An Open Letter to an Eating Disorder Survivor

An Open Letter to an Eating Disorder Survivor

From an Eating Disorder Survivor
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To all eating disorder survivors,

The physical pain is over. The days, months, or years of torment and mutilation you put your body through are over. Your strength was more powerful than your fears and you fought a fight so scary, it almost seems impossible to win. You did it, but that doesn't mean there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Though your physical state might be intact, your mental and emotional state may never be the same. There are certain aspects of your life that your eating disorder has changed forever and you might not know what those are, how they'll make you feel, or how you'll react to them. This letter is to recognize what some of those changes are, but more importantly, how they do not have to undermine the progress you have made.

*Disclosure: Not all of these are guaranteed. Some people might face all of them, some might face none, and some might face some not listed. None of this is scientific research, but based on my personal experience*

You might never forget how many calories, carbs, or fat are in certain foods, because you've memorized menus, recipes, and ingredient's nutritional information.

Your teeth might be stained slightly from the torture you put yourself through. Whenever you see your smile, it acts as a reminder of what you did to yourself, and there aren't enough whitening kits or filters in the world to change that.

You might not be able to step on a scale or use anything that associates weight with numbers. You might have to turn away and ask your doctor to not read the numbers out loud during annual visits.

You notice things in pictures that other people don't realize. When your Instagram feed floods with endearing comments from family and friends, you can't help but question if the picture was worth posting, or see the tiniest imperfection too small for anyone else to notice.

You might be embarrassed to admit you're still in therapy. Though you might not be physically harming yourself anymore, the emotional and mental toll the disease took on you in still relevant and you need that extra support… but you don’t want anyone to know.

You could have a difficult time accepting the weight you might have recently gained. The weight seemed like it took forever to come off, but is coming back quicker than expected… and that terrifies you.

Depending how long you've been a survivor, you might be scared to diet again. A lot of eating disorders start by attempting to better yourself, before it took a drastic turn. Gaining weight was scary, but losing weight could be even scarier.

There might be some foods you can't eat anymore because the taste of it reminds you of being sick.

You might associate memories with the damage your disease brought on or have flashbacks on certain holidays to the times you were sick and couldn’t enjoy those occasions.

All of these things are very possible, I know this because I face them, but this letter is to tell you that you are not alone.

I will always know that there are 150 calories in a bowl of Vanilla Almond Special K. My teeth are a tinted slightly yellow no matter how much I've tried to whiten them, and I hate having to defend why my teeth are my biggest insecurity. I have no idea what my weight is because I haven't been able to step on a scale since 2014, and I do ask my doctors to keep that information to themselves. I always criticize my photos before and after posting them. It's not that I don't like what I see entirely, it's that I see how round my face can look at my jaw line, or how my jeans hug my hips differently than they do to other girls. It's still difficult for me to talk about my days in therapy, but I know if I didn't have that support or gain the self-confidence therapy brought on I wouldn't be able to be so vocal about my story. When I first got better I was terrified at how quickly I was able to gain weight, but now 4 years into being a survivor I get scared to when I try to lose it. I cannot eat or even smell apple cider vinegar without being uncomfortable because it reminds me of when I used to take multiple shots of it daily because I read it could burn fat off faster. Every Easter is a reminder of the year I missed half of dinner because I locked myself in my aunt's bathroom, and every time I see a picture from my junior prom I remember my mom having to tape my dress to my body because I was too frail to support it.

Every survivor out there has a different story, but your story is important. It does not define you, but it did help shape you into who you are today. It does not make you weak, or fragile, and it does not have to fit into a mold of what society recognizes as an eating disorder. Whatever your struggles were and whatever they still could be you are not alone in this journey. If you share your story that's fine, if you prefer to keep it yourself that's fine. However you need to heal, you have to power to choose and control how that happens. So many eating disorders occur because we feel as though we've lost control of our lives in some dramatic way, but we can control the pain we inflict on ourselves and what we eat (or don't eat). But once you've beaten it, you'll realize that you are in control of your own destiny, and your life is one worth living.

