If you read Part I of my recovery story earlier this week, you might have been hoping for a happy ending. So was I. After all, the past was finally behind me! I had a new start and a new life! Everything had to be amazing, right? Sure the worst of it seemed to be over, but in many ways the hardest part had just begun. I had to learn how to live again.
NOTHING is easy about transitioning from nearly 70 lbs. to a normal, healthy weight.
Even after slowly putting on some weight at Renfrew, at five-foot-two and twenty years old I may have been medically stable enough to stay out of the hospital, but I certainly was not back to a safe or healthy BMI– and I looked it. I had a lot more to put back on–safely and slowly–without shocking my system in the process (it took a lot to take the weight off, so you can imagine it would take a decent amount of time to do the reverse). Even during recovery, re-feeding was still a top priority.
Many healthy people might have the idea that the whole re-feeding process would be fun– a piece of cake even (pun not intended). I can’t tell you how many times someone told me I was “SO lucky!” because “You can eat whatever you want and not have to worry about it!” All I had to do was eat triple portions of cookies, cakes, and ice cream sundaes and BAM! Easy recipe for weight gain.
Let me be the FIRST person to tell you this is the LAST thing you want to say to someone recovering from an eating disorder. The mere action of being able to eat three well-rounded, nutritious meals a day with a couple of snacks thrown in between is a MAJOR feat in itself– even for those who are committed to recovery. The relationship with food during early recovery is extremely fragile, and while developing a normal relationship with different types of food does happen, it takes time. But this post is not going to be about what to say and what not to say to someone recovering from an eating disorder (though I would be more than happy to share my insight if you would like more help with this touchy topic– you can email me here). It’s about the desire for normalcy and the internal struggles I faced to bring myself closer to achieving this state of being.
So. What is “NORMAL” anyway?
Well, I don’t think it exists.
When it comes to poor body image in this media-driven society, I’d argue that most women in our country are dissatisfied or have a negative connection to some part of their body. In an age of calorie-counting, juice cleanses, extreme exercise, and crazy fad diets, one could argue that every person who fixates on their body, exercises every day, and painstakingly dissects nutrition labels has some degree of distorted eating or distorted body image. Perhaps this”normal” mindset is what kept my unhealthy behaviors hidden for so long (even during recovery)– or at least that’s how how I justified them to myself and to those around me. After all, this whole “fat-talk” thing was just another normal conversation for women my age. But before we go down that road, allow me to take you back to those first few months back at school during the early stages of my recovery…
As soon as I was accepted to RWU and submitted all the appropriate documents that went along with it, I was told I had to come to campus to discuss my medical history. Since I was recovering from anorexia, and because I was still severely underweight, I had to sign some pretty harsh paperwork in the event that something happened to me. Obviously the college did not want to be held accountable for a medical emergency, or worse, the death of a student with a mental illness (anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness, and for the record, many universities have contractual policies like this in place–it’s pretty standard). A contract was required namely because the health issues that often transpire with anorexia go far beyond the external concerns (i.e. loss of body fat and overall size). Internally, serious bone, muscle, tissue, blood, and organ/reproductive organ damage also occurs and will only get worse if starvation continues. The heart (a muscle) becomes weak and shrinks, as does the brain’s gray matter. Bone loss and osteoporosis begins to set in after just 6 months. White blood cell count decreases, leaving the patient susceptible to other illnesses. Patients also often suffer from bradycardia (a dangerously slow resting heart beat) which I had been monitored for while inpatient. Reproductive organs shut down, and the digestive system frequently faces structural and chemical damage. And then there are the mental hurdles to battle — depression, anxiety, self-harm, risk of suicide (etc…). These are just a few of the risks on the line.
As a compromise for being allowed to attend school, I was told that I would have to regularly weigh in with a nurse at the campus health center and hit weight gain goals week to week for an extended period of time. I also had to drive to a hospital in Providence and regularly check-in with my doctor there. I was supposed to be seeing a therapist too, but this was the appointment I often found an easy excuse to avoid (I never allowed myself to really connect to a therapist during this whole ordeal. Looking back now, the lack of therapy I had is probably one of my biggest regrets).
The penalty if I lost weight, ended up in the hospital, or didn’t hit those goals?
Nonetheless, I signed away. This was my reason to get well and forge ahead– it was out of my hands. Talk about PRESSURE.
