Thursday, 27 March 2014


I am beyond blessed to be living today and to be able to celebrate what makes today special - it is my 21st birthday!

I have so many mixed feelings about this day. Part of me does not even have time to celebrate because of all the work I have to do. Part of me does not want to think that I am already 21. Last year was a great birthday as well. But for the seven years before that, each birthday was clouded by ED. I could never have fun, enjoy my day, or even have a reason to live. For seven years, I suffered this way. But last year was different. Last year, I was recovering.

This year is different, too. This year, I am FULLY recovered. And I can feel the difference. There is no place for ED in my life anymore. Yes, there are still things that I am working on. For example, I still do not get hunger cues, and I still need to eat by the clock. I still get slightly uncomfortable if I feel too full after a meal. But, I am so much stronger now. If gaining weight makes me feel uncomfortable, I quickly ignore the feeling and realize that I am not fat. If feeling full bothers me, I realize that this is a normal feeling and it too shall pass. I can now look at my body and realize that I am not fat; I am healthy - and beautiful. And I am beautiful and unique, in my own way - because I am God's creation. Of course, I don't always have easy days. Some days are tough. But that is life. And we all have tough days. But now, I am learning how to cope with these days.

All of my experiences in the past 21 years have taught my numerous lessons. I'll be honest: my life has not been easy. I suffered with anorexia for seven years and nearly lost my life to this illness. Time and time again, I felt so overwhelmed by all my school work and I felt frustrated  and stressed. I've dealt with challenging situations in life. At times, I wanted to give up. I was tired of fighting, time and time again.

And some days, I still feel this way. But now, as I turn 21, I see how these experiences have turned me into the young woman I am today. I have learned to never give up, and to never stop fighting for my rights. I have learned to reframe each challenge as a tool that will make me stronger and wiser. I have learned that life does not get 'easier' - it is I, through the power and guidance of Christ, who becomes stronger. I have learned that I do not need to rely on others to give me happiness, appreciation, or praise. I have learned that each day I stay strong in recovery, eat all my meals and eat enough, and write my blog, I become more aware of why recovery was the best decision I ever made. I now see that each obstacle has made me the resilient and determined person I am. And no one can take this away from me. I refuse to let anyone or anything stand in my way of attaining success, happiness, and peace.

So, on my 21st birthday, I am grateful. I am thankful to God for keeping me alive. Each challenge I faced made me feel weak, angry, and sad. But now, looking back, I see why each situation happened. I changed because of each struggle I had. I became stronger, wiser, healthier, and happier. I learned lessons that no one could ever teach me - life alone taught me these lessons. I WILL be celebrating my birthday, because nearly dying in the ICU taught me how valuable and precious life is. I am blessed to be alive today, to have the chance to see what life looks like when one is not constantly hungry and starving to death. Is recovery always fun and games? No. But no one's life is always easy. My struggles have shaped me to become the girl I am today; a happy, healthy, strong young woman who will never give up on my dreams and will not allow anyone or anything to take away my inner peace and satisfaction. This alone is a reason to celebrate my 21st birthday. Happy birthday to me! I would not have come this far, nor would I be this strong and healthy, if it were not for the blessing of God, the love and support of all my friends and family, and the overwhelming kindness, love, and support that all my blog readers and online friends give me. THANK YOU. I am blessed to be living another year, fully recovered. 21, here I come!


  1. Happy Birthday


  2. God bless your days

  3. From a thankful mother to the best daughter person that I' ve ever met on line .
    From the bottom of my heart I wish you all the happiness .
    You the one who helped me to save my daughter.
    I am very grateful to you and I send you heart filled congratulation.
    You are in my heart for ever

    A thankful mother

  4. The best gift you are getting from God is your feeling of complete recovery.
    Nothing in life worth more than recovery after illness and suffering.
    When we catch alitttle flu ,we feel miserable and we feel the happiness and relief once flu is over.
    How about you and how much you had to endure.
    My hear send you the best congratulations

    Sam Ibrahim

  5. Amazing Card you are posting to celebrate the best birthday .

    Happy birthday lovely Marina


  6. Happy Birthday.
    Please enjoy it, you deserve


  7. The celbration of RECOVERY Birthday is unique .Hope you enjoy uniqiness of 21 birthday and full recovery


  8. YAAAA
    Happy Birth Day
    I wish you all the best



  9. Yahoooo
    Happy the 21 st best Birthday.


  10. I love the Card and I imagine myself sending this Card to you congratulating you for the a lnd mark Birthday .


  11. I congratulate you for your unique birthday and also for your resiliance and persistancy and motivation to completely recover and get rid of any remains of ED and be a role model and set an example for many of those who struggle with ED and mental health.

    Happy birhday Marina
    You desreve from all of us an standing ovation

    Kelly W

  12. Hey Happy Birthday.
    I read this post many times and every single word created many feeling,reflection and remembrance .
    I remember how I was sick and may be dying and how I was in (may not be denial ,but my brain was so sick to recognize my body illness)
    I remeber the moment that you sparked my decision to seek help.I rememebr my day in hospital and outpatient program.
    I remeber lsoing one year of school .
    But also I remeber my beatiful body and life after recovery.
    My heart is celbrating with you your Birthday,full recovery and also celebrating my recovery also ,thanks to you.


