Editor’s Note: This was a comment on one of our blog posts; since it was already intended to be viewed by the public on our website, it was adapted as its own blog post.
I am 31 years old and have been suffering with anorexia since I was seven. Reading Dr. Gaudiani‘s article about terminal anorexia nervosa was profoundly difficult for me, as I technically meet criteria for terminal AN. If I stopped eating entirely, I would probably pass away within a few months…if not a few weeks. This disorder has ravaged my body.
Moreover, I have faced very intense bouts of depression over the years and have attempted to take my life a couple of times. And yet, after years of therapy (multiple levels of care), the right cocktail of psychiatric medications, support from providers who refused to give up on me, and a lot of hard work on my end, the suicidal ideation I faced for so long finally lifted… this was only a year ago. Had I read this article a few months prior to this breakthrough, I might have been attracted to the idea of obtaining MAID (medical aid in dying). Dr. Gaudiani probably would not have questioned it, had she been overseeing my care. This scares me; my will to live is incredibly strong now.
I believe that profound change is possible, as I am living it.
I am also enduring pretty significant physical suffering as a result of decades of illness. It is difficult to envision life as a “recovered” person, as my brain was literally wired with this illness.
I wish I had some sort of answer here. I only have these reflections. Eating disorders are clearly wrought with complexity. All I know is that I am grateful to wake up every day given what I have been through. And I never imagined myself being in this place. I am on the verge of losing yet another friend of mine to an eating disorder and I wish I could bring him along with me on the path to recovery. I wish I knew how.
All I know is that I am not going to give up, and I never thought that I would be the sort of person to speak those words.
I’d also like to say that my heart goes out to all of the parents who have lost children. It’s unfathomable heartbreak. I have seen it among the relatives of dear friends. Unfortunately, I do not have much of a relationship with my biological family members. Much of my eating disorder is rooted in complex/developmental trauma. Still, my will to live is stronger than ever.
The fact that I’m still alive gives me a sense of purpose. I can’t help but think that if it is possible for me, it is possible for others too.