An Open Letter To My Eating Disorder

An Open Letter To My Eating Disorder

I am in charge of my life now.
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Dear Eating Disorder,

You came into my life without no shame. When I was being bullied in elementary school, you convinced me that if I got “thin” then I would be accepted and the bullying would stop. It turns out that it was a lie, but you still stuck around.

In the beginning, you introduced me to “good and bad foods”. Carbs were the enemy, cookies were the enemy, milk was the enemy, and pizza was the enemy. Secretly starving my body of the nutrients it needed just to measure up to your standards. Then, to make matters worst, you convinced me I was worthless and not good enough because I wasn’t an honor roll student like my cousins and sister.

The vicious cycle continued through high school. You honestly made high school the worst four years of my life. You still egged me on about how I was dumb, stupid, and how I would never make it to college. You were my bully, but I was weak because I loved you. You somehow made me focus more, you gave me anxiety about tests and quizzes, which made me study all night without or very little sleep. It was safe to say I was addicted to you.

I didn’t want you out of my life because you made me feel safe. You were my cocoon, but my dark place. A dark place where I would isolate myself from the world and because of that I lost friends because I was so committed to you.

One day, I developed this feeling, this feeling of being sick and tired. I was on the borderline of life and death. You were killing me slowly and I decided that I wanted to live. I chose life. I chose happiness.

The day I chose me over you, was hard and I felt selfish, but it was you making me feel those feelings. I went forwarded with treatment breaking free from the chains slowly.

Now I am in college. Now I am putting myself first when I need to. You keep trying to come back into my life, but I refuse to let you back in. Sometimes I miss you, but honestly most of the time I don’t. I am in the process of moving onto to bigger and better things in life. I can eat a slice of pizza, I can have a cookie if I want to, and I can eat carbs, but most of all I’m not worthless, I am not dumb or stupid, and I can be happy.

I will not let you back in...”ED”. That’s a fact. I am in charge of my life now.

Cover Image Credit: erinstuddardfitness.com

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5 Things I Really Wish I Knew ~Before~ Losing My Virginity

Advice to our younger selves.
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Everyone has a first time. We're all at different stages of our lives when it happens, which impacts how we approach the situation and how we feel about it immediately after and in reflections. Some people idealize their first time, some people regret it, some people feel nothing about it. I agonized over my virginity.

I wanted nothing more than to throw it at the first willing participant. I felt that it made me someone inferior to my friends who had already had sex, like somehow I was missing out on some great secret of life or somehow I was less mature than them. I spent a lot of time wishing it would just happen, and then one day, it did when I wasn't expecting it. I don't regret my first time, but because I had wished for it to happen for so long, I had built up this image in my head of how it would be that was completely unrealistic.

So, this is for those girls like me whose imaginations get the best of them. Here are some tips to ease your worries and prepare you for what it's really going to be like.

1. It's going to be awkward.

Not just the first time, every time. No matter how much porn or how many blogs or erotic fiction you read, you will not have any idea what you're doing. The other person probably won't, either. There are too many variables, and you're both so concerned with doing it well, you'll be focused on too many things to properly control your limbs.

2. Don't think about your body.

The angles that are required for things to work leave both participants in awkward positions with limbs in strange places. Don't look at your body; don't even think about where your limbs are. Just keep your eyes and mind on the other person and what they're doing and how you're feeling. If you're feeling bad, let them know, so you can change it. If you're feeling good, enjoy it.

3. Don't do it drunk.

Not even a little tipsy, at least not for the first few times. Alcohol throws in another variable and another reason your limbs are flailing listlessly on top of other unforeseen complications. Just wait until you've had a little practice to introduce alcohol into the mix. You want to actually remember your first time and understand what's going on.

4. You're not going to feel any different after.

I expected to feel a weight being lifted or some newfound maturity, but I really didn't feel any different at all. That's because I really was just the same girl as before. Finally having lost this imaginary flower didn't make me physically any different at all.

5. You're going to feel something.

There wasn't some profound emotional release afterward, either, but I did feel a little different. Again, not in the sense that something had actually change, but I felt different because I had placed so much importance on this, on having sex, and now it had happened. I wanted there to be some big release or celebratory moment, but really, I just felt the same. I didn't even feel a little more mature or experienced. I was positive that if I ever did it again, I would still have absolutely no idea what to do (which was true).

Cover Image Credit: Seventeen

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My Tattoos Are Helping Me Heal From My Depression And Anxiety

My relationship with my body and myself is improving every day, and I credit this as one of the reasons.

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I'm in recovery from an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. It's safe to say that mental health has become a significant part of my life over the last couple of years.

I have three tattoos which are all mental health related, and I like to think that each one represents a different condition I have and the struggles and triumphs that I've had in recovery. The first is a lotus flower on my arm, which symbolizes something beautiful coming out of darkness, as the lotus grows in dark, muddy water, and turns into something beautiful. This represents my anxiety, and all the dark days I've had with it, as well as all the beauty that has come from me dealing with my mental illness head-on.

My second tattoo is a Maya Angelou quote, "Still I Rise" on my ankle, which I got the first time I discharged from a higher level of care for my eating disorder. This tattoo represents my ongoing struggles with my eating disorder and the fact that even though I've been knocked down several times, I will continue to rise and fight this illness.

My last tattoo is a semicolon on my wrist, which is representative of my battle with depression. It is inspired by Project Semicolon which states that an author has the choice to end a sentence, but when they use a semicolon they choose to carry on and keep going. This is especially powerful in the context of suicide prevention, and my own personal struggles with suicidal ideation.

I believe that these pieces are helping me heal in a number of ways. First, I am extremely proud of how far I've come in my mental health journey, and I love to talk and be open about this experience. I feel I can wear this tattoos proudly, as almost battle scars that show where I've been and where I'm still headed. I feel a sense of pride looking at each of them every day, and believe they keep me going even when I'm struggling.

Second, my tattoos represent parts of my body that I actually truly appreciate, and enjoy. So much of my life has been me hating my body, and my eating disorder really contributes to that. My tattoos give me something on my body that I don't want to pick apart, and this has helped me progress towards body neutrality and acceptance.

Finally, my tattoos show that I am an ally for others struggling with mental health issues, and they also help start and continue the dialogue. Just recently I was out at dinner and explained to a family friend the premise of the semicolon tattoo and why it's so meaningful to me.

My family has known about this tattoo for almost a year and got a renewed understanding about depression and suicide prevention in my talking about it. I am so proud that my tattoos spark conversation about mental health and my own struggles, and show others that I am there for them as well.

I love getting asked about my tattoos, what they mean, and why I got them. They are helping me heal through some of the most challenging parts of this journey, and I'm glad to tell everyone who asks about what I've been through and to remind them that I am a mental health ally as well.

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