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I remember we all went around the table and said what our resolutions were. I said, “Pass Earth Science, and get pretty.”
People are always defending their disorders, saying that they don’t develop them out of vanity. But for me, that’s what started it. It really was that shallow.
What people with eating disorders never say: “I really wanna lose some weight so I think I’m just gonna go anorexic for like a couple weeks or something idk lol txt itttt.”
What I did say: “I will be pretty again.”
For me, my confidence and my happiness has always been directly related to my appearance. When I was little, people told me I was pretty all the time. That was sort of my thing. I wasn’t particularly good at anything, but at least I could count on being prettier than most people. It is so superficial and stupid, but that was important to me. When I hit puberty in middle school, and I gained some weight and I wasn’t a perfect, petite little thing anymore, I hated myself. I spiraled into an incredible depression because of this. I would look in the mirror and start crying uncontrollably, because the person I saw wasn’t pretty but she was definitely me and I hated that. So when they asked me what my resolution was, I said it was to “get pretty.”
I started by coming up with a simple and healthy diet plan: three meals a day, and one light snack. That soon became three light meals a day and no snack. And then it was 600 calories a day. And then it was eat as little as possible without passing out. And then, well, passing out isn’t so bad.
I was losing so much weight and I couldn’t stop. At my lowest, my BMI was 12.7. Going through recovery was torture, because no one seemed to understand how important it was for me to be thin. I finally got to a healthy weight around mid-2008. I was exercising obsessively to try to make up for the extra food I was forced to eat. Then I wore myself out so much, and I thought about how my future was just going to be constant exercising because I could never stop. I felt so trapped. I stopped exercising completely. And then I started eating more. And then I couldn’t stop. I could never not be eating. At first, I was going through apples and pears and all kinds of fruit like they were the only things in the world. Then I started binging on other things. I had to eat things. I would go to the kitchen in the middle of the night and eat thousands of calories worth of food. Sometimes I would purge it. Sometimes I wouldn’t.
I gained weight, and I hated myself again. I would look in the mirror and cry again. I could not stand who I had become. I wasn’t even remotely pretty. I was disgusting. That was when my depression was the worst. I thought about killing myself, and do you want to know why I didn’t? I didn’t want to die fat.
Towards the end of 2009, I started seriously restricting again. I would fall into these horrible patterns of restriction and binging, and I could never just be normal. In 2010 and 2011, and I managed to lose about twenty pounds. I wasn’t as disgusting as I was, but I wasn’t pretty, either. And the whole point of all of this was just to be pretty.
2013 was an important year for me. I started to learn how to keep up a fairly normal diet and exercise routine. I lost weight, but I was eating and I was healthy. And when I looked in the mirror, sometimes I smiled. Sometimes I said, “Yes. That’s what I’ve been looking for.”
I’m happier now than I’ve been since this whole thing began. I feel so much more like me. There are still days when I feel awful and ugly, and all I want to do is stay in bed and hide from everyone. But there are many more days when I want to put on a cute outfit and go outside and let myself be seen. And after all of this, what finally got me where I wanted to be was just living a healthy lifestyle. It sounds so simple, but it’s so, so hard. But it is possible. And trust me, it’s worth it.
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