As a varsity field hockey player in high school, I wanted to be the best. I wanted to work harder, run faster, and be a more skillful athlete than anyone else on the field. I started eating “clean” and running outside of practice time. I became increasingly obsessed with my reflection in the mirror and the calories on my plate. Despite my efforts to be the best athlete, I actually began to tire more easily, started to run slower, and criticized myself more than ever. Long story short, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and began inpatient (and later outpatient) treatment.
That was 795 days ago. Recovery was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, but OH my GOSH is it worth it. I was introduced to my current therapist (shoutout to my girl, Claire) and completed DBT, which gave me the best possible tools to avoid relapse with my ED, as well as to help me better cope with my stress, anxiety, and depression. Because of recovery, I’m able to call myself a college student, an employee at a job that I love, and a well-fueled athlete. My battle with mental health has given me the ability to help others on their own path to recovery, the privilege to share my story (#SmashTheStigma), newfound confidence in myself, and so much more.
Pain and trauma are unavoidable. That’s just life. What we can control is how we respond to it. I’ve come to the realization that there are two choices in life when it comes to suffering; the first option would be to dwell on your pain and allow it to make you bitter or embarrassed. The second option, which happens to be my personal favorite, would be to turn your pain into purpose. I believe that, in every situation, there exists at least one positive element, even if you have to search really hard to find it. My pain made me a stronger person, without a doubt. I know that your pain has a purpose too. Have you figured it out?