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I started having eating disorder symptoms when I was 13. I was a competitive gymnast and the environment was a main cause of these symptoms. Also, the fact that my body started to change and develop made me pay closer attention to what I was eating.  I think that another one of the causes of my eating disorder was genetics. My mom struggled with an eating disorder as well.

 

I was in residential treatment for a month, partial hospitalization for a week, intensive outpatient for 3 months, and saw a therapist for about 2 years. This was all extremely helpful. Residential saved my life. Intensive outpatient wasn’t as helpful towards the end; however, therapy was extremely helpful as I formed such a strong connection with my therapist.

 

Positive self-talk helps me cope. Telling myself that living my life is far more important than the number on my scale is a huge thing for me. Not caring about how clean I eat and just accepting myself for who am I.  Other ways that I cope is to write about my journey and my struggles in hopes that my experiences can help others. I write a blog and share how I overcame this disease, how I overcome daily struggles, and touch on my day-to-day life. Writing has helped me tremendously throughout my recovery.

 

Being open with my struggle and my battle with this illness is very important to me. I am not afraid to talk about my past and how I battled anorexia. Being open with mental health is something our society needs to work on. I hope by sharing my story I can help others; and I believe that by struggling with an eating disorder has led me on the path to major in psychology and hopefully one day become a clinical psychologist for those with eating disorders and depression.

Copyright 2016 © Colleen Mann.   All content can only be used with permission from the artist.