comfortability with myself has drastically improved because I’ve become my closest company and learned the value of self-love. 

This Tumblr quote honestly helped me appreciate my body more:

“Did you ever realize how much your body loves you? It’s always trying to keep you alive. It’s making sure you breathe while you sleep, stopping cuts from bleeding, fixing broken bones, finding ways to beat the illnesses that might get you. Your body literally loves you so much. It’s time you start loving it back.”

Difficult Roads lead to beautiful destinations sign Photo by Hello I'm Nik from Unsplash

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out for help. Don’t look at yourself, see yourself. Appreciate all that you are and have because life is short.

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