A second chance at life

Guest Author: Shannon

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

In December of 2012, I was diagnosed with severe Anorexia Nervosa.  It all started with going to the gym so my friend had a partner, which slowly turned into eating healthy and eventually cutting out food groups.

From there, I increased the time I spent at the gym and was enjoying every moment of the pounds coming off.  I never thought I was fat or that I didn’t like my body, I just knew my stomach was an area I would like to change.  Over the span of a couple months, the weight flew off and by April 2013 I went from 128 lbs to 56 lbs.  I was in dangerous territory.  Speech and movement were slowing down, everything hurt as I was all bone, I was always cold and tired and had no energy at all.  I always told my family and friends that when I was ready to get help, I would seek it and I didn’t want to be pushed.  Even though this frustrated them, they complied.

I was and still am an independent person.

On April 18, 2013, I finally made the decision to go to the hospital where I was told that if I hadn’t come in that night, I wouldn’t have woken up the next morning.  My body was purple and yellow from my liver and kidneys shutting down, my blood wasn’t flowing, and I couldn’t talk or walk.  I was admitted to a medical ward for two months on a feeding tube which fed me over night and during the day, I was expected to eat proper meals. I was on bed rest, was not allowed to use the bathroom without permission, was not allowed to shower, and I was completely helpless.  I had to rely on my parents, friends and nurses which I hated.  I was and still am an independent person.  I felt so bad for everyone dropping everything for me, always coming to see me, helping me out etc.  It just wasn’t fair.  I felt like I owed them the world.

After two months, I was able to have the feeding tube removed and I entered into an eating disorder program. I spent 4 months (11 weeks inpatient, moved to day patient and then finally finished with half days in transition).  Here I learned how to properly eat, talk about my feelings (anxieties and depression), took part in group sessions that helped me find coping mechanisms to deal with my anxiety around food, to deal with social anxieties and eating in public and to deal with social situations and eating around others.  This was a huge life changer for me.

 I haven’t looked back since.

My lifelong dream was to be a teacher.  I absolutely loved kids, found the career rewarding and worked so hard to accomplish my dreams.  After I graduated teachers college in 2011, I heard nothing for 2 years.  I finally had an interview in March before hospitalization.  I was so sick that I don’t remember any of it and I have no idea how it happened, but I was hired.  It was finally time to begin my dream however, I was too sick to do this.  I was discharged from the hospital on October 17, 2013 and began teaching on October 18, 2013.  I haven’t looked back since.  I am finally a permanent teacher and I am loving my career.  It is what keeps me going and keeps me healthy.  I was targeted for relapse since my illness was one of the worse cases my doctor had seen, yet somehow I managed to defy those odds.  I still have anorexia yet I have come so far.  There are challenges every day from what to eat, bringing food places, how much exercise I am doing in a day, questioning if I am eating everything I am supposed to etc., to the challenges I face in my job; anxiety, being overwhelmed etc.  I still face depression often and everything is an up and down roller coaster for me.  There are days where I reflect back and wish I was back in the spot where I was in April of 2013, however, I realize how incredibly lucky I am and am so grateful for a second chance at life.  Without all the positive support and my job, I don’t think I would even try to be healthy and recovered.

I am hoping to be fully recovered one day and live a happy and healthy life and I know eventually it will happen.  Anorexia doesn’t just go away but I can be recovered!


Darlene Knowlton

I am so so proud of you, and I am so glad that you have come so so far, u should be so proud of yourself, and I wish u alot of love every single day. You are such an inspiration, thank u for sharing your story. xoxo

I hear you

You are an inspiration to us all. Just depression and anxiety are enough, but anorexia too? Incredible day at a time Shannon.


You are a Wonderful Person, I can tell just from our interactions at school!!!
I have been through a surviving battle of Breast Cancer and realize that although our journeys are very different, we are survivors!!! One day at a Time!!!
Thanks so much for sharing!!!
Miss You and hope you are enjoying your new position!!!!!
Keep in Touch
Leza xo


Such a story of tremendous courage! Thank you so much for sharing it. I’m a sufferer of bulimia and have been through an in patient treatment program as well. At first I thought it was taking away my freedom but soon realized it was giving me back my life. Cheers to you in getting your life on track!


Shannon, what a story of strength and courage! Christ surely has a magnificent plan for your life! Those kids are VERY blessed to have you as a teacher. You’re never alone, Shannon. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Big hugs, my friend xxoo💕

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