Hannah is a strong warrior who overcame her ED

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From barely living to truly thriving, I am now confident in saying that I was put on this earth for a reason - to bring light, hope and faith to those who can no longer see through the darkness. My journey has been long and exhausting, but I am here today stronger than I ever imagined possible. I am a warrior, and I am forever proud of who I have become.

My journey has its roots deeply planted in my high school years, when my mind and body turned against each other in hopes of satisfying the demon living in my head. This demon's name is ED - a term I've used for years to identify my eating disorder and recognize its presence in my thoughts. When I was 16, I lost sight of myself and the life I always knew. This was only the beginning of what would soon become a life-threatening battle, unaware that this illness would swallow me alive for the next 5 years of my life. 

To save you from thousands of words attempting to describe the living hell of an eating disorder, try to imagine a life where you have no control over your thoughts or behavior. Try to imagine living every single day alongside a physically and emotionally abusive partner with no possibility of escape, since this demon is dwelling inside of your own mind. Think back to a day when you felt unworthy, unwanted and terrified of what lies ahead - and now imagine repeating that 365 times every single year. 

ED continually tightened his grip on me into my freshman year of college, where I was then rushed to the hospital and admitted into an intensive treatment center in Princeton, New Jersey. I spent the following months in a hospital bed while a team of specialists attempted to save my body from the damage this demon had done. My liver was barely functioning, my heart was deteriorating, my bones were thinning - my body was literally consuming itself in an attempt to stay alive. And in those moments, the sick and twisted demon living inside of my own head had convinced me that this was what happiness looked like. I became addicted to this demon, and couldn't imagine my life without him. I felt as if he would keep me safe and sheltered from the world, when in actuality, he was the direct source of my demise. He lied to me, abused me and nearly killed me. And that's when I picked up my sword and started fighting for my life back.

My discharge from the hospital marked only the beginning of my recovery, and will forever be something I must work for throughout my life. I have fought like hell to be where I am today - a place of contentment, happiness, love and acceptance. The behind-the-scenes view of my recovery is full of tears and agonizing discomfort, but also full of ear piercing laughter and radiant smiles. It encompasses my lowest points and my highest peaks. My recovery is not linear in any sense of the word, but rather a dance of taking two steps forward and one step back. It is ongoing and forever changing, but that's what makes recovery so beautiful. 

I am sharing my journey with you in hopes of sparking the passion in your heart to fight for the life you deserve. Whether your journey involves similar struggles or not, I feel as if my experiences hold the possibility of igniting positive change for others. I am here as living proof that when the darkness has seemed to swallow you whole, always remember that you hold the fire within your heart to light the way to a happier and healthier life. You are a warrior. You are strong, capable and beautiful. You can do this.