**Edited & revised to remove triggering numbers and behaviors**
Isn’t risk a interesting concept? Some people just prefer living on the edge, but I’m not like that at all. Or at least I don’t think I am.
However, the more I thought about it, I realized that I actually am quite a risk taker, especially this coming weekend: I am running my third full marathon. No guarantees that I’ll finish, but I’m taking the risk by stepping up to the starting line on May 1.
It’s been 7 years since I’ve run 26.2 miles. I was in 9th grade and had aspirations of qualifying for Boston by the time I graduated high school. However, pretty much right after I finished my second marathon, I continued running, just down a very different course.
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa 82 days after completing that race. I forced myself to lose a considerable amount of weight in the month that followed my race simply because I believed the lie that I didn’t deserve to eat because I was no longer training.
To say battling anorexia was hell would be an understatement. It was excruciatingly exhausting, overwhelmingly miserable, and equatable to what death must feel like. This must not be too far off considering that the mortality rate associated anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old. Terrifying. Perhaps even more disheartening is:
A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
How is that so? I struggled heavily with the disease for 2 years and endured countless doctor, dietitian, and therapy appointments. To this day, I still have to fight to keep the tyrannical voice of lies out of my head. Although it has definitely gotten easier, there are still days where I feel like I’m back in the exact same spot as I was 7 years ago.
Recovery has been scarred by countless relapses. It’s hard work. I still see a counselor and I meet with a doctor monthly to monitor my progress or relapses. In the past 7 years:
- I contracted a tibial stress fracture due to low bone density
- Show signs of early onset osteoporosis as shown during a bone scan
- Experience frequent heart burn, even to this day
- Fight to ward off negative thoughts daily
- Relapsed so many times
But I have also:
- Been admitted to four major universities
- Completed a tax/audit internship at a local CPA and Consulting firm
- Experienced three loving and helpful relationships
- Changed my major to something I love
- Found true and lasting friends
- Studied abroad
- Traveled to Italy, and most importantly,
- Re-committed myself to my sweet Jesus
So, in 6 days, I can add yet one more victory to my list of successes against this absolutely disgusting disease.