And that was that. My doctor and I had a strict meal plan in place and I was ready to follow it. This required me to drink copious amounts of high calorie nutritional shakes in addition to my meals and snacks. You can imagine how out of place that looked in a college girl’s fridge– this was NO Slimfast people. While everyone else was stumbling back from parties or having one last beer, I was cracking open a nice cold bottle of Ensure Plus before bed.
In the beginning the hardest part was definitely getting all my meals in. When you’re running to class, work, meetings, and the library, or simply just catching up with friends, the LAST thing you want to do is be bound to a meal schedule like an infant. No one else had to structure their entire day around very specific meal hours like me– it was daunting and too stressful (and embarrassing) to explain. The constant fuel was necessary however, especially since I was more mobile than ever before and burned ridiculous amounts of calories just by walking around campus everyday. Needless to say, spontaneity wasn’t in my future for a while.
The reason those in recovery need to eat SO MANY calories doesn’t just have to do with the need to gain weight– it has to do with a phenomenon known as hypermetabolism. During weight restoration, those suffering from anorexia require increasingly more calories to maintain the same rate of weight gain. Regaining lost body composition (fat, tissue, muscle) and healing organs (shrunken heart, damaged digestive system etc…) takes lots and LOTS of nutrients. This means calorie intake has to be increased — often daily–depending upon each individual case. This also ensures weight gain is actually happening and a suddenly SUPER stimulated metabolism isn’t causing weight loss (this is very common and happened to me almost every time I was admitted into the hospital). I’m talking needing to eat anywhere from 5,350-9,750 extra calories on top of a highly caloric meal plan to gain just 1 kilo, or 2.2lbs (obviously research and patient needs vary on a case by case basis). This is exactly why a person suffering from an eating disorder can’t all of a sudden just start eating whatever they want. Meal plans and check-in’s with a nutritionist are extremely important or Refeeding Sydrome (which can cause confusion, delirium, convulsions, muscle weakness and in some cases, cardiac failure) is a real risk.
At times I was afraid the pressure of classes, eating, schoolwork, eating, studying, eating, doctor appointments, eating, socializing, —-and yes– more eating, would be too much for me to take…and oftentimes, it was. But the fear of FAILING and being expelled from school was scarier and event more daunting than anything else. Besides, I finally had a taste of freedom. I was making friends, I was doing well academically, and I was having FUN. I finally had something worth living for again.
For the FIRST TIME in a long, long time…I felt like MYSELF.
As time went on, I continued to improve and passed my doctor visits with flying colors. Once I finally got myself up to a (yes, still low) but healthy BMI, I no longer needed to check-in with the campus nurse, and I felt like that was my final step to becoming your average college student. So with this exciting news in mind, I stopped going back to hospital for check-ins, and threw the whole therapy idea out the window. As an almost 21-year-old woman, I was an adult by law and knew no one would be calling to check up on me. I was so looking forward to sitting back and enjoying my new-found freedom. No more lies to friends about being in the the library when I was really at the doctor. No more poking and prodding of needles and blood-work. No more chalky Ensure drinks. No more weight checks to worry myself sick over. FINALLY.
But THEN my body betrayed me…and everything changed.
Hypermetabolism generally lasts anywhere from three to six months during weight restoration. After this time period, your body finally normalizes and starts to find it’s natural “set point”– the weight that your body is most happy and healthy functioning at. Inside, I was still petrified of being a “normal” weight and I would incessantly ask if my body would all of a sudden not be able to STOP gaining weight (this is something every doctor, nurse, and medical professional assured me over and over again would not happen). After the school nurse and my medical team back home deemed me a sufficient weight for maintenance (my “set” point), I was put on a weight maintenance meal plan and wouldn’t have to be back for a check-in for a few months.Things were going well for a while and I was feeling comfortable– then all of a sudden, my worst fears came true. My body started putting on weight at a rapid pace.
Think about your biggest fear in life, and then imagine yourself stuck living it every single day. For someone suffering from an eating disorder, that’s exactly what this was. In just a few short weeks I couldn’t fit into most of my clothes– it was as if it happened overnight. I was suddenly at the highest weight of my LIFE and I didn’t know why. I was doing exactly what I had been told to do and I couldn’t understand what was happening to my body–I felt out of control without actually having been out of control. I was scared, I was embarrassed, and I was ANGRY. I started doubting recovery. I HATED MYSELF.
