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Spotlight on Lasting Recovery: Courtney Rubio

Courtney Rubio, an Eating Recovery Center alumna, reflects on the journey of lasting eating disorder recovery.

 

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UprootED from Life

 

The older I get the harder it is to remember life before my eating disorder. It was early middle school when things took a turn for the worse. I’ve gone over it many times, what could have triggered my ED? I came up with many possibilities such as, my grandparents divorce, the fact that I moved from the South of my school district to the North (the demographic of people were completely different), I had a father that was always in and out of my life and it caused a lot of emotional issues, and of course I was at the age when a young girls body begins to change. It could have been any one of these reasons, or maybe all combined but I was triggered and it took a very long time for me to even realize what I had been doing to myself.

Anxiety is the common fuel to my eating disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with high anxiety for awhile now and to be honest I may have had it since my childhood. Everything that others feel is minuscule compared to how I end up feeling. My entire body becomes affected when I have anxiety attacks. My emotions are all over the place, my heart races, my head pounds, and it’s all so exhausting. However, with this mental issue another arose. I turned to food as a coping mechanism when I became too anxious to handle. Eating was comforting to me and I didn’t know when to stop. I had behaviors, but since I wasn’t taught about eating disorders I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong. It was an endless cycle and it destroyed my health.

I continued to have my ED all through High School and the beginning of my college years. The time I feel like I lost the most was in High School. Having ED affected every part of me; it truly was an endless cycle. I loved joining groups and playing sports in High School, but when I had deadlines, practices, and games my anxiety was too much to handle. I would eat and then I would feel so full I would panic because I knew I wouldn’t be able to perform the way I needed to, so I had behaviors. These behaviors allowed me to have energy for a little while and then I would become so fatigued. I couldn’t make my times for running, I didn’t start on my teams, and I was too stressed for my deadlines. And with all of this my emotions were all over the place. What happened when I would have behaviors was that my body became chemically imbalanced, I could be happy one second and angry the next. It even affected the first real relationship I ever had. ED controlled my life and all I could do was be a passenger to what was supposed to be some of the greatest years of my life.

I think a lot could have been avoided if I had been truthful with my family. Even though I wasn’t aware of my ED at first, I eventually learned what I was doing was wrong, but I still kept it from those who cared about me. I would make up lies and cover up for my ED. I felt isolated and helpless; I would think to myself, is this going to be the rest of my life? Until one year in college I was praying late at night in the chapel below my dorm. I wanted to be free, I wanted to be happy and I wanted to live my life without ED. I felt a calm come over me and right then I decided that I would find a way to get help. It took some time to finally tell my parents the truth, but when I did they told me that they would help me in any way they could. I then joined EDCASA, now ERCSA.

One of the first things I was taught and the most impactful lesson was that I needed to separate my ED from myself. I needed to learn what thoughts were my own and what ED’s were. When I finally mastered this it was like the life I was stuck in stopped and I started a new journey. I began to distinguish when ED was trying to bully me. When I had thoughts of body shaming, excessive food consumption, negativity towards life, and the feeling of being completely alone I knew these thoughts weren’t mine. By no means did this coping mechanism stop my ED entirely, but it gave me the strength and knowledge to push forward and fight every day.

The process of healing is a sacred and beautiful journey. You become one with yourself; you love yourself, and you begin to live life the way you were meant to. It isn’t an easy path, but with the right support and encouragement you can overcome it all. There may be times when you feel alone, or that no one understands what you are going through. Always know that there is help and support available. It took me a very long time to realize this, but once I did I started my journey in healing. There will be bumps and bruises along the way, but never stop. Keep pushing forward; ignore the negative thoughts because in the end it’s your life not ED’s.

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