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I was a girl who looked perfectly happy and healthy but internally I was broken, torn apart, and completely consumed by disordered eating and exercising obsessively.

Not everyone who struggles with an eating disorder has the stereotypical anorexic body type. It may not be visible on the outside, but the internal struggle is real. This invisible internal struggle is important. It needs to be recognized. And it needs to be given a voice to stop the cycle of suffering.

For all the years I struggled, I told myself that I was doing nothing wrong. That it was okay to restrict myself from food, and exercise 3 times a day because nothing I ever did felt good enough. 

Life is so much more than the number on the scale, or your dress size. Life is about being truly happy with yourself to be able to let go and enjoy life’s finer moments. And to do so without fearing that you will gain weight for saying yes to ice cream or telling your friends you can’t hang out because skipping the gym was simply not even an option. 

Eating disorders take up so much of your life and strip away so many amazing opportunities life offers. And while the road to overcoming an eating disorder is a continuous one, I can look back now and see how that girl was so wrong in her thinking, how she was so broken, and that she deserved love and happiness just as much as anyone else.

For so long I tried to deny the fact I had an eating disorder. I pushed it out of my mind, but it was always there lurking, ready to come back and consume me again. I made the choice to seek help to fully tackle it head-on, to bring to light all the years I struggled, to understand the reasons behind it, and to come to peace with my past. And now I am wiser, stronger, and ready to leave those old, irrational thoughts and habits behind. It was emotional, scary, and incredibly hard to relive all those years I tried to suppress, but now I am 1000 times happier, stronger, and ready to live life to the fullest.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It is important to take care of yourself, to ask for help when you are struggling, and not be afraid to face your fears, because life truly has so many amazing things to offer. 

Alana is a 22 year old university student pursuing a career in the medical field.

by: Alana Brinson

 A note from a mother – this amazing young woman is my daughter. My heart aches to know she struggled. Of course, like most moms, I had a moment of blaming myself. Did I do something to create this? In this case, I don’t think I need to blame myself. She was impacted by other experiences that were hurtful to her soul. We cannot protect those we love from experiences that hurt, but we can be there to love and support them. And to beam with pride for the strength to face something so hard and the courage to share it with others. I love you Alana, Mom xo.