No one had told me about this.
Was I the exception?
Was my body broken?
Was it ME??
It’s safe to say, I went into TOTAL PANIC MODE. I needed to fix this, and I wanted to fix this by myself– at this point, I didn’t trust anyone else. I was too mortified and angry to go to the doctor and I didn’t think they would understand if I did. In my mind, this was exactly what they wanted– according to “irrational Ashley” they wanted to fatten me up anyways! Then one night at our apartment, a drunk acquaintance (who at first didn’t recognize my bloated appearance) came up to me and started shaking a big box of raisins in my face– he mocked me, laughing, began throwing them at me, and kept asking if I was hungry. I looked past him– ignored it and held back tears while my roommates told him to be quiet. To this day, I thank God for giving me the strength to not attack him–because every bone in my body wanted to destroy him, not just for me, but for EVERY other person recovering from an eating disorder out there. One thing’s for sure…he better thank his lucky stars I never saw him again.
I never mentioned that painful incident or disclosed my internal struggle to my friends, or family– I didn’t express dissatisfaction with my body to anyone. I didn’t want a single soul to know how humiliated I felt. So, I put on a happy face and got to work on my own– the dangerous way. I felt comfort in knowing that, once again, I’d be in complete control of my own body.
Up until this point, I was still on doctor ordered exercise restriction (exercise was something I abused when I was sick) but on that day, the whole exercise rule went out the window–and FAR. I cut wayyyy back on calories (but still ate just enough– I wasn’t about to go down the starvation road ever again namely because I couldn’t focus on schoolwork or class when I was starving), I started hitting the gym for hours at a time, and when that wasn’t getting me anywhere fast enough I added diet pills into the mix. If you name it, I tried it. I would use my grocery money on bottles of anything I could get my hands on. They made me feel jittery, and sick. Sometimes my heart would race so fast I’d throw up or pass out. My hair –which had finally begun to grow back after falling out in chunks earlier that year– started to thin and shed again. Sometimes my stomach hurt so bad I was convinced it was bleeding inside of me, but I didn’t care. I’d take over 15 diet pills a day. I was in deep.
The scariest part of all, was that it was working– and people took notice. Friends and random classmates, even a professor, commented on how amazing and thin I looked. I started losing weight and got back to a comfortable number on the scale, but now I had a different problem– I was hooked on expensive, diet pills and an insanely neurotic exercise regimen. Though I was still eating enough to get by (only Ashley-approved, healthy items), I was still taking in much, much less than I should have been. My plan was giving me what I wanted, so I didn’t see anything wrong with it–or at least that was how I convinced myself it was okay. Plus, I was feeling confident and HAPPY again–or so I thought (for me, happy and skinny were essentially synonyms). As long as I wasn’t out of diet pills and as long as I could fit the gym into my school schedule, I felt at peace– I was in control– again.
Don’t get me wrong, my last few years of college were amazing–I found my best friends and created memories to last a lifetime. I was secretly engaging in risky behaviors, but I was still functional–a far cry from the throes of my eating disorder. Though it certainly was not right (and I do not condone this) I think this is why I allowed it to go on for so long. Oftentimes, however, I think about what it would have been like to just curl up on the couch with my roommates on a weekend morning and not scamper off the gym for hours on end. I wonder what it would have felt like to just wake up on a Saturday, go to brunch with friends, and NOT thinking about starving for the whole day so I could have a drink at the party later on (hangover food has NEVER been in my vocabulary). If had that much fun at school while I was battling all of these negative thoughts and secrets, imagine how amazing it would have been if I wasn’t. Regardless, I kept all of my feelings and disordered thoughts inside. I knew if I lost more weight and explained how I really felt, people would think something was wrong– they’d tell someone. If I was caught, I feared they’d take away my control again. So instead, my behaviors were disguised as extreme self discipline. I remembered how trapped and miserable I felt while in the throes of anorexia, and this? This was NOTHING– it was manageable. I was just another normal, body conscious college girl.
This cycle went on for years–well after graduation.
