My name is Mallory. I am 17 years old and I have been in recovery for 4 years. Ever since I was a little girl I have suffered from a bad body image. At three years old I remember being in dance class thinking I was the biggest kid. People at school would make fun of me and call me names. I felt so unloved, so unwanted. I was never someone who talked about her emotions; I was too embarrassed. I used food as a comfort and would eat my feelings away. I was too embarrassed to eat in front of people so I would go the whole day without eating and I felt this sense of happiness and strength. I would come home from school to a lonely house and I would binge on any comfort food I could find. I never had to deal with my emotions. I felt nothing at all. From bingeing I gained weight, and I eventually learned what bulimia was. For the next 8 years I secretly was bingeing, purging and starving myself. Nobody would've guessed that I had such a life-threatening problem. When I turned 14, I wanted to make a change. I thought if I was skinny my world would be better; people would love me, I would make good friends, I would get into the college I want, and live out my dreams. I would be perfect. I started exercising and eating minimal calories. I would weigh myself many times a day. My eating disorder kept on pushing and pushing me to my limits. Nothing was ever good enough. When I reached my lowest weight, I was just merely existing and I needed help. I was passing out on a daily basis, I couldn't get out of bed anymore, I couldn't focus, and I spent many scary nights in the hospital. It came to a point where I almost lost my life. I went to a hospital for treatment where I was diagnosed with Anorexia and Bulimia. At first I wasn't on board with the whole recovery idea and gaining weight, and actually feeling my emotions for the first time, but after learning about recovery and being open minded and trying it, I found peace. I am a healthy person to date, I feel my emotions now: the sadness, the anger, and the joy. Sometimes I honestly didn't think I would get through the pain, I felt like it was going to kill me, but it didn't. I got through it. I survived. I am so lucky that I have a chance to live out my dreams and be a friend. My body didn't deserve what I put it through, but it didn't give up on me. I have learned healthy ways to deal with my emotions and realized PERFECT doesn't exist! You can't be who you want to be if you can't get out of bed. I am learning to make friends with the mirror and I am making friends with food for the first time. Being able to laugh and hang out with friends and just breathe was worth every moment of pain. In life things are never easy, but they are always worth it in the end. Don't give up because just like me, you deserve freedom and life. KEEP ON even when things get tough; I promise they always get better! I am living proof.