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Never Stop Fighting for Recovery

By Laura Porter--About three-and-a-half years ago, I never imagined I would write this story. Seriously. I never thought I would like--let alone love myself. Most days I celebrate my awesomeness. Some days are better than others (don't worry, I am still a human), but it's those hard days that make me so grateful for life in recovery.

So let me tell you a little bit about how I got to this place.

I started school in the fall of 2010, excited to be on my own and ready to meet new people. In high school I had struggled with disordered eating, and a few weeks into my new college adventure, my disordered eating worsened into a full-blown eating disorder.

It took me a little while to understand eating disorders. I was stuck. I kept thinking that if I shape my outside appearance to be "perfect" then I would feel "perfect" on the inside. Well, let me tell you one thing: perfect doesn't exist. The eating disorder was a way to distract, to numb what I was feeling on the inside, something I now know is my depression and anxiety. But the eating disorder never made me perfect like I thought it would; it just made things worse.

I started isolating, withdrawing from my friends. Everyone knew about it, but I was so scared of what letting go of the eating disorder would feel like. I was so scared of feeling emotions--any emotions--that I held on tightly to the eating disorder, thinking that was my only way to survive.

But I wouldn’t survive with the eating disorder. There were times when I wasn't sure if I would make it to the end of college. The eating disorder didn't allow me to see a future because it wasn’t satisfied until I was gone.

On a Tuesday in September of 2011, I curled up in my therapist’s office, holding my legs and shaking with tears. I couldn't do it anymore. My behaviors were going to kill me, and I committed to my family, friends and therapist that I would go to treatment.

For about a year-and-a-half I was in treatment for alcoholism, an eating disorder and self-harm. It was not easy, but I needed to take time for myself. I needed to stop feeling shame about who I was, and start forgiving myself.

With my amazing boyfriend, parents, sister and friends, I went back to school in the spring of 2013. I could not have gotten to the place where I am today, in recovery, without their support.

Recovery is not a straight line. It’s not a perfect process and I still have hard days. But now I can ask for help. I don't need my eating disorder to do the talking for me. I know now that I deserve to get my needs met and can take in the love that others offer.

The hard days are actually where I learn to love myself most and when I remind myself to have incredible gratitude for where I am today.

Looking back on where I was three years ago is not easy, but I am able to let go of the shame I once felt about my illnesses. Looking back on that younger me, I see she was lost and alone. She was sick and she needed hope. She needed someone who could show her the hope, compassion and guidance that she couldn't give herself.

I envision her now in my mind and give her the love she needs, the compassion she deserves and the assurance that things will get better.

I hope that's what my story can offer--hope, compassion and love to anyone who feels like it won’t get better.

If there’s one thing to take with you, it’s this: we are warriors, fighting to promote eating disorder awareness, fighting for those we love or fighting for our lives.

Never stop fighting.

Bio: Laura Porter is a junior at The George Washington University majoring in political communication with a minor in psychology. After taking three semesters off of school for her own mental health struggles, Laura became passionate about advocating for increased awareness of mental illness among college students, specifically eating disorder awareness.  Laura currently serves as the president of Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge at GW (SPEAK GW) as well as a communications intern at Active Minds Inc.  

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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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