I just hope that my story acts as a reminder that even though we might still have ghosts that haunt us, all eating disorder survivors are strong, are powerful, and are beautiful.

With all my love and support,

A bulimia survivor since 2014

Cover Image Credit: Google

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65 Truths College Students Need to Hear Right Now

Truth every college student needs to hear.
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1. The best memories are ones you actually can remember.

2. God isn’t going to ask you if you were in a top-tier sorority or fraternity at the gates.

3. You failed a test, not your life.

4. Numbers don’t define you.

5. That includes the number you see that is your grade.

6. Also, how much you weigh.

7. As well as if you are a “7/10” on a so-called “hot scale.”

8. Or if you can bench press 200 lbs. (@ all the guys at the gym, please chill.)

SEE ALSO: 7 Reminders Every College Student Needs To Hear Before The Semester Ends

9. Innocence is nothing to be ashamed of.

10. Neither are mistakes.

11. But learn from your mistakes. Mistakes can be lessons, which can be the biggest blessing.

12. Your metabolism isn’t what it used to be and that is okay.

13. You may not always understand what God is doing, but I promise He has a plan.

14. Every person you meet is battling their own struggles.

15. Life isn’t always great moments.

16. But you have to walk through the forest to get to the mountain top.

17. Your heart isn’t damaged. It is temporarily broken but it will be fixed.

18. However, the only one who can fix a broken heart is the one who created it.

19. So a cute boy or hot girl can’t put the pieces back together.

20. Neither can ice cream.

21. But ice cream can totally help.

22. Stop texting your ex. He/She is your ex for a reason.

23. Loving Jesus means loving people.

24. Loving Jesus also means loving the image of Him in the mirror you see.

25. Stop hiding your emotions. Stop crying in the bathroom or behind a locked door. You have people in your life who care about you.

26. Suicide is never the answer.

27. Breathe in, breathe out.

28. Do you feel your heart pump? Do you feel the air exiting your body? That is a sign you are here for a purpose. Your life is no mistake.

29. Just because you doubt, doesn’t mean you don’t believe in Jesus.

30. However, when walking on the water scares you, look to Jesus and keep your eyes on Him.

31. If you have the opportunity to go to school go. There are young girls around the world who would do anything to sit at the desk you are complaining about.

32. Don’t pick a career based on money.

33. However, I promise you can use any passion or gift to serve a purpose bigger than yourself if you allow yourself to give it to the One who gave it to you.

34. You don’t need pretty prayers to please God.

35. Talk to Him like you are talking to a friend.

36. Look for the good in everyone.

37. That includes the mean girl who no one likes. Chances are she is mean for a reason. Someone was once mean to her. Kill her with kindness.

38. Pray to have the Lord’s eyes. See people with love.

39. Try to have the Lord’s hands, always be reaching out to others.

40. Each morning, pray to have the Lord’s feet and go where He calls you.

41. It is a bad day, not a bad life.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Be A College Student In April

42. You don’t need a six-pack to find a man who loves you.

43. You need a spouse who will be able to look at you when you are 80, and wrinkly and maybe a little chunky, and you need him to love you then. If he loves you for your body and your hair, I promise he doesn’t actually love you. Looks fade, but love is eternal. Find someone who loves you like Jesus.

44. Do some squats.

45. But squat so you feel good about yourself, not to attract the opposite sex.

46. You are never too old to find a new hobby.

47. You were beautiful before someone told you.

48. If you don’t know if you are in relationship or not, leave. You deserve clarity, not insecurity.

49. You deserve friendships that are mutual.

50. The best Friday nights are spent with a puppy and food. It is okay to not always be social.

51. Stop worrying about whether your crush will text you back.

52. Stop over analyzing everything in general.

53. Pray for your future spouse.

54. However, also pray for your future bridesmaids/groomsmen. Some of the most influential people you may have in your life you may not have even met yet.

