Sunday, October 4, 2020

Welcome, Warriors! ❤

Hi there! My name is Hanne Arts and a I'm a Psychology graduate, author, YouTuber, and recovery warrior. I started writing when I was about seven, and I began incorporating some of my own mental health struggles into my works from the age of thirteen. I published my debut novel, JUST PERFECT, in December 2014, followed by its sequel, RED RIBBONS, in October 2017.

But that's quite a condensed version of my life, don't you think?










As a child, my life was perfect.  

That is, until it wasn’t anymore.  

In January 2010, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, anorexia. In February 2010, I was hospitalized. Since then, I have been in and out of hospitals, consistently struggling to build my life up whilst sliding back down.

If someone would have told me, even just five years ago, that things would get better, I don’t think I could have suppressed my laughter. It would have been sinister laughter. Why-on-earth-would-you-say-that laughter, like that of an evil character in a children’s film. I did not believe that I would ever make it out; I felt helpless and trapped in the embrace of an illness that once, just briefly, had promised me that everything would be fine. Everything would be okay if only I tossed out that snack, if only I skipped that meal.  

For almost six years of my life, my mind was consumed. I was obsessed. I fell into the eating disorder’s arms, unable to break free. Every morning and every night, I would sneak upstairs to weigh myself. Every mealtime, I would consider how to get away with eating less and less. Every night, I cried myself to sleep. I felt worthless. I wished for a way out.  

I wished to sleep. Forever. When the morning sun awoke me from a restless night, I was disappointed. A new day – the same struggles.

Meanwhile, I saw my parents break down. Whilst I turned into a shadow of my former self, they crumbled. They forced me to eat, threatened me with hospitalization, and showered me with more love than I knew anyone could hold within one’s heart. And I hated them for it.  

After all, it was the one thing keeping me there. It was the only thing keeping me tied to the life I so desperately wanted to step out of.  

They sobbed and I sobbed; they sent me to treatment and I went. Gradually, the weight crept up. Gradually, the bad moods lifted, if even just a little. What was there, I wondered, further down this path? Would the veil that obscured my life finally lift? Was there a light at the end of the tunnel?  

There was no way to know. Not unless I followed the path. And I decided it was worth the risk.   

Let me tell you now, it is worth the risk. It is a winding road, but it is paved; there are poisonous berries and thorn bushes, but no bad wolves or evil gnomes. It sure as hell is a safer route than the alternative, and I really think you should consider it. You won’t know if you don’t try.   

Had I not taken the risk, I would have never known. I would have never experienced the wonders that make up life. I would have never experienced shameless pleasure, unapologetic joy, and that incredible emotion that comes so naturally to children – carefree nonchalance.   

Today, I live abroad, I attend university, and I have a boyfriend. Food is no longer at the forefront of my priorities list. I am ED- thought and behaviour free. I have a successful YouTube channel and two much-praised published books. I work, I travel, I enjoy my life.  

And I know that I will wake up tomorrow morning, excited when the sun awakes me from a restful sleep.

2 comments:

  1. I'm also recovering from an eating disorder (started with bulimia but later on it became anorexia) but it seems I dont really need many calories to put on some weight. Do you have any idea of how many calories you needed in the beggining of your journey towards recovery to put on some weight? And do you think that the longer you're underweight you will need more/less calories?

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    Replies
    1. Initially you might gain weight more quickly (especially if you've restricted for a longer period of time), but your body's metabolism will increase again. Initially I could gain on quite minimal amounts, but currently I need to eat 3,000+ kcal!

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