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It’s crazy that after years of knowing someone and living with them, there can still be a ton of things that you’re completely in the dark about. What’s even crazier is that there are probably things you don’t know about yourself either. The last six months have been a huge period of discovery for me.

The turning point was when I had to deal with the loss of my sweet fur baby, Max. Once he was gone, it became extremely obvious that I relied on him, and needed him a lot more than he needed me. Any time I was upset or anxious, he was always there to comfort me. Without him, I had to overcome sadness and anxiety all on my own. That’s how I found my inner strength. I had it in me all along, and now I know how to utilize it.

After I found my long lost inner strength, everything else seemed to fall into place. A few years ago, I was enrolled in college but it did not go well to say the least. I never gave it another shot because I had a negative influence constantly telling me I wasn’t smart enough or capable. With the voice of negativity permanently muted, I decided to bite the bullet and register for a few basic online classes. In the back of my mind I was thinking, “What if he was right? What if I can’t do this and I fail?” Then I scored 100% on my first assignment. All doubts disappeared, because apparently I’m a lot more capable and smart than I thought.

When my newfound capability surfaced, all the doors that I previously thought were closed, suddenly swung wide open! Behind door #1 was a shiny new car I felt comfortable driving without a constant fear of wrecking. I am able to make the car payment with my second amazing opportunity – a job as a stylist at Michael Kors. Fashion and sales have always been my passion, so now I feel closer to my dreams that originally appeared to be unachievable.

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that I am in control of my own life. As an 18 year old newly married girl, living across the country away from everyone I knew, with no transportation or income, I inadvertently handed over the reigns to someone else who did a terrible job of steering. It didn’t bother me at first, because I was too young to fully see what was happening. Before I knew it, Anorexia took hold of me hard. My desire to have an ounce of control threw me into the depths of a life threatening disorder. If I decided to eat, or not, it was my choice. Disturbingly, I was addicted to the feeling of hunger. If I chose not to act on it, it seemed like I was making a huge accomplishment. It was almost a sick kind of game to see how much more weight I could lose. The way Anorexia works though is that it’s impossible to win the game. If you gain a pound, don’t lose enough weight within your deadline, or find fat anywhere on your body, you have lost. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into not playing; it’s my choice.

For the first time in a long time, I can truthfully say that I’m proud of myself. I’m still a work in progress, but isn’t everyone?