We are privileged to share another vulnerable story with you: E talks about one of the all-time lows in her life, a situation she didn’t think she’d survive. We’ve all faced those moments when our choices or the choices of others catch up to us, and we realize that our lives aren’t looking the way we intended or expected. When faced with the temptation to give up, E discovered she had more resources within and without herself than she expected. And as she looks back, she can see the beauty that came out of a dark place:
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was in 7th grade. The eating disorder is not uncommon among teenage girls. It started slowly–just working out more, cutting out breads–but as time went on, the exercising became longer and more intense, and I ate a mere 1000 calories a day.
Did you know in order just to survive laying in a bed doing nothing your body needs a minimum of 1500 calories a day?
With this fact in mind, my body was burning whatever it had to lose at an alarming weight. My parents finally noticed and sent me off to the Children’s Hospital of Denver; I had dropped to an all-time low of 79 lbs. I spent three weeks in what I thought at the time was the most horrible place on earth. I was stuffed with around 4,000 calories a day, and I put on 20 lbs. in the three weeks I was there.
Once I came home, the real struggles began. I had to eat lunch in the nurse’s office instead of the cafeteria with everyone else. I was a stick figure, drifting through life without spark in my eyes. I hid food, tried turning bulimic, anything to prevent the inevitable weight gain I needed to get healthier. I remember crying on my bedroom floor after a big meal and thinking I wanted to end my life because I was miserable.
That was 5 years ago. To be honest, I’m not sure how I made it through those years of struggle, but I’m sure glad I found the strength to. I’m now going to college to play the sport I love, and if I hadn’t battled to recover from my eating disorder I would not be enjoying the opportunities I have now. I am basically completely recovered, but once you go through an eating disorder there will always be that little voice in the back of your head that sticks with you. This is how I know I’m stronger from that experience: whenever that voice tells me, “Don’t eat. You’ll get fat, then no one will want you,” I can fight back and shut it up. I am winning.
Here’s what else I know: I am loved. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God. And so are you. Don’t ever feel afraid to reach out for help; whenever I’m feeling weak I pray or ask my mom to talk. You will find people who will be there for you, and you will discover that you are stronger than you think. Honestly, if I could go back in time and have the chance to redo any life experiences I’m not sure I would change a thing. I am who I am today because of what I’ve been through. Life experiences change you, and that’s not bad. It’s true that everything happens for a reason. Embrace the life you were given; live, laugh, and love to your fullest.
Are you facing a tough circumstance? Find someone safe to talk to. We’re here if you need to find a safe place with straight answers and people who care.