Finding Strength Within Myself: Lauren's Recovery Story
This two-part article was written exclusively for EatingDisordersOnline.com by Lauren Cowne, an eating disorder recovery coach, mentor and healer who created an Ecourse and blogs about her experiences. Lauren shares how she struggled to recover but eventually beat her eating disorder by looking inside herself.
When I was in my eating disorder, I felt bad. I felt fat, disgusting, unworthy, shameful and guilty. I was full of fear and anxiety.
I felt out of control, powerless to stop it and trapped within the vicious eating disorder cycle with no way out. I didn’t want to share what I was going through with anyone because I felt like I was alone and no one understood. I felt broken and the only thing to comfort me was my eating disorder. I was spiraling down into a deadly combination of binging, purging, restricting my food, over exercising, abusing diet pills and doing drugs to numb my pain.
Why was I in so much pain? Why did I hate myself and treat myself so bad? I honestly felt like I was a bad person and that there was something wrong with me. Everything I was doing in my life was to try to fill the void – the bottomless pit within me that was never satisfied. I was chasing the high that came from fleeting pleasures that gave me a sense of control but never really satisfied me from within. I was never fulfilled.
From Bad to Worse
I kept chasing that number on the scale. Down it went and along with it went the last shreds of my self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth. After having a few scares and realizing that I was going to die if I kept going, I admitted myself to an inpatient treatment center. Over the course of two years, I spent many months in and out of the hospital being treated for anorexia, bulimia, PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and drug addiction. I saw minor improvements but I always came out worse than before.
I finally realized that no one else could fix me and that if I truly wanted to change my life I would have to do it myself. I didn’t believe that I had an incurable ‘disease’ and that I would have to ‘struggle’ and ‘suffer’ with it the rest of my life. I knew in my heart that it could be different and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life simply ‘managing’ my symptoms! I chose to leave the in-patient facility that day while the program director, doctors and therapists told me that I was too weak, too sick and too broken and that if I left that day I would die!
A New Outlook
From that moment on, I took my recovery into my own hands. I made a decision that I was going to recover, no matter what it took! I dove headfirst into my healing journey and started to look within for answers. I wanted everything in my recovery to work and I also wanted it to feel good, otherwise what would be the point?
I started working on myself and healing every area – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – in order to find freedom, balance, love, joy, happiness, fulfillment and peace in my life. It was these things that I was lacking and wanted so badly to bring forth into my life but I just didn’t know how until I started to learn how to love myself and became my own best friend!
Physically, I learned how to feel good nourishing my body the food and learned how to tune in and eat intuitively. I learned how to accept and love my body exactly as it is and trust that it would even out at my natural set point weight range.
In Part II, Lauren discusses how she recovered and started to help others.