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Why I No Longer Call Myself Anorexic

When I walked into a residential treatment center at the age of 19, I saw myself as anorexic. Flash forward almost 10 years later, and I still identified as an anorexic in recovery. This descriptor used to roll off my tongue as if on instinct—it felt purely automatic to view the illness in terms of who I had become, rather than a diagnosis I could heal from. But as I'm about to turn 30 in just a couple of weeks, I have chosen to shed this label once and for all. I no longer call myself anorexic, and here is why I am making that intentional choice from now on.    

The Problem With Holding Onto the Label of Anorexic

Referring to myself as anorexic does not feel true anymore because it devalues all the effort and commitment I have poured into eating disorder recovery. Of course, there was a time when it seemed unthinkable to separate myself from the obsessions with weight, food, exercise, and body image which consumed each minute of the day. But in recent years, I have worked too hard, come too far, and achieved too much to just continue wearing this same narrow, restrictive label. I deserve to create both physical and emotional distance between the person I am now and the illness that once tried to claim my life. I can define myself however I want—and anorexic does not have to be part of this equation.  

As a professional writer, I know firsthand that words have enormous influence and power. So what I choose to speak over myself carries a long-term impact. The use of such a label as anorexic is heavy with meaning—it implies that I am the eating disorder, that my whole existence can be traced back to my suffering rather than my healing. This feels dishonest to me because I have conquered the limiting belief that I would never experience the other side of this affliction. The fact is, I am successful and triumphant in recovery. I do know life without an eating disorder is possible. I make strides to reach this goal on a daily basis, so why would I minimize that progress and continue to call myself anorexic?  

I Have Battled Anorexia, But I Am No Longer Anorexic 

There are so many descriptors I could use to talk about myself. I am a human, a woman, an advocate, a fighter, an overcomer, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mentor, an artist, a wordsmith, an introvert, an empath; the list goes on. However, my personal identity is not attached to the label of anorexic anymore. In the past, I battled an eating disorder—this will always be a chapter in my narrative—but it's not the whole story. I fought the battle, and I won. Moreover, I am committed to remaining victorious, no matter how easy it would be just to backslide sometimes. So this is why I no longer call myself anorexic. I am more than a label, and part of recovery is embracing that truth.     

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2021, July 7). Why I No Longer Call Myself Anorexic, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2021/7/why-i-no-longer-call-myself-anorexic



Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Connect with Mary-Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram and her personal blog.

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