Trigger warning: Disordered eating
It was three months into the pandemic and I found myself imbalanced, anxious, and overwhelmed. There was an exceptional amount of uncertainty in my life. I was furloughed from my job and didn’t know if the world was ever going to get back to “normal” at the rate things were going. I felt like I had lost all control over my life. So, I went to the things that I could control.
I began to fill my days focusing on my well-being. Although, this was becoming anything but healthy. My days were filled with exercise, filming YouTube workout videos, walking throughout the city all day long, and staying busy in any way that I could to feel I hadn’t lost my sense of purpose. Oh, and “forgetting to eat.” Being able to go all day without food became an accomplishment, but most definitely a negative one. I developed a disordered eating worse than ever before—I have previously suffered from disordered eating, but this time around I could not overcome this on my own. It became an unhealthy coping mechanism. If I was feeling anxious, I would cope by controlling my food or my exercise. More and more each day, it spiraled out of control. I thought I had control over my life when really, I was being controlled by my mind.
Ten pounds shed away and I was starting to become depressed, not knowing what to do with myself. After speaking with family and friends, I knew I needed to get help. Being alone in NYC during quarantine, I knew I could not get through this on my own. Being someone who is a yoga instructor and a recreation therapist, I am familiar with being an inspiration or caregiver to others, so this was most definitely not an easy thing for me to do. Despite the discomfort, I took initiative and got help.
I first started out by seeing a holistic nutritionist. She provided me with accountability, encouragement and support like nobody has before. This is exactly what I needed at the time. I also started to attend eating disorder support groups and talk to a therapist. My support team also consisted of my family, boyfriend and close friends. It is crucial to develop a support team during recovery. I am so grateful for every single one of them in this process.
Through this experience, I realized how important accountability is. We may think we can conquer everything on our own, but the truth is, all of us could use help from someone at some point. As my nutritionist says, “Every coach has a coach.” I am now back at work, in recovery, and taking each day as it comes. Every day is a challenge to overcome addiction, anxiety and negative patterns. I have more tools than ever to take with me every day. I intend to use movement only in a healthy way as something I look forward to that reduces stress and promotes body celebration and respect, along with using food to provide me with the energy and proper nourishment to live. All in all, I am grateful for my furlough and this journey of healing that it led me to.
I decided to share this experience because I know that I was not given these challenges to keep quiet about them and I know that I am not alone. If you are noticing your life is becoming imbalanced or you feel you could use some accountability or just someone to talk to, allow yourself to get help. We tend to believe that getting help makes you weak, but it makes you SO strong. We all know it is easy and comfortable to not get help and go on with our ways. It is the discomfort in getting help that demonstrates courage and power. If you have a friend that you think could use help, say something. If you feel you need help, start researching. Life comes with a series of ups and downs that we cannot always face on our own.
I hope that reading this serves and inspires you in some way. There is so much bravery in not relying on your own strength and getting help when you need it. This is a reminder that one of the greatest forms of self-care is in the ability to get help when you need it and hold yourself accountable.