Society tells us that eating disorders are something we should keep hush-hush. But in a powerful essay on Bustle, writer Molly Jean Bennett explains why she’s not ignoring her own—she’s celebrating its 10th anniversary instead.
Bennett has come a long way from the obsessive eating and exercising of her teenage years. She’s been through treatment, moved to New York, and made a healthier life for herself, but she’s also honest about the fact that the struggle isn’t over. Her story reminds us that the journey to getting healthier is a path with lots of bumps along the way.
Check out our favorite part below:
For many years, whenever I talked about my eating disorder, which wasn’t often, I used the past tense. “When I was a teenager, I had an eating disorder. I lost a lot of weight through a combination of caloric restriction and obsessive exercise. I was lucky that I recovered quickly and didn’t relapse.” Until recently, I refused to confront the ways in which my eating disorder has remained present in my life. Most of the time, I like my body. I like the things it can do, and the places it’s taken me. But there are flashes of that old panicky self-hate, the kind I felt constantly in recovery.
Even though I’ve never starved myself scary since that time 10 years ago, my eating disorder, she’s still here. I recently heard a kick-ass interview with Margaret Cho in which she describes her eating disorder as a terminal disease, something that waxes and wanes but can always roar back when summoned by stress or a toxic phrase like “thigh gap”…
Happy birthday, eating disorder. You’re still here, but I’m bigger and better and stronger than you.