By Rebecca Drew
A BRAVE ANOREXIA survivor has told how she has overcome the eating disorder that saw her trapped in a vicious cycle of not eating anything for up to TEN-DAYS before binging for one day and then restricting herself again.
Student Sierra Rock (22) from Vancouver, Canada, had suffered with disordered thoughts around food for as long as she can remember and hid sweets at Halloween when she was just 10-years-old so she didn’t have to eat them. This behaviour started to consume her life when she was 16 as she felt pressure to be perfect and in control of her own life. In the depths of her suffering, Sierra would go anywhere between five to 10 days without eating anything other than multi-vitamins and the occasional creamer in her coffee which then often lead to a day long binge before restricting all over again.
Sierra could fit into children’s clothes but would cover her frame in large, baggy clothes. At her weakest, she struggled to stand without her legs giving way or her heart feeling like it was beating out of her chest and she weighed around 7st.
Her turning point came when she was fed up of living the way she was and decided she needed to recover for both herself and her family, something she says that has helped her learn who she is and has helped her to regain her life’s purpose. Now, Sierra is a healthy 9st 8lbs and she makes sure she eats balanced meals containing each food group every day and lifts weights five times a week. She discussed her struggles with her eating disorder and recovery journey.
“I felt tired, alone and hopeless. I felt incapable of success, love and happiness. I felt like I was a bad and less valuable person that deserved to be in pain,” she said.
“I was tired of living, honestly. I figured I had three options: let this illness kill me within the year to end it all, hate my life in quasi recovery and feel stuck forever, or do something about it and take a chance and cling to the idea that literally nothing could be worse than the life I was living.
“Also, I just felt bad for my family and all of my friends started to leave me due to my negativity and stubbornness so that was a huge push.
“I have been able to learn about who I am. The eating disorder served as my identity and purpose for so long that now I’m able to learn what brings me joy, what makes me angry, what makes me feel alive. I’ve been able to go back to school (which I was medically withdrawn from twice) and I also got a job.
“I’m more independent, my family trusts me again, I have a purpose, I experience joy and excitement frequently, I don’t want to die, and my social and love life are flourishing.
“Letting go of the ‘investment’ I had in my eating disorder was the most difficult part. I gave up so many friends, school, health, money, my apartment- everything for my ED. It was my world. And so, to choose recovery meant to give up the one basket with all my eggs in it.
“I never felt like I got skinny enough or sick enough to recover so it almost felt like I was giving up on my investment before I felt it was had come to fruition but I had to realise the joke was on me and the eating disorder would never come to fruition. I’d never be skinny enough or have enough people worried or have enough hospital admissions under my belt- it was all lies.”
Sierra shared her words of advice and experience to other sufferers and believes in tough love for urging others to recover.
“The only thing holding them back from recovery is themselves. No hospital admission, medication, tube feeding, or life event is going to recover for you; yes it can assist you but not do all the work,” she said.
“Recovery sucks: it’s hard and it can really be broken down into a process of stepping outside your comfort zone, feeling like shit, and continuing to do it anyways until it doesn’t feel like shit anymore.
“You don’t need to see the full staircase to take the first step- you will not be able to predict the outcome of starting recovery but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. And lastly that, despite how alone you feel: heaps of people had eating disorders before you and heaps will after and a good portion of those people have and will recover.
“What makes you think that you’re any different and are incapable? The people that do recover are the people that swallow their pride and realise that they are the only thing standing in their own way.
“No need to sugar coat it and make anyone feel like staying with the ED or not recovering is the right thing to do.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/soulofsisi