Proud2Bme | Fighting for Recovery

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Fighting for Recovery

By Lauren Myers--For as long as I can remember, food has been a huge—and often challenging—part of my life. When food literally consumed all of my thoughts, I knew that I needed help. I wasn’t me anymore; I was my eating disorder.

Before beginning my recovery journey, I was unable to function on a daily basis because I was experiencing deep and heavy (almost as though I was being pulled down by gravity) soreness in my lower abdomen and back. In the past, I experienced this type of soreness every now and then, which I thought was caused by either restriction or over-exercising. But I was not engaging in any of those things. I knew that this was my body’s way of signaling that something was wrong. I believe that asking for help is important—and that’s what I did.

After a few appointments and a prescription for antibiotics, I was still experiencing the same symptoms, which kept me returning to a doctor’s office for a couple of months. Each test that I went through either came back with normal or negative results. For the doctor, those results meant that everything was fine—but not for me. I didn’t know why I was suffering in this way and all I wanted was an answer. Rather than feel defeated, I sought further treatment. As cliché as it may sound, each of us knows our body better than anyone else. I knew there was another doctor out there in this world willing to listen and hear what I’d have to say about what was happening with my body.

I found one who seemed promising. The doctor asked me a number of questions about my symptoms, did a thorough physical exam and tested for a variety of infections just in case. Though the exam was normal and the tests were negative, this doctor was concerned about my answers to questions about my symptoms, which prompted a variety of more in-depth tests (including an ultrasound and a CT scan). Once again, the test results were normal. The doctor explained to me that she believed something was happening within my body and that surgery was the only option to confirm this. I didn’t have any answers, but I knew I was being taken seriously and on the path to eventually finding them.

Surgery confirmed that, all along, my symptoms were not in my head; they were actually in my uterus. I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition where cells—like those in the uterus lining—are found elsewhere in the body. These cells are still affected by hormone changes and may even cause hormonal imbalances. They grow, break down and bleed. Unlike a menstrual cycle, the cells have no way of leaving the body; they remain, multiply and can form adhesions or large, blood-filled cysts. 

There are an estimated 170 million sufferers worldwide, meaning that it affects up to 1 in 10 women. On average, it takes 10 years from symptom onset to receive an accurate diagnosis. This is mostly because when you separate all of the symptoms, they can appear to have other causes.

With this diagnosis, I couldn’t help but struggle with my sense of self-worth as a woman, and with the feeling that my body had betrayed me. I lost all trust in and connection to my own body. After receiving multiple treatments, I’ve realized that even though it will be long and hard, I need to be patient in giving my body time to heal mentally and physically. Some days are better than others. When I’m in the midst of a pain day or struggling with eating and exercise, it can be hard to be positive. But those are the times I know that I need self-love the most.

For recovery resources and treatment options, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 800-931-2237.

About the blogger: Lauren is a student at Simpson College majoring in philosophy and minoring in women's studies and exercise science. On campus, Lauren is involved TriDelta, SELF - a body positivity and activism group, SARA - Sexual Assault Response Advocates, and volunteering.

For more on recovery, check out:

4 Things No One Tells You About Recovery

7 Body-Shaming Phrases to Cut from Your Vocabulary…and What to Say Instead!

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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