Alyonka Larionov has been through a lot with her battle with Anorexia Nervosa. Linked to it, there has also been Bradycardia, Hyponatremia, Osteopenia, Anemia, Hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, broken ribs, a non-existent menstrual cycle, a full-fledged nervous system collapse, temporary facial paralysis and more. She revealed her gruesome battle with the disease earlier this year, and since, has taken the time to share deep secrets on her recovery, her fights and her personal story.
Again on Monday, Alyonka shared another tough chapter of her life with the disease of Anorexia Nervosa. In a poignant posting on her personal Facebook account, Alyonka talked about the role Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin played in her road to recovery. She posted this moving text, entitled 28/31 || Deny + Deflect.
"Many of us are in denial that anything is wrong. This goes for any bad habit, addiction, self-harm, etc. We’ll do anything to say: we’re just fine! Take for example, instagram. VERY few of us actually show what’s going on behind closed doors, because, we’re just fine! Better to seem perfect than to showcase imperfections. Heaven forbid we’re HUMAN!
.As you know, the image I portrayed via social media and to friends was one where I WAS LIVING THE LIFE! Working! Building my career! Making money. Traveling! Looking good-ish (remember: body dysmorphia had me believing I looked like shit). I stopped this highlight reel on April 16, 2017 and the reaction was a whole lot of THANK YOUS. From you. And from me. Because faking it was hard as hell.
.Why Ovi. Because at some point, my disease became obvious to those outside my immediate family. Those who stood within my immediate circle. Those who knew me before it started ravaging me. I’ve known this guy since we were 13/14. Swipe left. That’s Ovi with my dad. That’s when we met. He knows my family. I know his. He played on Dynamo with my Uncle (hi @arzygm). Our lives have been intertwined. He knew me before I started looking real thin. And that’s when you know things are not going so well- when the “oh my god, should we say and do something” goes beyond the family circle.
.This was Vegas. The NHL Awards. He asked if everything was okay. I, of course, deflected, as I still do to this day (it’s partly why I’m good at interviewing because I NEVER make it about me). He wasn’t satisfied + afterwards had a lengthy conversation with my sister. Something needs to be done, he said.
.She relayed the message but I didn’t listen. Everyone BACK THE F OFF. I’M FINE. (d e n i a l)
.He did. We got back to normal. Discussing the red carpet for the NHL Awards, we agreed to do a funny bit for our interview. The strange thing is that it never happened because as Ovi approached, one of the media reporters fell to the ground from having a seizure. I was panic-stricken. So was Ovi. So was everybody else. He looked at me worrisome (d e n y + deflect).
.I mean this when I say it, that when my ER doctor said “I’m surprised you haven’t experienced seizures. Your levels are that bad” the first thing I thought about was that moment on the red carpet. If only I’d listened then. I hadn’t. And I never got to say “im sorry, you’re right”, to anyone for that matter. To Ovi. To my friends. To my family. For putting up with me while I denied denied denied and deflected all the way up to almost tipping over to death.
.I don’t know what the answer is to this. But what I can say is, for those of you dealing with someone like me: don’t stop trying. We hear you even if it doesn’t seem that way. Even though we push you away. Even though it hurts. I promise. You never know which time will help nudge us into that much needed step in the right direction. Please don’t give up. Cuz we need you, even if we don’t say that we do."
Alyonka works hard now to maintain her recovery and new lifestyle, and now looks to speak with other women affected by the disease. And she reaches mullions of them on the internet with moving posts like this one.
Keep up the great work!