As a young girl, I have always struggled with body image issues. I was never the skinniest, but I was never the biggest. Growing up, I ate everything. I was never a picky eater. Yeah, I was always aware that I was bigger, I had rolls, but I was also super athletic. I played basketball ever since I could walk, so that was pretty much my excuse for eating whatever I wanted.

However, as time went on the media said how every girl should look, eat, wear, and breathe. And it was EVERYWHERE. It was a living nightmare, especially for me. I would always tell myself that I should look like that, not aware of the fact that the media is a mastermind at photoshop and cover-ups.

Now, I am not blaming the media for everything because my childhood growing up was definitely anything far from a walk in the park. But that conversation is for another day, so just take my word for it. The struggles I have had growing up definitely played a role in the development of my eating disorder. I mean, how could it not?

Let me fast forward to around March 2017 of my junior year, which is when I decided to go vegan. At first, it was because I wanted to change my eating habits. I wanted to lose weight, and be thinner. Believe it or not, there were a good amount of vegans in my school, so I was inspired. Eventually, I had done research on what veganism was all about and what happens to the animals and yeah that is also for another conversation. As you can guess my diet had gotten a lot stricter and I started working out like a crazy person. But, I was still eating normally, maybe a little healthier, but I did not restrict any food. *foreshadowing*

In August 2017, a month before my senior year is when everything went downhill. I fell into the world of social media. I went on these crazy diets, while vegan, and started counting my calories. I was still working out a lot, but I began to weight lift, which had changed my life to this day. I was so brainwashed into the fact that I need fast results, just like the media shows. Those "21 day fixes" or "Lose up to 10 pounds in 1 week" is a bunch of BS. I came to find out that those diets did not work. I may have lost a couple pounds here and there, but it was not satisfying. So in turn, I started heavily restricting my calories and exercising after everything and anything I ate. I had done this for about two months until I became diagnosed with Anorexia.

Shortly after I had gotten diagnosed, I went straight into inpatient. For those of you who do not know what inpatient is, it is pretty much a hospital/treatment center for people with mental illnesses (in my case, an eating disorder), and you stay there, follow a schedule, and do the same routine every day until the doctors feel that you are well enough to be released. Anyway, I was there for 12 days. Well, let me tell you that those 12 days were not enough because a few months later I relapsed. This time it was worse. I had gotten down to my lowest weight and the doctors told me I had to go back in as a patient. Now, this may not be everyone's experience but I did not like inpatient one bit. So I was trying to do everything in my power to stay out of there.

I cried and begged them to not send me back. I could not bare the fact of missing another part of my senior year. However, to this day I regret not going back in. Let me tell you why. In January 2018, shortly after I was told I had to go back in, I started my binge eating. In the beginning, it was completely innocent. My body was starving so part of me understood why I was uncontrollably eating. But months and months passed by and it was still happening. I felt like I could not stop.

Until April of 2018 is when I finally told my doctors about this binge eating problem I had been having. They said it was normal, however, to try to be aware of myself and my eating behavior. Well, the next 2 months I could not stop. I binged at least 3 days a week. It was a living nightmare. Part of me felt like this cycle will never end and that I was going to be like this forever. I was so lost and out of options.

I contemplated going back inpatient before college started so I would not have to deal with this throughout my college career. But, after talking with my nutritionist, I decided to give myself one last shot to turn this around. And so, that is what I am still trying to do. My last binge was at the beginning of July 2018, so I have been binge free for about a month.

I am definitely proud of myself for how far I have come, but do not think for a second that this is easy. Every day I wake up hoping for another good day. The binge mindset is a whole other emotion. It takes over and then you wake up the next day regretting everything that happened. It really is a living hell. And I pray one day to be free.

I really hope I can relate to, or reach out to anyone who may be struggling, or know someone who might be. It is not something you should go through alone. I had an entire support team behind me, trying to help me put my life back together. I really recommend talking to someone. Just having someone listen to what you are going through helps so much. And if they can relate, it helps even more.

Stay strong and keep pushing forward.