It simply starts like this.
How long do we hide the truth in order to be loved?
I was a classically-trained ballerina for a large portion of my life. As I tell people, it came with all the good (the flexibility and grace) and all the bad (the image issues and eating disorders). Had you asked me about this when I was 16, I would have told you I didn’t have a problem…because, well, I didn’t. I ate the most in our company and that was pretty apparent every time I put on a leotard. Now I look back at the photos and wonder how I was so tiny.
Fast forward to college. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia because my closest companions. But more then that, the self-loathing grew and when it was too big to handle, I needed something else to focus on. I feel for people with self-destructive behavior patterns, because no one starts such things because they are feeling bright and optimistic, they start because they need control over something, even if that something is totally awful for them.
It started with binge eating. Purging wasn’t far behind. But the need to have it all together still reigned supreme, and b&p was way to easy to catch. So you move on to missing meals intentional. Soon it becomes to normal that you are missing them on accident. You don’t even think and 48 hours goes by and you have had water, maybe some juice, but that is about all. Eventually in my case I was caught, which resulted in a trip to a therapist/nutritionist and an amazing chaplain-in-residence who constantly checked in in such away that didn’t give away a secret that I was slowly but surely working through.
Fast forward to now. In the the years that have been, I have so changed how I look at the past. Mostly, because it is still apart of my present. When life is overwhelming, when I can’t make the moments of anxiety go away, I find myself sheltering in. I hide from the world and it seems comfortable on day one. But weeks of this isn’t a viable solution to dealing with the difficulties of life. As the days end, I realize that my last meal was 36 hours prior, and the realization doesn’t surprise…it just is. And that is terrifying. Because nothing in life just is. There is so much more then that.
I can’t claim a magical fix to this. I can’t even jump up and say that I have overcome the horrors. But I can say that victory is mine and it comes with a lot of prayer, shall we say, constant whispered prayers. Because within all the hurt, pain and shame there is something larger then all of this. There is a reason for everything and maybe mine was simply for this day. For the girl who can’t take the mental anguish and decided to make it physical.
May it be for those who need to know that they aren’t alone.