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Many teenage girls suffer from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. All of them are a type of mental illness acquired by thoughts of being ugly, fat, or not being good enough. One look in the mirror and the trash talk begins. You are your best friend; you are your own worst enemy. There are a lot of articles out there talking about eating disorders. Some are full of facts while others are retold life experiences, which this one is. I haven’t been diagnosed with anorexia, my demon was, and still is, depression.
During my battle, I had symptoms of anorexia and binge eating. My “not eating” stage lasted for six months. I threw out my sack lunches at school. I skipped an after school snack. I had one tiny bowl of cereal for breakfast and ate a “normal” serving at dinner. I slowly worked into barely eating, I had to perfect my lying: I’m not hungry, my stomach hurts, I ate before I came, I had a huge lunch. I stopped eating regularly and began doing push ups and sit ups when I woke up in the morning and before I went to bed. It burned the calories I actually did consume and work off some that I didn’t. I weighed myself everyday after school, after using the bathroom of course. I started when I was 121 lbs, which for my size was considered normal. After three months, I became 95 lbs. I still hated my body, hated food, and hated eating. I constantly reminded myself:
No one likes fat people.
Your friends will leave you.
No boy will love you.
Just a wasted human God created.
You’ll be the single lady with 99 cats.
Everyone’s skinnier than you.
I bullied myself every hour of the day. I wrote hate notes to myself to read later. I tore myself apart, piece by piece. It was the worst six months of my life. The pain inside grew, it grew so strong I gave into harming myself. I didn’t cut, I don’t like blood, especially my own blood. I took pins and scratched as hard and as long as I could. The pain never subsided. My friends didn’t notice my new behavior. They didn’t notice how depressed I was, I hid everything so well. Baggy clothes to hide my ghastly body, long sleeves to hide the scars, and a smile to top it off. It was so believable, I was happy. Right?
My demon was winning, but there was no fight, I already gave up. I didn’t even try to beat it. One mental disorder opens the door to a new one. Soon you’re stuck in a maze of emotions and temptations with no sense of direction. No light shining on the right path. No angel guiding you. You have no map.
I wanted death, longed for it. All the pain would float away and my life would be over. Poof. I thought about suicide. I thought about it a lot. My life was pointless, I was taking up space. I was using air. I was nothing.
After six months, I gained all the weight back. Binge eating became my new habit. Cookies. Chips. Candy. Chocolate. Popcorn. Cake. Ice cream. If it was junk food, I ate it. I craved every type of comfort food known to man. I ate three full bowls of cereal. Whatever my friends didn’t finish at lunch, I ate. I became their trash can, why walk to throw something out when I’ll eat it? Seconds at dinner? Hit me up. All you can eat buffett? I’m game.
The suicidal thoughts were gone as fast as they came. My happiness was food. My best friend was food. My life was all about food. When I wasn’t eating something, I was watching the Food Network Channel, craving food. Food was on my mind 24/7. At least it was better than death.
A couple months after my binge eating phase, I stopped eating again. I realized how “fat” I became and that I shouldn’t let myself go like that. No food for fatty. A couple months after starving myself, I shoved food in my mouth. Give me a huge piece of cake. One scoop of ice cream? No way, load it up. My phases became a cycle, to this day the cycle comes and goes. It isn’t as regular as before, but it’s just as bad. I have the strength to stop the bad habit before it gets serious, but I can’t end it. I can’t always starve. I can’t always want to marry food. Just recently I came to understand that I’m going to live with it my whole life until it fades away.
I started therapy and began taking anti-depressants. My mood swings are under control, I’m not super happy one second and then rock bottom sad the next. The meds have leveled out my emotions and have balanced the chemicals in my brain. (Yeah, certain chemicals can lessen when having a mental illness, that’s why you take meds. Not to get you drugged up, but to start producing the chemicals again.) I see my therapist, Leslie, once a month now. I used to see my old therapist, Jessie, every other week. But my meetings with her are a totally different story. I was embarrassed at first to start counselling, society makes it out to be for messed up people. I was messed up but why would I admit that? In my opinion though, everyone should go through counseling, it’s so helpful. There is a type security blanket you get handed when you know someone is always there for you.
I look up to Leslie. She understands my situations and gives advice and shows me how to handle different things. I can’t thank her enough for her constant support and believing in me to conquer depression. She’s the light that God gave me to find my way. She’s my guide to be free of this demon.
I look up to Demi Lovato for taking control of her life and deciding to get better. She’s so real, unlike other celebrities. Hearing her story gave me even more hope, if Demi could get over it, so can I. So many girls look up to her now, she’s a role model and she embraces that title with a smile. Demi was broken, just like I was. Her heart was in one corner, her brain in another. It’s comforting to know that famous actors and singers go through the same things normal people do. She picked herself up off the ground and got helped, she healed. She’s healthy and ready to face life head on. I love Demi. She is my inspiration. When I feel like giving up, I remember her story and dust myself off. I can get better just like she did
If you’re suffering from a mental illness, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even strong beings need help sometimes. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can raise your head and smile. If you need to vent, the people around you, love you. They’d love to listen to you than cry over your death. You may think dying will make things easier for you, but what about those who love you? Do you really want them to suffer for the rest of their life?
Want to help a family member or a close friend? Offer to listen and help. Just telling her you love her and will be there through everything, will make her feel better. Offer your shoulder. Offer her a Kleenex. Always offer her a hug.
Don’t be afraid.
Everyone deserves happiness, even you.
No one is worthless.
Life is worth the pain.
Let’s raise suicide prevention.
Let’s spread the word that eating disorders and mental illnesses are not choices.
You didn’t ask to be this way.
You are loved. By friends. By family. By parents. By God.
Don’t give up.
I believe in you.
As Demi Lovato says, stay strong.