To most people I was just super disciplined. My body weight was seemingly healthy, so I had to be healthy too, right? Then my boyfriend (who I met in college and continues to be my rock through this whole process) found my stash of diet pills– I was caught. We had just moved in together (four years ago) and I was still hiding my unhealthy habit. He was shocked, and saddened by this discovery because at this point he knew about my past struggles. I knew things had to change. That day, I stopped taking diet pills cold turkey.
I was living the city life and was working full time. After long days in the office and equally long nights spent at the gym I didn’t have much time for anything else. The fact that I wasn’t on diet pills anymore only made my workout regimens longer, harder– upwards of 21 hours a week. I felt such a disconnect from my own body and I feared what it would do next– in my mind my body was a stranger that couldn’t be trusted. The long days left me exhausted and unhappy, and I knew something still had to change…but how?
I decided my first step would be to see a nutritionist– one of the BEST in the Boston area. She specializes in eating disorders and is an all-around rock star of a lady (if you want her contact info, please shoot me an email). She helped me to see that my eating habits were still quite rigid– limited carbohydrates and fats, no real well-balanced meals– essentially I was just grazing in small amounts throughout the day. Given the amount of time I spent exercising and burning fuel, I wasn’t taking in HALF of what I should have been. She administered a basic metabolic test, which measures your basic metabolic rate, and came to the alarming discovery that my metabolic rate had slowed significantly. I don’t know why I was shocked– it was obviously a no brainer. In order to MAINTAIN my current weight, I needed to consume just 1,020 calories a day. My body was in a state of shock– it was slowing itself down and holding onto every single nutrient it came in contact with because I wasn’t feeding it enough.
The cure for a slow metabolism I was told?
EAT MORE. EXERCISE LESS.
Easier said than done.
I wanted to believe this was true. I wanted to free myself from this exhausting cycle. So, (slowly) I made improvements with my eating– but the exercising was way too tough to cut. As time went on, I stopped seeing my nutritionist. It became too difficult to manage with my work schedule, and honestly, I don’t think I was ready to tackle my exercise problem. I wanted to give it up on my own terms.
Exercise for me is a double-edged sword. Being able to challenge my body and push it to the limit gives me a high that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Feeling strong and being able to carry my body on long runs or for hours in the gym reminded me of how far I had come. At the height of my eating disorder, I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs. Now I was running 10 miles for fun. So how could something that made me feel so strong, be so bad for me? When it becomes impossible to live without– THAT’S WHEN.
And that’s exactly what exercise was. I refused to admit it but exercise dictated my entire life– when I would see friends and family, when I could eat, when I would go on vacation, when I would wake up, when I would go to bed, when my boyfriend and I would have date night. If I was forced to miss one of my exercise sessions (I would exercise at least twice a day, sometimes three if I could workout during my lunch break) I would go into complete panic mode. I would become irritable, moody, and completely irrational. I was great at keeping these feelings mostly on the inside, but those closest to me certainly got the brunt of it (sorry boyfriend, sorry Mom ). I would never disclose my reason for the bad mood– blaming it on work, or stress, or the dishes in the sink– anything but exercise . I knew saying it out loud would sound just as silly as my behavior. But could I change?
I’ve always been a “gimme the facts” kinda girl.
I like to know A + B = C
I need to see the proof.
I suppose this is why I love reading and researching– especially anything health and fitness related (deep down rational Ashley always knew irrational Ashley needed a reason to change). So, that’s exactly what I did. And you know what I discovered? Every fact and figure that I didn’t want to admit to myself, but knew deep down was true. For example– too much cardio can actually cause you to gain weight and hinder or undo any athletic progress you’ve made. If you eat too little your metabolism will go into starvation mode, causing it to slow down and store fat. The list goes on. I may not have been suffering from anorexia anymore in the traditional sense, but I was certainly battling it’s repercussions.Thankfully I was healthy enough to know that starving myself again was not the answer (I never EVER wanted to repeat that dark road, and I won’t), but was still obsessed with trying to control my body out of fear that it would betray me again. Exercise was something I loved, and yes, exercise is wonderful and amazing and healthy for you– but even too much of a good thing can be bad.
When I started this blog a few years ago, two major shifts had taken place in my mind.
