I always thought I was alone. Or that no one could understand. Or that no one would care. I thought that I was doomed to sit alone in my excruciating pain because I wasn’t worth anything more than that. I didn’t deserve happiness, or even contentment, I deserved the pain I was in.
Over the years my coping methods have varied. I often blame my body for its brokenness; so the pain has been played out on it. Unable to open up to anyone about the intense pain I was in, I tried to find ways to cope.
My body is not perfect, that may be true. After years of being in physical pain, at the age of 18 I was diagnosed with Femoral Acetabular Impingment (FAI) a birth defect which can cause labral tears and a slew of other complications. I have since had three hip surgeries and been diagnosed with chronic pain. I so often feel betrayed by my body. I have clear things to point to where I can say, “See? I’m broken, flawed. My body isn’t worth it; I’m not worth it”.
I used those moments as excuses; excuses to self-destruct. My injuries led to years long battles with an eating disorder, self-harm, and depression. I tried every way imaginable to punish my body for its perceived betrayal. I couldn’t accept that even if it was flawed, it deserved care and nourishment. I didn’t yet believe that my body and I were worth it.
It has taken a lot to work on radically accepting my body, radically accepting that yes, my body is flawed but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be treated with respect and care. Radical acceptance of your body can be the most difficult thing on the planet, it’s also not something you only do once. In recovery from an eating disorder you often have to radically accept your body, and the care it requires, each day. You have to accept that you cannot use food, or lack of nutrition thereof, to punish your body. You cannot let any perceived, or legitimate flaws or injuries, as an excuse to inflict pain.
It will be hard to accept, but it’s true. You’re body isn’t perfect and that’s okay. You are perfectly imperfect just as you are. You are enough just as you are. Your body deserves love and respect and care no matter what. You are beautiful and so worthy of self-love.
When you’re swallowed by pain, look around and reach out. Don’t stay silent. You’re not alone even though in the darkest moments of your pain it feels as you are. There are so many people who struggle similarly to you; reach out and do not be afraid to give voice to your pain and struggle.
Eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, depression: they all thrive in darkness. Seek light and be light to diminish and expose them.