Be thankful for your life this Thanksgiving

Tanoya Poulsen

(Source: Tribune News Service)
(Source: Tribune News Service)

Imagine feeling like the only way to feel normal is by controlling what and how you eat. No one can even begin to understand what you are going through, not even those you love. They think that you just want to be thin or that you can’t control your binging– this is agony of an eating disorder.

These illnesses are immensely complex and there are many misconceptions surrounding them that I cannot dispel in one story.

However, I can tell you that eating disorders make you feel like you’re not enough and that you don’t ever deserve to be.

Some who suffer from eating disorders may eat too much and others may eat too little; these eating habits are all in an effort to shield ourselves from the world.

Eating disorders are about regaining control that you feel you have lost. It’s not about being skinnier than the next person. It’s not about food at all, but a lot of people think it is. That’s why the holidays are scary for someone struggling or recovering from an eating disorder.

I have suffered with anorexia for 11 years and I can tell you that it is hell.

I’m recovering slowly, but it’s not an overnight process that ends when I eat more and gain weight. It’s a full-blown disease just as critical as any physical ailment.

Food is an important part of our culture and is a staple at most gatherings with family and friends. During the holidays, this can come to the forefront of everyone’s mind.

If you do suffer from an eating disorder this time of year is rough, I know. I’m there with you. I’m scared to be around my family and pretend that I’m alright. I’m scared that I’ll try to hide food under my napkin to throw away or take tiny, tiny portions, but I know that I can get through it. You can too, just do what you can.

I won’t lie, it’s not going to be easy. Remember, it’s okay to say when you’ve had enough.

If you have an eating disorder, it’s important for you to have a friend to confide in. That’s one thing that helped me step on the path to recovery.

I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers; however, I am going to tell you that I don’t hide anymore. That’s what the eating disorder wants.

If you don’t want to listen to me, I understand. I didn’t listen at first. This disease has taken over it’s almost cost me my life, twice. But I decided that I’m going to live. I want to make an amazing present and future. You can too. You deserve to have happiness.

This Thanksgiving, be mindful of what you might be suffering with, get help if you can and be thankful for your life.

For those wanting information about where and how to get help, contact a counselor at Weber State University Counseling and Psychological Services Center in the Student Services Building. Their hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. Their phone number is 801-626-6406 and can be reached online at their website.