For those of you who somehow missed me shouting it from the rooftops, I've been on a bit of a media campaign lately. It all started with The Journal publishing one of my blogs posts dealing with my recovery from anorexia. Following on from that article, I was contacted by the lovely people at IrelandAM who asked me to come on their show to talk about the article, my recovery, and help available for young people going through a tough time.
So yesterday morning, I made my national TV debut and despite my own insecurities about how I looked and sounded, I think I did alright! If you missed the piece, you can catch it here:
I have to admit, I was quite nervous. Appearing live on TV is nerve-wracking anyway, but throw in the fact I was sharing a personal journey and my legs had the consistency of a bowl of jelly. I was scared about how it was all going to go. Would I make my points clearly? Would the interview encourage young people to seek help? The other day, I spoke with King Nidge about the impending interview and he gave me a stellar piece of advice (as he always does): think of what I would say to 14-year-old me if I could. So that's what I tried to do.
The IrelandAM team were just fantastic and Sinead Desmond is a truly, wonderful lady. Personable, down-to-earth and smart as a whip. After the interview, as my heartbeat returned to normal, the enormity of what I had just did begin to dawn. And as I begin to feel a small amount of pride, a stronger emotion was present: a feeling of empowerment.
While it is good to leave the past in the past and focus on the present moment, it's beneficial to sometimes take a peek to see how far you've come. As I detailed my own journey and recovery with anorexia over the past few weeks, I've realized how far I've come in a short time. If you had told me when I was a teenager that I would be at the place I am at now, I would've asked if you were on drugs.
My recovery has not been easy. It was a struggle to break the bond I had with my eating disorder. But my desire for and belief in a better life for myself strengthened me. The knowledge that I could get better lit my way on dark days. I learned to respect my body and to be kinder to it. The shape of my body is not something I need to, nor should I, berate. I know that there are moments when I'm going to curse the width of my hips (I can thank my genes for inheriting child-bearing ones) or the size of my ass (it appeared in 2011 and I'm still getting used to it). But I also know that once I'm healthy, that's all that matters. We come in all shapes and sizes, the notion that there is a "perfect" one is ridiculous. It doesn't exist. And I for one, after having spent so many years making myself sick in the pursuit of it, have no desire to obsess over it.
Speaking honestly about my anorexia did make me feel vulnerable. But today, I feel stronger then ever for doing so. I've come full-circle; from a young girl ashamed of her body and secretive of what she was doing to it, to a young woman demonstrating that you can not only survive an eating disorder (or any other mental health issue), you can thrive and recover.
As such, I'm filled with a giddy optimism today. I'm working on some exciting long-term projects at ReachOut HQ and planning future articles for this blog and Krank.ie.
I know that there are so many people in Ireland who are battling eating disorders at the moment. I know I can't talk to every single one of them. But I want them to know that there is help available. I want them to know that they don't have to feel this way and they don't have to go it alone. Their life can be filled with happiness and possibilities. My recovery is an on-going fight but it is one I will continue. Not just for me. For all of us.