Learning to Take Up Space in the Midst of an Eating Disorder

take up space - image of smiling girl with long hair blowing in the wind, wearing a denim jacket, sitting in a field with the background blurred

Slowly, like pouring molasses from a jar, my language shifted from I am a waste of space to I deserve to take up space.

Some days I shout it, other days my voice takes the shape of a whisper. Some mornings I wake up and feel like I can do anything, other days I wonder if I can get out of bed. Every day, I tell myself I am worth the effort and energy I put into myself. That other people love and care for me. Slowly, I’m learning to love myself again.

Learning to take up space

Sitting in a green chair at a crisis center, I told a stranger my story. How I binged and starved and self-harmed. How I wanted to die.

She told me I was being timid in my life. Withering away under the assumption that my role in this world is to make the people around me happy. I was causing myself to fold in on myself like a piece of crumpled paper. Trying to take up the least amount of space humanly possible.

“You have to be loud,” she said. “Not all the time. But sometimes. You have to use your voice and speak when you need help.”

“I got myself here, didn’t I?” I stated, flourishing my right hand. Indicating that I got myself somewhere safe by speaking up about my suicidality.

“You need to write,” she told me. I was given a yellow, wide-ruled composition book upon my arrival at the unit. “If you want to die, that is your choice. Fine. But not yet. Not until you have explored all of your options.”

You need to take up space or you will be lost between the gaps in your words.

I am not recovered yet. I do not love my body every day, but most days, I do. Many days, I do not like my personality or the way my voice shakes or how shy I have become. I speak up anyways and make my presence known.

I take up space. 

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  1. says: Jessica Flint

    Thank you for sharing your story, Kristen! So much bravery in your words. I’m rooting for you.

  2. says: Larry E. Noble

    I am learning to take up space in the midst of an eating disorder and I am experiencing journey towards self-acceptance and healing. It’s essential to address mental health issues and provide support for those who need it. Speaking of support, I recently stumbled upon an article listing the assignment helper website for students. I helped a lot to choose the expert for my project on the eating disorders that require understanding and resources for recovery.

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