The Escalator. By Meg

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I sometimes feel that living with an eating disorder is like being on an escalator going the wrong way. At the beginning, you have unknowingly taken the wrong route, and stepped onto the escalator going in the opposite direction. Although this seems harmless at first, it does not take long to realise you’ve made a terrible mistake and soon feel trapped. You need to find a way to get off, but how? The only way is up.

You desperately try to climb, while it continues to move in the opposite direction, pushing you down. Each step is tricky and gets you nowhere. But you must keep trying. You fight desperately against the illness’ destructive route to the bottom, pushing past people, luggage and other obstacles blocking your path. But each step you take seems to leaves you in the exact same spot. As though all your efforts are not paying off, you feel like giving up. The path to the top of the escalator is too painful. You feel the easier option is to just let the eating disorder transport you down and down into the dark, black hole that awaits you at the bottom. Sometimes you manage to take a big step forward, and you feel as though you’ve made progress, a meal successfully eaten! But you soon realise you’re still in the same place, and your efforts have not paid off. The eating disorder makes you feel defeated, belittled and pathetic. However, you soon realise this is what it wants you to feel. It wants to make you feel bad about yourself, so that you just give up and it wins by taking complete control.

This isn’t what you want. The deep, dark black hole at the bottom is getting closer and closer. It becomes more threatening, scary and definitely does not look appealing. Your friends, family, life, pets, holidays, future, hobbies, enjoyment, laughter and happiness are staring you in the face from the top of the escalator. They are calling your name, willing for you to join them, reaching out to you. If you keep trying, keep on climbing, the eating disorder has less control and the escalator begins to slow. The obstacles in your way become less frequent and much smaller. You gain strength with each step and it becomes easier and easier to reach for the top. And although, there are points when again it seems to speed up, take control and you move backwards, you know there is a way to keep fighting. And now within reach is all those things in life that recovery can bring. The top of the escalator is definitely getting closer.

By Meg Rayner

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