Alright, never did I EVER think I would be writing this blog. But truth be told, I’m feeling really confident today and have had this overwhelming feeling like telling my story will not only help me continue in my recovery, but may help others too! So here goes nothing…
Growing up I was an active young girl. I played competitive soccer and volleyball, I ran for fun, swam in my backyard, biked with all my friends and well pretty much did anything outside! I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. One could say, I lived a pretty “normal” childhood. I had great friends and family; whom always supported me and provided nothing but encouragement and a positive environment to grow up in.
It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school that things began to change.
- I was being recruited to play collegiate soccer (stressor #1)
- Changing soccer teams [this meant leaving the team I had played with since I was 8 years old] and going to a team that would help prepare my for the collegiate level (stressor #2)
- Dealing with some friendship issues (stressor #3)
- Rebelling out against my mom [She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, but we clashed heads a lot. Especially in my high school years] (stressor #4)
- I was letting my perfectionism get to the best of me-especially regarding school grades (stressor #5)
So all of this added up and I felt like I had completely lost control of my life. UNTIL….I found that I could control what I ate! This meant how much, what kinds of foods, etc. I took this and ran with it! So from June 2011 to about January 2012, I had lost a significant amount of weight. Because I was only 17, I was still considered a minor. So my parents decided to do what was best for me at the time, and get me some help! This meant going away to an inpatient hospital program for about 1.5 months to fully recover. While there I was able to gain all the weight back that I had lost, but never truly learned how to control WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! I graduated the hospital program and a couple months later graduated from high school too!
Fast forward a couple years, I was now in college and living the best life! The summer of 2014 I got accepted to work [as a Nurse Tech] at the hospital I ALWAYS wanted to work in when I graduated Nursing school. So I packed my bags and moved in with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle for the summer! Not only was I finally living in my dream town (Elk Rapids, Michigan) but that summer I also met my now husband<3. Life was going great and I was truly living the dream!
Until that following spring….my papa, whom I was very close to, lost his battle with Dementia and passed away. I was lost, HOW could he be gone? This is when things went downhill again…
- My papa passing away (stressor #1)
- Nursing school, which is incredibly tough! (stressor #2)
- The societal ‘norms’ of having a perfect body (stressor #3)
I went back to my controlling habits. This time it wasn’t only food, it was also over exercising! From June 2015-February 2016 I was eating MAYBE 1000 calories a day [being VERY strict about counting calories, and habitual about what I ate.] I had to get in ATLEAST one seriously demanding workout a day, usually about 60 minutes in duration + running all the time! Phew, just writing that is giving me anxiety again!
By the time February came around, my husband [boyfriend at the time] was threatening to leave me, I had become incredibly antisocial, had lost a ton of weight again, and was depressed. With the encouragement of my husband and family I seeked out help. This time I went through an outpatient program [that way I could finish out Nursing school…especially because I was graduating that April.] Man, I’m so glad I did! The difference between this program and the previous one was night and day. The counselors actually dug deep into WHAT the problem was and WHY I was acting the way I was. They helped me to learn to balance my eating habits, and good coping mechanisms for stressful times. I “graduated” from the outpatient program at the same time as Nursing school and truly felt like a new women!
Fast forward again to now! I’ve been “recovered” since May 2016, but I say recovered gently. I still have days where I feel crummy about my body, where I want to restrict food, and compare myself to others. But I use the tools I learned on a daily basis to keep me from going into that dark place again. What I put my body through was absolute hell, and the fact that I’m still here and able to do all the wonderful things I do [like bike, run, workout, yoga, cook, etc] is a true testament to how strong the human body can be. I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! CHEERS TO THAT!
Today’s society has some pretty harsh ‘norms’ which can be misleading and devastating to the younger generations. Praising the skinny, lean models and bashing the fuller, curvy women. Its so wrong! Not only that, but all the “quick-fix” diets that are around too…ugh it just disgusts me! One thing I’ve learned from my past experiences is that being present and appreciating the things in life that you DO have are what makes life so amazing.
To this day, I’m still struggling with some of the long term effects of having an eating disorder….but that’s for another post. I hope this helps anyone who is currently struggling! Just know, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT THE WORK IN TO SEE THE BENEFITS!