First and foremost, as a side result of my research and as a commitment to my new-found health, I decided to go vegan and follow a plant-based lifestyle. Secondly, I decided I was too damn tired of coming across as perfectly happy on the outside, while still battling negative (and often crippling and socially isolating) thoughts on the inside. On the outside, I was putting on a face of the woman I longed to be– healthy, fit, and confident in my own skin, but this persona did not match how I felt at my absolute core. The inner turmoil I felt from this discrepancy was real. Still, I suddenly became the “go-to girl” for health, fitness, and wellness tips at work, among friends, family, and random acquaintances — even people I didn’t know at all. I became a spin instructor and challenged my students to find their inner strength, listen to their body, believe anything was possible, and push themselves outside of their comfort zone. I also decided to pursue my NASM Personal Trainer Certification and really take my coaching abilities to the next level. I’d receive countless emails, Facebook messages, texts — you name it– and here I was, dishing out advice, citing research articles, and motivating these people to take control of their lives, commit to their wellness goals, and do so in a truly safe and healthy way. But the problem? I wasn’t applying enough– if any– of this advice to myself, even though I knew it to be true. I still considered myself the exception to the rules.
I felt like a sham.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
How could I help others to change their lives and still be the healthy person I aspired to be if I wasn’t willing to apply my own principles to myself?
I desperately wanted to be at peace with my body and mind and nurture both accordingly. I wanted to set an example. The first order of business? FINALLY Tackling the monster that was taking the front seat in my life.
Up until January 2015, my typical exercise regimen looked like this:
- Monday AM-- 15 min. stairclimber warm-up, 60 min. spin class, 30 min. stairclimber, 15 min. stationary bike
- Monday PM — 4 mile run at lunch and/or hour of cardio at the gym (after work), 30 min. free weights/abs
- Tuesday AM- 45 min. stairclimber, 15 min. stationary bike, 45 min. spin class, 15 min. abs
- Tuesday PM- 4 mile run at lunch and/or 60 min. cardio at gym (after work), 30 min. free weights/abs
- Wednesday AM– 15 min. stairclimber warm-up, 60 min. spin, 30 min. stairclimber, 15 min. stationary bike
- Wednesday PM — 4 mile run at lunch and/or hour of cardio at the gym (after work), 30 min. free weights/abs
- Thursday AM – 45 min. stairclimber, 15 min. stationary bike, 45 min. spin class, 15 min. abs
- Thursday PM- 4 mile run at lunch and/or 60 min. cardio at gym (after work), 30 min. weights/abs
- Friday AM – 15 min. stairclimber warm-up, 60 min. spin class, hour of cardio
- Friday PM – 4 mile run at lunch and/or 60 min. cardio at the gym (after work), 30 min. weights/abs
- Saturday: 45 min. spin class, 45 min. cardio or Body Pump, 30 min. free weights/abs
- Sunday: 45 min. spin class, 30 min. cardio, 30 min. free weights/abs
Seeing this written out looks insane, and that’s exactly how I started to feel. By 2014, I literally had ZERO time for myself–or anyone I cared about. I worked out hard to change my body, to make it look the way I wanted so I could finally live the life I wanted. Yet even after years of this crazy exercise regimen, literally NOTHING had changed on the outside. My body was trying to tell me something. THIS WAS NOT SUSTAINABLE. THIS WAS NO WAY TO LIVE. Then one day I started to think about having a family someday, and how I would balance motherhood with this crazy schedule (or if I would even be able to have children– I hadn’t had a period for almost 4 years). I started to think about moving — and what I would do if the gym wasn’t 2 minutes away from my home. I started to think about marriage, and what kind of wife I would be if I spent more time on exercising than building a life with my husband. I started to think about spinning and personal training, and what kind of example I would be setting for my students and clients if I was abusing exercise myself. I was tired. I was scared. But something had to change– I couldn’t do this anymore. I was finally ready.
Suddenly, the holiday season was here and while everyone else was baking cookies, attending holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and relaxing with their loved ones, all I could think about was when I’d get in my next workout (on this schedule above, I essentially never went 12 hours without working out). I had also just started studying for the NASM-CPT exam and the deeper I got into the textbook, the more I began to realize just how skewed my views on exercise were– the facts were there. This month was a time to be happy and for the past eight Christmases, I’d felt too distracted by my body to truly enjoy the season. So, I decided to challenge myself with an experiment–and knew I couldn’t do it alone. I had to take a leap of faith and put myself in someone else’s hands. That’s when I contacted Hannah, a personal trainer at my gym.
