It has taken me a very long time to get to this point, many years in fact. You have heard me talk about my struggles with eating disorders on and off for 8 years. This is not a subject that I ever saw myself discussing, or being freed from. But here I am, the healthiest I have ever been and far away from self-destructive behavior. I have not had horrible habits or relapsed in at least five, maybe six, years.
Not only did the eating disorders take my time, confidence, and common sense, they stole my friendships. At the core, it was me and my decisions that pushed me away from beautiful, special people. I was unable to see this until very recently because I was blinded by my “flaws” and obsession.
All the eating drama began in high school where I had A LOT of friends. I had friends from church, school (I always attended very large public schools), sporting groups, and friends of friends. Growing up, I was very shy, but always felt pretty comfortable around my friends. I remember having to weigh ourselves in health class my freshman year of high school. Afterwards, everyone was asking each other, “How much do you weigh!?” Even the thin girls thought they were fat. I remember that number on the scale to this day and how it affected me in the most negative way. When I was on the scale, I cried. Somehow I thought my self-worth was lower because my weight was “higher.” Following that day, I found bulimia and began skipping meals. I would not eat in public, unless it was around my friends or family. It only got worse with time.
Some of my closest friends were very aware of my issues. Most were not. It wasn’t always easy to spot physically, but I recall how much it destroyed me emotionally and mentally. Through high school and college, I almost always chose my eating disorders over spending time with friends. My life was dedicated to working out before school, limiting my food intake, and going to bed early because I was exhausted from all the excursion. In college, I went out a lot. I would go dancing (to burn calories) and drinking (to forget how unhappy I was with myself). Often I would end up in tears over something minute or the ugliness I felt. It was all about ESCAPE. Escaping my negative thoughts and the fear of not being good enough.
In both high school and college, the closer I would become to my girlfriends, the more I would pick arguments. I do not like drama and am very sensitive, but this was part of my irrational thinking. I pushed away the people who tried to help. I would become angry over the little things, spend a lot of time locked in my room, and basically tried to hide all the hardships I was struggling with.
Looking back, it hurts my heart all the good people I lost. Mainly some people in high school who I trusted with my “secret.” I was selfish and jaded, and they walked away when I walked away. My best friends, however, never wavered. When I acted crazy, they gave me space, but not too much. They continued to ask me to participate in activities with them and wanted to spend time with me, whether they knew of my secret or not. Those people are still in my life, and I appreciate them even more now because I am not blinded by inner pain.
To those friends who I neglected, I am truly so sorry. I wish I could change things, but it all brought me here. To a place of forgiveness, love, acceptance, and positivity. I hope I can return some of the patience you had with me. To those friends who always chose to love, cherish, and stand by me, thank you. Thank you, thank you. I am so grateful for all the lessons I learned and all the people who taught me more about life.
Life is full of mistakes, lessons, and hardships, but also is full of new beginnings, great friendships, and love.
*If you know of anyone who is struggling with an addiction (alcohol, hard drugs, eating disorders, unhealthy habits, etc.), please choose love and patience. PRAY for them; prayer helps the most. Stand by them, and help whenever you can. Addiction is blinding and destructive, and these people need you and your friendships. Read and listen. Do not give up on them!!!