Friends Are The Family We Choose For Ourselves

A Bit About Me…

I have had an eating disorder from the age of 13, possibly even way before that, which is a long time considering I am about to celebrate my 32nd birthday next week. It feels weird to say those words, but, I am actually going to “celebrate” this one. I have spent many years avoiding birthdays, social gatherings, going out to places that I don’t feel comfortable, trying anything new or even just allowing myself to have fun!! I hate having an eating disorder, but I am so grateful for the friendships that I have gained on my recovery journey and this is the reason that I want to celebrate this year.

 

Growing up in a world that didn’t feel safe to me, I tended to shut myself away. I grew up a very lonely and lost soul, I kept myself to myself and did not tend to go out or socialise with anyone. My dad left the family home when I was 4 and my mum was an alcoholic who was rarely home; my life took on a very different path than that of my peers and I was forced to grow up a lot quicker than I had wanted to.

 

I left high school knowing pretty much everyone but I only had one person that I could call a friend; I had known her since I was born but not being the social butterfly that she wanted me to be, her life and mine were miles apart. Going to college with such a lack of confidence and low self-esteem was a challenge that I did not have the tools to deal with, so I left after only 2 months of being there. I had missed out on life opportunities that most people experience and make friends at during their life.

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My childhood friend asked me to join her netball team and I played one evening a week. This was a pretty daunting experience, but playing a sport I knew and loved made being around people that little bit easier. I would play the match and then leave, hardly speaking to anyone in the team.

 

After playing there for a few months, a girl who worked there approached me and said that she had been watching me play and she was poaching the best players from different teams to put together her own team. I asked her if she was sure that she was talking to the right person as I did not consider myself as being any good.

 

After weeks of trying to convince me to play, I finally started playing for her team alongside my own and the friendship between her and I grew. I was 17 years old and it was the first real friend that I had made. She became an invaluable friend to me. She came into my life at a perfect time, a time when I really needed someone, a time when I also needed to find alternative living accommodation, and her and her family took me in to their home. It was the first time that someone had reached out to offer me support and kindness and I felt extremely overwhelmed and grateful by their kind generosity.

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Our friendship grew, along with a feeling of trust that I had not felt before. After suffering for 4 years with an eating disorder on my own, I took a risk and reached out to her, a little bit afraid of what it may do to the only friendship that I had. But she was amazing, she listened to me for hours on end, held me when I cried and helped me find the support that I needed. She drove me from appointment to appointment on her days off; she came to Doctors appointments and held my hand; she was with me through the good and the bad and never once judged the things that I told her about my past.

 

I continued to play netball and this became a lifeline to me. I started to play for a new team in a competitive league and from there I have made some amazing friends who have been a major part of my life for the past 14 years.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true”] The Sense of Belonging that comes with Recover… [/custom_headline]

[pullquote cite=”” type=”right”]Friends are definitely the family that we choose for ourselves, and I will be eternally grateful for each one of them.[/pullquote]There is a saying ‘when all is said and done, if you can count all your true friends on one hand, you’re a lucky man’.Until recently, I could count my true friends on one hand, and I did feel like an extremely lucky person. This was until I met the amazing girls at Recover. I’ve never felt a sense of belonging before, but finding people who really understand you on a deeper level has been life changing. I’ve made friendships at Recover that I know will be lifelong. I am surrounded by truly strong and inspiring women, and I am proud to call them my friends. I don’t have a strong family unit, but my friends definitely make up for that.

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