  13. You deserve the best

  14. Congrat


  15. First I congartaule you.
    Second I applaud and admire you for all your commitement to maintain comlete and full recovery without any relapse(I had many relapses ,my last one was 7 years ago).
    You are now working on the small stuff.
    I expect a very healthy happy life to you after I read that now even if you feal full or worry about being fat,you look at yourself and you see yourself not fat but beautiful.
    This is the wholemark of you are recovered.
    When I was ill ,I was just weak bones covered by ill dry skin and I was believing I was fat !!!
    recovery is really good.
    Happy Birthday

    Recovred ED survivor for 7 years without relapse

  16. Congrat.
    You are making a difference .
    Just reading this post make me have lots of hope in life that I will continue despite any failure


  17. Congratulation to the amzing 21 girl whom achieved what 81 can not achieve so far.
    Making a difference in full recovery from a serious and fatal disease as ED worth a big honour.
    You come to the sucess because you experienced some failure and that is how celebrity always says.

    Happy Birthday


  18. Enjoy your days of celebration.
    You are born again.
    God bless


  19. I'm “Yours truly a supporter and admirer ” I am in your program and year and I am really struggling, all I really eat is hot chocolate packets mixed with water and plain oatmeal mixed with water.

    I don't know how to ask for help. I've been to the student wellness centre for various things; pink eye, pap smears etc. No one expresses concern over my weight.

    I don't even know how to reach out for help.

    Yours truly a supporter and admirer :)

    1. Hi There
      The hardest step is the first one.
      Just reading Marina's blog and start asking for help is the hardest step and then things will follow.
      I urge you to reach out to Marina either personally or at least send your questions by email or through this blog.
      Waiting leads you through a slippery slope end by death.
      Please choose recovery and seek help.
      By the way Happy birthday Marina
      I wish I can tell you also happy recovery .

      S K

    2. I am Nanaraj
      If you are following Marina's blog ,you must know my struggle with ED and I was completely blind and not aware that I was very sick and was doing weird and silly behaviours around foods, cooking and eating till I came across this blog.
      One can argue why Marina motivated me more than family, friends and my doctor .I think knowing some one wearing same shoes and walking same road as you make you trust what that person is saying.
      I hope you will recover soon as I am now completely recovered and ED no place not only in my life but in my street and I hope my whole country.


    3. First congratulation Marina for a landmark birthday.
      Second I tell you most health care provider not aware of ED and not routine screening for it even in teenager who are at risk of ED .
      Also when doctors are client centred ,they only address your complains.
      So you have to inform doctors what problems you are having and trust them to help you.
      I agree with Marina seek HELP immediately

      Med student

  20. Thank you for being so supportive and welcome the my blog!
    I am sorry you are struggling. I know this feeling all too well, especially being in can be quite difficult to handle. No one seems to understand the importance of eating disorders and it isn't really on the list of things to check for during health assessments.
    You do need help. though. For safety, I would please ask that you personal message or email me, or please come find me at school to talk. I will not disclose your information to anyone, but if you cannot ask for help, I would really like to see you and find how I can best support you. If you know me, you know that I am not intimidating and will be more than supportive and I will try my nest to assist you. You are in my thoughts.

  21. Happy birthday to you Marina
    Reading this post not only makes readers sending message of congratulations for your twenty First birthday bot FIRST real birthday after your FULL recovery.
    You had been suffering for SEVEN years. I know how much you suffered .
    Nothing worth more than your full recovery ,and happiness.
    Your family has obligation to support you to make up for the misery that you had to endure for seven years .
    I am very proud of you.


  22. Millions congratulations


  23. Happy birthday
    Wish you good


  24. Congratulation for birthday and for now having stronger and deeper roots after the storm.
    You endured harsh years and it is time to have easier and happier life.


  25. Happy birthday Marina
    I am very impressed with the post and pictures and very touched by the 7 years of suffering.
    No more suffering God please.


  26. Wonderful 21 birthday card ,only for Marina
    Happy birthday
    You can see, feel and enjoy the benefits of full recovery


  27. Happy birth day my friend


  28. Very happy for you my Egyptian Friend on line.
    Your happiness and recovery is contagious and I am sure many others will recover and celebrate as you showed every body enough ED means go to Hill ED .ED not wanted at all.

    Your Iraqi friend on line

  29. Happy best birthday ever


  30. Congratulations


  31. Your recovery means a lot on your 21 Birthday


  32. Happy birthday


  33. Congratulations


  34. Happy for you my friend


  35. You deserve to celebrate and enjoy the day


  36. You deserve the beautiful 21 birthday card


  37. You need to celebrate your best ever birthday like a queen.
    Remember you are a GEM


  38. Hey
    Happy birthday Marina


  39. Congratulation big girl
    I was just finishing reading a book by Laura Day "welcome to crisis"
    Basically going into a crisis usually trigger people to change and proceed to success.
    You had terrible crisis and you suffered horandously from ED and this triggers in you a chnage and taking you to the top suscess.
    This post telling every body to do something and change to good.


  40. This is true "" you will never be brave till you get hurt.
    I am sure you braver ,stronger and talented now after you got hurt and beaten by ED .


  41. Happy birthday Marina
    I remeber I failed only one year and this was my first year at university.
    This triggers in me a plan to success and prepare myself and since then I have been passing my all exams .
    The failure led me to plan to succeed.
    The ED illness led you to recovery and success.
    Keep up the hope always.
    With my humble respect


  42. Congratulations 21st birthday should not be ever forgotten.
    I still remeber all my mistakes and I still aware of how to avoid making any again .I learnt more from my mistakes and misjudgement than from things I did right.
    Good post Marina and happy birhday


  43. Happy Birthday


  44. Happy birthday Marina


  45. Happy Birthday Marina,

    Your blog has been a blessing too me and others.

    I have also also been very fortunate in that my doctor got my problems when I saw her last week. It was reading your blog which gave me the courage to go again and a better way of saying it so that I was understood.


  46. Thank you, everyone! You all give me so much encouragement! God bless all of you. I am so proud of all of you for staying strong and taking care of your health :)


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