Almost a year ago, I embarked on a journey of healing. While spending 10 months in treatment for eating disorders I was diagnosed as being Twice Exceptional autistic. Not only this diagnosis changed my life. It had SAVED my life. Finishing treatment required grit and a whole lot of determination. I fell. I faltered. And after every stumble, I learned to stand taller.
In October 2022 I set upon a journey in purpose of recovery from a devastating disease. An illness that I have been battling silently and alone for 30 years. Anorexia Nervosa.
While suffering from the physical and mental long-term effects of malnourishment and extreme weight loss, in the aftermath of 2.5 years of unremitting starvation, I found myself hanging between life and death.
My Crohn’s disease- yet another illness I have been battling with- had conveniently lent itself as my perfect "cover", under which I hid my very destructive eating disorder behaviors. No one had suspected that the severe, on-going weight loss was from anything else.
But one evening in February 2022- as I lay in bed with excruciating hunger pangs in the pit of my stomach, with my head swimming, from within the fog of starvation- I felt I may simply not wake up again.
I knew it was time to ask for help.
And so, with a sense of despair and exigency, haunted by the fear that my husband and two kids may awake one morning to find me lying lifeless in bed, I finally reached out. I spoke up.
To borrow a quote from Peter Pan: “And with a fine candour I told what I had hitherto concealed.”
For that was the very first time that I ever told anyone about my biggest secret, my eating disorder, and the terrible incident that was partially the culprit of its onset . A disease with which I had a very intimate, though highly abusive relationship. A nefarious illness I have danced closely with ever since I was 15 years old, and never knew I had.
Ever since then, my life had taken on a new path. A path towards recovery from this devastating disease. And as I advanced further down recovery road, it became clear to me that I wanted to make it my life goal to help others who are struggling to cope with similar issues.
I am hoping that by sharing my personal story and music I may help encourage others to speak about their own struggles as well.
Because breaking the silence alone was already half of my battle. Just by speaking up, the demons of Anorexia had already diminished their power over me.
I made the first step on a road that was thorny, terrifying, daunting, and obscure; the most uncomfortable first step I had ever taken on any previous path.
But I took the road less traveled. I stopped hiding behind the dark secrets and that was the very first step toward healing.
Having suffered silently from Anorexia for over 30 years, Nefrit El-Or, a late identified 2e autistic, an author and musician, aspires to advocate for eating disorders recovery and raise awareness for late identified autism/giftedness, and hopes to inspire others to find their voice and share their own unique experiences whatever they may be. Because we all have something to say. We all have a story to tell. We all matter.
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