My twisted outlook on appearance and how it changed me
This is my personal story of Anorexia.
I guess you could say my image dysmorphia really started when I was around the age of nine or ten years old. I had two very close friends, their names were Nicole and Mikayla. They were the popular girls in our little elementary school friend group, and I was the tag along friend. I wasn't necessarily unpopular or made fun of by any means. I always had a good amount of friends. But girls now a days look at magazines, television shows, and instagram just to gawk at other women of beauty; to be jealous of them in hopes of one day looking just like that. Whatever "that" may be. To me, my "that" was to be tall, skinny, with perfect teeth and hair, physically fit in all the right places, but also have a Victoria Secret model sized waist. To be "that" perfect girl that everyone else wanted to be. The "that" which all my friends seemed to be morphing into while I was stuck with all the other girls looking 'normal.' I suppose you could say I was mentally anorexic from a young age, and my skewed perception of myself only got worse as I entered into high school. I was never once called fat or even chubby. (Maybe a few times by my mean relatives). I was always considered small, healthy, fit, active, and strong. But for some reason, whenever I looked in the mirror. I saw someone disgusting. I thought everyone was lying to me, and just talking about me behind my back.
During my time in high school I played basketball for two years and soccer for six. My highest weight in high school was around 150 lbs at 5'4", which I considered to be obese. As high school went on, I lost my 'baby fat' that a lot of girls lose in high school, and went down to around 130. I graduated high school that spring and attended college in the fall; that's when it really hit me.
My freshman year of college I played soccer, and studied to be a biologist with am emphasis in chemistry. The school I chose to go to was not cheap by any means, it was a rich, preppy, luxury school where all of the students had money for cars, gyms, expensive lifestyles; and as well as the students who didn't, like me, didn't make that many friends. I had no friends on the soccer team, and hardly any friends on campus regardless of living there. This threw my mental state back to my time of being the tag along friend, wondering if it was because I wasn't pretty enough, or skinny enough, to be friends with the girls of this luxury school. So, the winter of my freshman year I decided to make some changes.
I began my routine by waking up very early in the morning, and heading to the cafeteria. Where I would make a salad with one egg, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, very light cheese, and occasionally ham. I would eat this and drink two glasses of water before heading down to the gym where I would work out for 45 minutes minimum. My workouts would consist of one mile on the treadmill, machine weights for arms, ab workouts, and 40 minutes on the bike... This is the routine I held for exactly one month until my weight had dropped from 137 down to 118. I quit the soccer team after suffering a knee injury after my weight loss. I met a boy, who I thought at the time was only interested in me because of my weight loss. I would drink a lot on the weekends, but refused to eat anything. I would also take laxatives, to get rid of anything sitting in my stomach that may be adding any weight. During the end of the month we had a Donut Day at a recreation center at the college. I attended with my friends, and ended up eating three donuts. I cried that night as I chugged water and laxatives. I tried to make myself throw up several times, but nothing working to get them out of my stomach.
I went home that weekend to visit friends, and I knew I had come a long way when my family, and friends of the family, commented on my weight loss. I was proud of myself, proud I was able to lose all the weight I wanted in such a short amount of time, and proud people were actually complimenting me. Just like the skinny girls.
The next month, my self esteem had gone up so much I started to eat regularly again. However, after starving myself for a month the weight came back relatively fast. It took three years however to get back to the 135s, since I was careful not to over due it.
I still struggle mentally with my appearance to this day, and sometimes even wish I had the strength to be anorexic all over again. But, I enjoy my active lifestyle, I enjoy my friends, and I enjoy not feeling cold, tired, sleepy, and in pain all day long. I wish I could eat like the skinny girls, and look just like them. But for some of us, it's either one of the other. But, I have also found that people love me now for my personality and smarts. This isn't elementary school anymore, and I deserve to be the best version of me. I deserve to be happy. Sometimes I wonder if there really is a true cure to mental anorexia, or if it's just something you have to force yourself to get over eventually.
Thank you for reading. This isn't meant to be a trigger to anyone, this is just my personal story and struggles.