Why does society make it impossible to move on from an eating disorder?

At this stage in my life I’m a perfectly functioning 23 year old, a new mother and a soon(ish) to be wife. However, as a teenager I was very ill. It takes a lot for me to open up about my past but today I’ve been prompted to.

Since we bought our house last December I’ve been trying to take out life insurance and once again I’ve been rejected based on my mental history. As an Actuary by profession, I understand about insurance liabilities and why someone may be classed as too “ill” to be covered – I’m NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE! I don’t have terminal cancer, I’m not (nor have I ever been) suicidal and I’m not currently a risk to my own health.

Yes, when I was at my worst, my condition threatened my life – that was EIGHT years ago! Since then I’ve finished my GCSEs, finished my A-Levels, graduated from the University of Manchester with (very almost) a first in Actuarial Science and Mathematics, bought a house and had a very healthy baby girl. I’ve had struggles during that time, most people who have suffered mental illness will know that it never truly leaves you, but never once have I had a “relapse”. For the last couple of years, at least, I’d say that my relationship with food has been “normal”. I can’t understand why I keep getting rejected – the only reason I can think of is ignorance. As a lasting side-effect of my eating disorders I sometimes need a little extra support, specifically at those times that may cause me more anxiety. I had therapy throughout my final year at uni and during my pregnancy, not because I needed it but to protect myself so that it never got to the stage where I needed it. Part of recovery is realising that there are times you may need a little more support than others and need to act in the best interest of your whole self – not thinking you can handle things by yourself and letting them get bad before doing anything about it. And it is only ignorance that will see someone who is self-aware enough to know when they are vulnerable as someone who is still in the throes of a mental illness.

I have worked so very hard to get to the place that I am now, to feel happy in myself and have a life I can be proud of.  It makes me so incredibly angry and upset to think that people still don’t appreciate all of that hard work and that I’m still not able to move on from my, frankly, horrific past. All I want is to know that if something were to happen to me, my family would be financially ok, I don’t understand why I’m being denied that right due to something that I’ve worked so hard to remove as a factor of my life.

So thank you, insurance companies, for making me still feel singled out and still feel like I’m not good enough. I’m not sure what more I can do.

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