Running Away from Me to Find Myself
Instead of coming from me, sometimes it’s better to hear stories directly from the people who are going through it. This powerful blog entry is written by a patient of mine during her battle with an eating disorder. She gave permission to share it. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact a health care provider. Check out National Eating Disorders Association for more information.
– Paula Cody, MD, MPH
Running away from me to find myself
These shoes have quite the story – one I never thought I’d ever tell. In the beginning, these were my running shoes. I only wore them outside to enjoy the one activity that brought me joy. That year I ran my first marathon, but that wasn’t it for me. I continued to run, run, run because it became a passion. Without realizing it, I ran myself to an unhealthy place and my shoes were taken away from me. My identity was stolen, or so I thought. It took a long time to let go of my inner stubborn Italian and officially stop running so I could become healthy again, but eventually I did. Then, these shoes helped me walk to recovery. If it wasn’t for my amazing support team of doctors, family, friends, teachers, and even strangers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And today, I got to enjoy my very first run since this all started.
I am a runner. I always will be. But this journey, and these shoes, carry the realization that I am SO much more than that. These shoes show wear and tear from continuous pounding on the pavement, from the continuous set backs I fought through, and from the many successes I pushed myself to obtain. I look down at my shoes and I see holes, frayed laces, skid marks, and dirt. Yet, I look at these imperfections, and I see strength, I see courage, I see self-love, and I see true happiness. The battle isn’t over for me, but now I have the weapons to fight harder and live my life in balance.
This is a story of perseverance. This is a story of strength, tears, happiness, and frustration. And somewhere in this story is the revolution of a person. Me. I used to be ashamed of my story, but today I am proud. I am proud of my struggles – they are what make me the beautiful person I finally see shine through the mirror. What else makes me beautiful? My support team. So yes, this was a story, but now it is a message of thanks. I cannot give enough thanks to my parents, my brother, the rest of my family, my dearest friends, my new friends, my professors, and my amazing medical staff. The soles of my shoes are you – supporting my strides to health. The laces are your comforting words and hugs that kept me together when I wanted to crumble. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Today I ran. Maybe tomorrow I will run again, but I don’t have to. Either way, the new day brings a new adventure; a new journey. I’ve fought through the toughest journey of my life, so I say, “bring it on.” I’ve got the shoes to take it on – one step at a time.