1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 2000 – 500 – 60 – 30 – 400 = ??? Banana, 90. Pizza, 150-300. Apple, 100. Coffee, 0.

For someone who hates math as much as I do, you would never know by looking at my life. In 2011 my life became a complete numbers game. Counting steps, squats, calories, meals, snacks, bites, and heartbeats. I couldn’t stop. I was addicted.

It was almost like someone else was inside my head directing my brain (cue scene from Spongebob where Plankton is in Spongebob’s brain with a controller – yup, I watched too much Nickelodeon growing up!). I was totally gone and no longer the commander of my own ship. I fell prey to whatever the demons in my mind wanted from me and all these demons wanted, was for me to deteriorate. They wanted me to dissolve into thin air.

Have you ever seen those CSI type of crime shows where they have the giant white board you can see through, with lots of numbers, algorithms, and it just looks like complete chaos? Yet, there’s always one person in the room that knows exactly what each marking means…

I was that one person understanding all of the chaos and the board is what I saw every time I opened my kitchen cabinet, the fridge, or stared at the dinner plate in front of me.

“Looking for a snack? Sorry, first you must calculate every possible option and then verify with your disillusioned mind to see if you actually deserve to eat it. Spoiler alert: You don’t deserve it and starving looks great on you.”

My mind was so vicious and I always let my eating disorder win.

I would often become paralyzed in fear by the calories and nutritional content staring back at me that I’d walk away in tears, craving food more than when I began my search.

But I wouldn’t break, I couldn’t. I told myself how far I’ve come and to give in now would just be a waste.

All those days spent without food, all wasted for one granola bar? No way, Jose. You can hold out a little bit longer.

I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to be seen as weak as my anorexic mind told me I was, if I gave in and ate something.

Every time I walked away with no food in hand, my eating disorder won yet another battle against me and more of who I truly was, disappeared.

My eating disorder broke me down. The empty shell of a human that I became, crumbled to the floor. There was nothing left of me. My mental illness destroyed all of who I was.

And quite honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for that wretched disease now. It gave me the opportunity to rebuild myself from the ground up. My journey of recovery was my new beginning. Now, I could amplify the best characteristics about myself and leave the toxic traits behind.

My dedication, determination, my loving nature and big heart. My willingness to explore and my desire to succeed, all united to create the person I am today.

I learned to love myself, to appreciate the concept of being alive, I learned to believe in a power greater than myself and I surrendered to this loving force.

By entering recovery, I was also forced to leave my mentally abusive relationship and all the life-threatening strings that were attached to it. The freedom this instilled in my life is impossible to explain. At the time, I honestly thought the only way to escape was through death – either his or mine – and I was 110% on board with my two options.

Truth be told, all it took was a restraining order against him, a new sense of confidence, and a burning passion for living life again.

There are still days where the numbers want to come out and play, but I’ve progressed along my journey and reached a point where I can see the devilish digits, push them away, and continue with my day.

I no longer equate my weight with my self-worth and I finally understand the importance of nourishing my body with the proper vitamins and nutrients it needs.

My journey to recovery was a long windy road and I will forever be a passenger along this ride. I accept that and I embrace this life along with all the new lessons I will learn and the mental strength I will continuously develop.

I’ve also made it my mission to help others avoid the immense amount of suffering that accompanies mental illness and I’ve dedicated my life to proving that you can live the life of your dreams.

As soon as you take control of your own life, claim responsibility for your actions, and declare that you want to be happy, that you want to be loved, that you want to be enough… I promise you – you will be.

I’m Marissa Panè, a life coach for aspiring creative entrepreneurs living with depression and anxiety.

As a teenager I was diagnosed with clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder and my life was almost cut short due to a crippling battle with anorexia. Since restoring my mental health, I’ve made it my mission to help anyone and everyone avoid the suffering that accompanies mental illness.

Over the past few years, from January 2013 to present day, I’ve rebuilt myself. These are the years that I’ve embraced the practices of self-love, DBT, tapping, meditation, yoga, and so much more.

I’m a completely different person today than I was 5 years ago and I’m living a life I never thought could be mine.

I offer online courses dedicated to teaching you radical self-love and how to fall in love with your life through simple mindset shifts, in addition to offering 1:1 coaching sessions.

If you would like to learn more, work together or feature me at one of your events, please email:marissapane@spiesfittofight.com

Marissa can be found on her Facebook, Twitter, and website.