Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of anorexia and eating disorders.
When you wake up in the morning, find one thing to be proud of yourself for. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe you slept for a decent amount of time last night, or maybe you drank a glass of water and opened your curtains. You deserve to have pride in yourself, and there is always something to be proud of. You are fighting demons in your brain every day; that’s not an easy task.
Once this becomes routine and easier to do, you might start to notice the little things in your daily life. This may seem small now, but months or years ago, it would have been unthinkable. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come! That is progress! All the work you have put in to be able to be where you are today was not easy, so well done, give yourself a pat on the back. You are courageous. The resilience you show when facing your internal battles is admirable. I am proud of you, and you deserve to be proud of yourself.
The reason I’m writing this is that it’s something that has truly changed the way I see myself. I used to find it so easy to feel down about the things I did as they seemed so small or unremarkable compared to what everyone around me was doing. However, when I realised that, in the years I was sick and focussing on surviving, they were growing and learning.
The other day, mum said we would make pizzas for dinner. I didn’t argue or try to protest. I could feel her watching, judging my reaction. I could also see her relief when I smiled and said, “yay, that will be fun.” It was then that I realised my eating disorder is still with me and I still feel it but it no longer dictates what I do or say.
I was nervous, anorexia was still there, but now I am stronger and I can fight it. I was full of pride about five minutes after that conversation, when I realised that six months ago, making pizzas would have been a feat and a half. But now, I can do it, smiling, laughing and enjoying myself.
Making and eating pizza happily is not a hard task for most people. But for years it would have been near impossible for me to do, so much so that we didn’t even try. For me, this is progress, growth and courage. Hard work paid off, and I deserve to be proud of myself for making the pizza.
And you do, too, no matter what your achievement is.
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