After Anorexia: Life’s Too Short to Weigh Your Cornflakes by Catherine Pawley (Transcript)

Why would being three stone heavier make my life any better, make my life worth anything? So, I stayed ill. Safe Away from reality, and away from harm. I was numb, and I liked that. It meant I didn’t have to deal with how much of a failure I felt.

Recovery was just too risky. Recovery would mean finally letting go of anorexia; letting go of my rules, letting go of my identity. If I recovered, who would I become? What could I amount to? Recovery isn’t just about wanting it enough: you can want it more than anything in the world. You can have so many reasons to recover, but you just can’t do it. It is the most terrifying concept imaginable.

It means letting go of control and leaving your comfort zone. Of course, we are all guilty of having rules and staying in our comfort zone. Given long enough, we find comfort in our suffering. We stay in the same job we hate. We drag out a dysfunctional relationship.

I starved myself for days on end, understanding the consequences but so afraid to change. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that it happened, but after countless therapy sessions, a lot of soul searching, and restoring some of my weight, I began to properly engage with my treatment. I began to believe there was a tiny chance my life could be better with recovery. Yes, it would bring scary decisions, but it would also bring a world of opportunity.

It was only then when I believed that the risk was worth it, I believed I had a chance; a chance at university; a chance at love; but most of all, a chance at life.

For me, the path to recovery involved ripping up my rule book. The rule book that governed my every move. The rules that made me feel safe; made me feel in control; that caused my weight to plummet, my hair to fall out, and my bones to thin. The rules that were slowly killing me – I had to break these rules, one by one. It is impossible to recover from anorexia and keep your rules.

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You have to leave your comfort zone. You have to rip up your rule book. Anorexia gave me that reality check: I can’t always be comfortable, I can’t always have control, and there is no rule book for life. Recovery has brought me so many things. It has brought me university, it has brought me love, and it has brought me life.

I want to reach out to anyone suffering and say to please accept help. Without the service in Leicester, and the support of my friends and family, I would not be here today. I want you to believe me when I say that you are worth recovery, you are worth a life, and you are good enough.

The one overwhelming thing that recovery has brought me is me. I have got myself back. And, as it turns out, life is way too short to weigh your cornflakes.

Thank you.

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