I was in seventh grade, and I had a great life overall. At the time, I had a group of friends that didn’t treat me right, and had entirely the wrong set of values in mind. This really affected my confidence, and just my personality in general. Around mid-September, I decided to lose weight (even though I was at a healthy weight). I started eating a bit healthier, replacing chips with nuts and chocolate with fruit. I started working out and stretching, and I felt really good. It didn’t last long, though.
I remember being in health class, and we were learning about eating disorders, the first I’d ever heard of them. I remember watching a movie about anorexia and thinking “I wish I had that.” How absolutely sick is that? My little twelve year old mind wanted to have an “attractive” body so badly that I actually wished for a mental illness. Unfortunately, by that point, the onset of one had already begun.
The first time I skipped a meal on purpose was late October.
My family and I were having dinner together, and my mother had prepared what was one of my favorite meals. I normally would have been excited, but for some reason, as soon as I smelled it, I felt a panic rise up within me. I decided I wasn’t going to eat. I sat down at the table with the rest of the family and just moved the food around with my fork. After a little while, my parents noticed I wasn’t eating and asked if I was doing alright. I lied and said my stomach was hurting and asked if I could go upstairs to my room, trying to ignore my mother’s look of worry, tainted with a hint of suspicion. I got into bed, unsure of why I had done what I did. I told myself it was to be “pretty.” Stomach growling, tears dripping onto my pillowcase, I fell asleep.
Anorexia had fully taken root within me. I began throwing away my lunch, exercising constantly, and checking myself in the mirror at every chance I had, criticizing every flaw. Clothes began to fit me like bags, my eyes became sullen and hollow, I was tired all the time, my lips and fingers became pale and tinted blue, and my bones became prominent. But then came the cherry on top of it all: depression. I no longer wanted to do anything. I stopped enjoying things I used to love and stopped hanging out with my friends. I lost myself. I would cry all the time without any reason I could pin point, and still somehow convinced myself that it was normal to be this way. I hated myself so much. I thought I was fat, hideous, disgusting, worthless, unlovable, and friendless. I became suicidal. I won’t go into detail about that, but it was absolutely terrible and I wish it upon no one.
My parents came to me one day, both of them torn between anger, despair, and a whirlwind of other emotions. A few of my closest friends to this day had gone to the guidance counselor and told her about how I had been throwing away my lunch everyday. My parents asked me why I was doing this to myself. I couldn’t answer. I didn’t realize why until recently. I was trying to kill myself. It was a form of suicide, what I was doing to myself.
We went to the doctor’s office a few days later to get my health checked out. I was still in complete denial, I convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. I was convinced that I had only lost a few pounds, at most.
I stepped onto the scale and watched the numbers form before my eyes. I was shocked by what I saw.
I was 67 pounds, severely underweight. It was petrifying, finding out that your whole reality was a lie. Within the next couple of weeks, I got a therapist, a nutritionist, and a psychiatrist to help me get better. The healing process was absolute hell, I can promise that, but I am so thankful that I got through it with the help of the endless love, encouragement, and support from my friends, family, and doctors. Two years later, I have learned to make friends with my flaws, and I am now happier and healthier than I’ve ever been.