Bare with me I know my story is long but that's what recovery is like. I hope this gives any of you out there struggling with any kind of eating disorder hope :) I grew up a thicker kid. Big cheeks and an appetite that could feed a few. Not a care in the world as I would be so confident at such a young age. My weight had never seemed to bother me up until middle school started. The pressure to be perfect in our society was only increasing due to the new social media apps promoting nothing but false realities. I adhered to the trends: skinny, thin, and a small waist, by starving myself. After losing weight all I could ever hear people talk about when they saw me was how good I looked. My mom was proud of me for losing weight, and I was finally feeling accepted in my small world. No one knew how I lost all the weight but that didn't matter to me. Life went on for a good year and I ended up gaining some good weight back. Looking back at it now I was a perfect weight for my height, but the scale told me differently. I went right back to restricting. Constantly counting calories my obsession with achieving the perfect body only grew more intense. I was checked into a hospital halfway through my 8th-grade year and was told to "just eat". Nothing was taken seriously but for me that was great. I could go back home and starve myself more. All of the rest of the 8th grade just consisted of me struggling in the dark. The start of my freshman year was all so fast. I had a boyfriend who broke my heart and toxic friends my parents had recently divorced and I found out my mom had cheated on my dad. This ended up making my anorexia worse because all I wanted to feel was like I was in control of at least one aspect of my life and that was my disordered eating. The end of freshman year rolled around and I was still struggling but I knew I needed help. My parents got me a therapist and she enrolled me into an eating disorder program. The one thing that sucked for me at the time was that this program was going to be all summer and maybe even cover a bit of the next school year (meaning I would have to miss some school to attend the program). Monday- Friday from 11 am to 6 pm. There went my summer. Deep down inside my ignorant mind, I knew I needed the help though so I tried to work on getting better. I would say the one thing that has helped me become stronger than my ED's thoughts were holding onto the hope that I would finally be relieved from the constant thought of starvation. I graduated from my program excited for a new beginning but nervous about the road ahead. Fast forward to my junior year and all I can say is I've never been this content with myself. Its taken over 3 years to even feel like I've even made a dent in my recovery but it was worth the wait. If I'm going to be completely honest smoking weed helped me a lot with battling my ED's thoughts. I conquered a lot of food fears and realized that food is my friend and its SOOOO GOOD. I no longer starve myself and I am proud of myself for realizing the importance of fueling my body with yummy food. I have pushed myself through the times when I have felt fat, and I even cry sometimes because the journey is hard. I look back to my time in the hospital and program and realize that the road to recovery is paved with suffering, and to anyone else who is struggling reading this I want you to know that life is too short and far too precious to not give happiness a shot, even if it’s a shot in the dark.