Hannah took one look at my gym schedule and immediately chopped it down. She was ready to completely alter my gym routine, give me back precious time, and introduce me to a whole new way of working out (sounds too good to be true, right?).
Her one condition?
I had to commit to the new routine and TRUST her completely.
With my old routine, my endocrine system was out of whack, my cortisol levels were though the roof, and my body was at a standstill because of it. Fixing this meant no more double or triple sessions at the gym PLUS one day off. I NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK. I could count the number of times I had taken a day off from working out this past year on ONE HAND– and it was never a choice of my own. We’re talking Arctic blasts, blizzards, tornado warnings, severe weather, and other emergencies (etc…)– these are the only reasons I’d miss a workout. Though a bit hesitant at first, deep down I trusted her. After all, what more did I have to lose?
As time went on Hannah continued to chop down my cardio regimen, sent me some interesting articles to help ease my fact-driven mind, and incorporated more strength training into my workouts. I have to admit, I was surprised by how sore I felt after our sessions (one hour on Tuesdays, and 30 minutes on Thursdays). Her routines were challenging, and the pain was a reminder that I was working hard and getting stronger (hmmm, maybe she was onto something after all I mused…). As time went on, I began to actually enjoy my Sunday rest days and free evenings. My exercise routine had gone from 21+ hours a week to right around six. This left me plenty of time to study for my NASM exam, plan my spin classes for the week, run errands, write, and even grab a lazy brunch with my boyfriend on the weekends. I could get used to this kind of productivity!
Now, don’t get me wrong…each day is still a bit of a challenge, but it is getting progressively easier. I’m a girl who likes to see results and I like to see them FAST, but I know change is gradual and patience is the key– especially since I’m breaking such an ingrained habit.
So what results have I noticed so far?
I’m about six weeks into this new workout schedule and the biggest change I’ve noticed is my mood, which has improved SIGNIFICANTLY. I’m sure more time for rest, relaxation, and finding time to do the things I love (like writing!) has helped. I am also getting STRONGER. In these past few weeks I’ve noticed my back muscles and arm muscles are starting to show, my glutes and obliques are firmer, and I’ve been able to increase the amount of weight I use for certain exercises each week (oh yea…and I can squat, bench, dead-lift, and clean ). I’m also better able to execute exercises that were once way too hard and attempt more challenging variations– proof that neuromuscular connections are being made and actual muscular changes will soon follow.
I certainly don’t expect my life to ever be exactly the same as it was before my eating disorder. Sure, I still wonder what it would be like to wake up one morning and have ZERO burdening thoughts about food, exercise, or my body even though I know I must have had many mornings and days like this growing up (in fact, I can’t remember a lot of details and memories prior to my illness– especially those from UMASS where it all began. I’ve been told this is a side effect of anorexia). Yet, at the same time, I’m okay with this. I’m actually grateful for my experiences– it has helped to shape me into the woman I am today and it’s helping me to shape my dreams and goals for tomorrow.
So, what are my goals?
Right now, I have about six more weeks of personal training with Hannah to go and I can’t wait to see where they take me. For the first time in a long, long time, I have hope. A healthy relationship with exercise is the final piece of the puzzle for me, and a major step in my LONG journey through recovery. Some days are still hard but I know I will get through them, and when I do, I can’t wait to meet another woman just like me so I can tell her my story and prove to her that there is a way out.
I’ve never felt so close to optimal health before, but more importantly, I’ve never felt so true to my heart. My disordered mind and my inner soul are no longer at war– this is the REAL me…and I think I like her . The pain of an eating disorder doesn’t end just because your treatment does, and frankly I don’t believe there is enough information out there that addresses this part of the battle. Recovery requires constantly checking in with yourself, an most importantly, BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF. I never want anyone to experience what I have, and when I hear about little girls developing poor body image at such a young age, my heart breaks for them. My personal mission in life is to share my story and hopefully make a difference out there for someone who has struggled or is struggling with an eating disorder, negative body image, or wants to improve their overall health and wellness in general. I’m far from perfect and I’ve made my mistakes, and while it was a bumpy ride I know I’m stronger because of it. We all have our demons, but the biggest demon of all is giving up on YOU. If I can get one point across in this very long article, it’s this:
No matter what you’re struggling with, don’t give up.
YOU ARE WORTH IT.
After all– you’re stronger than you think you are.