Let me introduce myself. My name is Emilee. Years ago, I would have been described as an outgoing, people person with a smile on her face 98% of the time. Growing up, my ideal life was looking out to a crowd of people from a stage. I loved to sing, act, dance, have my picture taken, you name it. I liked all eyes being on me; and they usually were.
I was a performer, voted “most likely to be famous” in the yearbook 5 years in a row. When I thought of my future, it almost blinded me it was so bright. I was good at school, I made friends like it was my day-job, I woke up every day with some kind of purpose, I was happy.
I have never been very good at sharing my feelings or dealing with my emotions. I went through about a year of my life thinking I was bi-polar because of the thoughts I was having and the ridiculously strong anger or frustration emotions. I couldn’t understand why the smallest things could set my world on fire.
I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was about 12 years old. It was mostly related to travel for me. I had an experience away from home around this time in my life that flipped my world upside down (maybe one day I’ll share that story) and ever since then, travel has been a huge fear for me. Even sleepovers at friends’ houses were hard for a long time growing up.
I always knew I felt anxiety sometimes, but I never explored the reasons behind it. I never looked into it and really truly opened up about why I was feeling like I was. Silence is BEST FRIENDS with anxiety, depression, and a million other mental health issues. Which is a huge reason as to why I’m sharing this.
As terrified as I am about sharing my story, I think it’s important. I am not ashamed of my struggle and I don’t think that anyone should feel like they’re alone.
Flash forward to 2016/17/18 – rock bottom.
I had severe anxiety every day, depression, and as it turned out, I was suffering from an eating disorder. And I am now in my recovery.
As I’m writing this right now, I am freaking out. Thinking about all the people that might come across it. Those I know and see almost every day that have NO idea what I’m going through, and those I’ve very much distanced myself from in a ridiculous attempt to stop the hurt and hide who I really was.
It’s like I don’t even know what was happening and then all of a sudden everything in my life that I loved started being ripped away from me by this eating disorder “monster”. I was in denial for so long and I feel like it wasn’t even denial, because it ever even crossed my mind. Or I was subconsciously refusing to accept it. I remember in mid 2016 & early 2017 when I was working in the Real Estate industry, that I would get up, get ready and go to work without eating. I would stop at Tim Hortons and get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and continue on my way. Most days, I ate this breakfast sandwich over the course of 4 hours. A lot of the time I didn’t even finish it. I remember feeling nauseous, and like I wouldn’t be able to keep it down. I was like a zombie.
Then, I lost the feeling of hunger and thirst. Because I wasn’t giving my body the nourishment it needed, it stopped letting me know it needed fuel. I was still in denial. I just thought, I’m not hungry, why would I eat?
The people closest to me started to notice my weight dropping. Some people expressed worry and others said I looked great (I did not look great, I looked sick). My mom reached out to me and asked what was going on and I told her I had no idea. I was so anxious and so depressed and SO tired all the time and I couldn’t focus on anything. I also couldn’t eat. I felt so sick every time I would try. It was horrible. I was still in denial.
She told me she booked an appointment for us with a counsellor. I was scared, but I agreed because I didn’t know what else to do. We went to the appointment together. When I sat down, I looked around and all I saw around me were books about eating disorders. It was terrifying. Anorexia was such an ugly word to me for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to accept that I was suffering. After what felt like the longest hour of my life, we walked out and I had so many thoughts and emotions I could barely think straight. That was a year ago.
The past couple months for me have been what I like to think of as my turning point. I’ve done a lot of work on myself including opening up to people, coming clean for things I’m not proud of, and I’m getting stronger every day from here on out. I’ve been working with an amazing therapist/dietician, as well as a naturopath who prescribes me natural medications to mend my brain chemical imbalance, as well as my gut. I’ve gotten what feels like a million blood tests, and am getting vitamin & mineral IV treatments. I have a lot of healing to do, both physically and mentally but I finally feel like I can now say I am ready to do it. It’s been way too long of me treating myself like this. It’s going to take a lot of work every single day and it’s going to be hard, but I deserve better and now I know this.
In a way, I feel like this was inevitable for me. I have learnt so much about myself and about my life. Also, I’ve learnt so much about the body and the brain and it’s inspired me to enrol in an introductory Natural Nutrition course. I feel like one day I’m going to look back on this and say thank you. I’m learning all of these lessons pretty early still. I look at it like this is the first day of the rest of my new life- and I’m so excited to find out what it looks like!
*Just want to end this with a THANK YOU and a virtual hug, and if anyone out there feels like they want to talk to me about something they might be struggling with, please do. Suffering alone is not fun and I promise you there’s a way out.