Moving Away

Content Warning: Eating Disorders

Everyone who moves away from home has a reason behind it. Whether it be for adventure, to escape, for a change, or because you are running away or to something. Moving to Canberra was exciting, challenging, and ultimately, the best experience of my life so far. However, it has affected me in ways I did not think it would. When I moved away I thought I would leave all my troubles behind, like they were somehow glued to that place and this was a new stage of my life where they would no longer exist. Yet what I discovered is they didn’t go away, but became more a part of me than ever. I couldn’t leave my problems with a person, or a place or a moment in my life. The important things came with me – both the good and the bad – but ultimately, this helped me I realise who I am. When it’s just you, on your own, the things that matter won’t disappear despite how much we may want them to.

Thinking now, I was so naïve to believe that the eating disorder that had haunted my life for the past two years would magically vanish when I moved to college. I honestly thought that my problem lied with everything in 2016. I blamed it on the stress of school, my parents’ constant nagging, and the hospital system that caused anxiety over every new appointment. I blamed my unfortunately high metabolic rate which has always kept me overly lean. Together I could see the solution was so simple; leave and it will leave too. My body though, was not prepared to take on such a transition.

Everyone’s eating disorders are different and everyone has a different story and challenge. For me, I had never starved myself, but due to my high levels of activity and the nature of my busy lifestyle, my body had at times become unable to cope. This lead to a number of hospital admissions based off the medical instability of my heart rate and blood pressure. When I moved to Canberra, I was in denial about a problem I had because I believed it was a part of me but was somehow created by the external factors acting on me at home. Yet I soon discovered when I was left alone, the problem did not vanish and I didn’t have anyone to blame. It became my problem for the first time and it was that which honestly started to scare me.

Moving away is different for everyone. For me, the initial excitement of being on my own wore off as I looked down to see my body fading away. I was crying constantly, feeling lost and bereft of the desire to continue building social relationships. It was taking away everything good about moving and being independent and turning it into something negative. It was at this point I realised I couldn’t continue to let myself slip backwards and something needed to be done. Alone, with nobody else to blame, I looked at myself honestly and thought: You are a mess. It is time to change.

I think we all learn who we are when we move out of home. The identity we take away and the things we leave behind shows who we truly are. What we miss and what we don’t, tells us so much about ourselves. Don’t get too worried if you feel lost, it’s all in the journey of finding ourselves. And sometimes who we are, is the hardest thing to accept.