Hi! My name is Julia, I’m 23 years old and from Vaughan ON!
I’m currently studying to become a social worker and have a passion for helping people who’s voices aren’t heard. I’m an active advocate for mental illness awareness and strive to show people that there is a life beyond their illnesses. I’m so passionate about this topic because I was one of those people who didn’t believe recovery from my mental illnesses was possible for me.
When I was 12 I got sick and by 14 I was officially diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. From the moment I turned 16 my life became a revolving door of hospital stays and relapses, I was in denial, furious at the world, at myself, and at anyone who tried to help me. My eating disorder turned me into someone I and those who loved me didn’t know. I wasn’t Julia, I wasn’t the loving, caring, compassionate, fun girl I once was – I was a stranger living in her skin.
I didn’t want recovery for a long time, my eating disorder kept me safe, it kept me sheltered from the outside world and all the ugliness that came with it, but it also sheltered me from the beauty of the world too.
A once bright and outgoing girl I turned mean, I did and said things I’m not proud of, I isolated from everyone I loved, and I missed out on countless experiences and opportunities over these last 9 years, anorexia turned me into a monster and for a while I didn’t care. I did whatever I could to keep my illness alive and thriving even though it was killing me.
Through an TON of hard work, countless therapy sessions and a few more hospitalizations over the years I finally started to want recovery, my eyes had opened up to the world I was missing and with help from a inpatient program I started eating again, I sobbed, and it hurt like hell, and for a while it felt like I was dying but for the first time ever I was doing it for me.
3 years ago, I started finding joy in life again, food wasn’t just numbers anymore but memories and laughter and so much love. My body slowly stopped being the enemy and with time I started to even look at it with gratitude. I made friends in that admission that are still in my life to this day, who have helped me and still do see the beauty this life has to offer and I am beyond blessed to know them.
Graduation from that admission was both the most exciting day and the most terrifying time in my life. I left feeling so strong, but also excruciatingly vulnerable.
Unfortunately I relapsed one more time close to a year later partially due to being in a toxic and fat phobic partial day program for after care. One more hospital admission after that and I am now over a year and a half hospital free! I’m in the best head space I have ever been in, I want full recovery more than anything and I am finally able and willing to fight tooth and nail for it.
Over these last nearly two years, most of it being in the quarantine, I’ve had my struggles, it’s been hard and I’m nowhere close to perfect but the difference between now and all those times before is that I now see a future for me. I see a future that excites me and that pushes me to keep going, I have plans and goals and I can see the absolute beauty that surrounds me in even the most mundane of days. I don’t know what the future holds but for the first time in a very long time I am excited to find out.