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Learning to Live Life in Full Colour – By Fiona Mc Loone

My journey from anorexia to recovery was one of the hardest but best things I’ve ever done. I had to force my brain to rewire itself and break free from ingrained habits and an inner monologue that during my late teenage years only had one repeat cycle:

“I’m taking up too much attention, too much space. Pass me over, move along please, nothing to see here.”

When I was 20, this voice went from a quiet background noise to something I actively listened to. I was struggling to gain control over many parts of my life: the pressure to excel at university, the challenge of figuring out who I was and where I fit in the world, normal teenage battles with body image and imposter syndrome, and a new family dynamic as we transitioned to a household of four adults. I felt like I needed to have everything figured out, at least a watertight five-year plan! But I was struggling just to make time to eat, to see friends and family. I was thankful just to make it to the end of each day.

Crippled by a fear of failure and by my low self-esteem, I was convinced that there was some ‘right’ way to do life that I just wasn’t getting. And one of my biggest insecurities – the panic of being left behind – was beginning to happen. I’d taken a year out of university to get better, and while it allowed me to develop as a person, get a handle on who I was, I worked myself into the ground and between an internship and a cafe job, I deteriorated physically quite a lot. By some miracle I finished my degree in human genetics, just about still standing. At this point, I had two options – commit to my eating disorder that had taken everything from me – or commit to giving myself a chance to truly live rather than just exist.

I chose option two. Everything I’ve done in the last five years since making that decision has given me more of myself back. I completed an MSc in Science and Health Communication, moved to London for a few years, fell in love with spin class and hill walking as forms of relaxation, developed my career, and built new relationships. Now, I’m back in Dublin, in a job I love, and living in an apartment I own.

I’m proud of my recovery journey, the life of colour it’s led to and the person it’s allowed me to become. Now, I live for me, I live for the surprises, the spontaneity, the mundane, the small pleasures and big memories but most importantly I live to enjoy life and be thankful for the body that never gave up on me.

– Fiona Mc Loone