'To free myself from my eating disorder, I stopped almost all exercise. That’s when my healing t

'My name is Anna. I was 12 years old when I started dieting intentionally. At age of 13 I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. Now, at age of 26, I’m recovered.

I grew up in an environment that was filled with the conventions of diet culture. When I realized how disordered these ideologies were, and how they had affected me for my whole life, I just suddenly “had enough”. That was the starting point of my final attempt to recover.

My eating disorder affected me in many ways: it isolated me from my family and friends. My development and hormonal functions became unbalanced. I had heart rate and blood pressure problems, and I developed osteopenia. My cognitional functions also deteriorated, and because I binged and purged for almost 10 years, my teeth and body became damaged.

I had tried recover from Anorexia for over 13 years. Previous recovery trials amounted to phases where I was supposedly capable of “taking care of myself”, but I was never fully recovered. I’ve been an inpatient several times, including an episode at a psychiatric ward where I was under 100% surveillance (a nurse was with me 24/7). There were times when my treatment ended because I was considered “recovered enough”, even though my need for binge and purge didn’t come to an end until I was 24 years old, and menstruation began naturally at the age of 26.

The hardest thing to overcome during the past two-three years was my compulsive need for exercising. It was my eating disorder's way of keeping me “in control”. So, to free myself from my eating disorder, I stopped almost all exercise. That’s when my healing truly began. I’m currently seeing a physiotherapist and a psychologist, and using antidepressants. Cleaning my social media feed from everything that affected my diet/mental health has also been helpful in my recovery journey. I started following “ed warriors” on Instagram and got peer support from them, and when I was on a safe ground with myself, I created my own recovery blog on Instagram too.

Choosing recovery has been my best decision. After 14 years at war with an eating disorder, I’m finally living.'

Author credit: Anna Penttila