55. Storms bring strength.

56. And storms bring rainbows if you are patient and observant.

57. Stop Pinteresting your dream life and start living it.

58. The Bible is actually extremely relatable. Open it up. Read it.

59. Romans 8:28 “and we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God is on your team. He wants you to have moments of celebration. He has a purpose for you greater than your bad day.

60. Never forget what Jesus did for you on that cross. When he died for you, it was painful and brutal. It was ugly. It was love. Don’t let that truth ever become numb to you no matter how many times you have heard the story.

61. There is nothing wrong with carbs.

62. Study. And don’t wait for the night before.

63. Find someone who you can look up to.

64. Also, never forget that there is always someone looking up to you. Act like someone you would want your future children to be. Act in a way that reflects wisdom.

65. Smile more, you are loved by the one who hung the stars and painted the sea. He created puppies and carbs–yet still loves you more. That is something to celebrate.

College is tough and life is hard. You are going to have moments where all you want to do is celebrate life with your best friends, but you will also have moments where you just want to lock the door, ignore everyone, and have a good cry. Never forget that your worth comes from something greater than your Biology grade, and from Someone greater that the one who broke your heart.

You aren’t too cool for Christ in college. Christ is a necessity for you in your life. He can hold your hand during your heartbreaks and failures and celebrate with you when you get the text back or a passing grade in foreign language. He loves for you and cares for you more than your sorority or fraternity ever will.

So buy your books, do your homework, but never forget when you are walking to you 8:00 a.m. you regretfully signed up for, to look up. Look at the clouds and the sky and thank your creator that in a big big world with many beautiful things, He still loves our messy hearts even more. So this one is for the boys for the King. This life is for the One who laid down His life.

I promise college is more fun when you dance with your Savior. Follow His lead and let him take you on a journey where you can find your purpose. You may not know where you are going, but you do know who you are following.

So never forget that although classes may be hard, and your metabolism may be slowing down–God is still good. He turns our ashes into beauty and our trials into our testimony. Do life with your creator and I promise you that you will have more than you need.

Romans 8:28 “And we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Check out my website for more articles on self-worth <3

Twitter: gracev96

Instagram: lemmebeyourvalentine

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Opinion| Racism and Mental Health

"When you're woke, it becomes hard to go to sleep."
- Random Acts of Flyness (Episode 6)
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"When you're woke, it becomes hard to go to sleep."
- Random Acts of Flyness (Episode 6)

"Are you staying here?"

A seemingly innocent question. Yes, I was wearing a conference lanyard. Yes, I was performing the role "scholar at a conference" fairly well (laptop clutched under arm, pen held in hand, body wrapped in socially acceptable business attire, etc.) however, a member of the hotel staff still felt the need to question my existence in this 5-star hotel.

Before being pushed into a new state of awakening of the sheer violence that is life as a Black person, I would have smiled and simply answered her question. But not now. Now that I am aware of the many faces that racism has taken (historically) and the way my Black body looks against a White background, I have entered a place of hyper-racilization. Microagressions and odd questions from aversive racists sear through my skin leave scars. The scar burns when I'm alone with my thoughts in the shower wondering "what did she mean by that?" The branding infiltrates my cognitive spaces as I replay the moment 10-15 times trying to better understand the situation. I am not okay.

More literature is being dedicated to examining the role that racism and discrimination plays in emotional and psychological distress. Studies have shown that racism has the potential to increase the risk of stress, cold symptoms, cardiovascular disease, mortality, and depression.

An article by the American Psychological Association based on a meta-analytic study that examined perceived racism and mental health asserted that: "For Black American adults, perceived racism may cause mental health symptoms similar to trauma and could lead to some physical health disparities between blacks and other populations in the United States."

Researchers examined 66 studies for a total sample of 18,140 Black adults in the United States. According to the study, Black Americans' psychological responses to racism are very similar to common responses to trauma, such as somatization, interpersonal sensitivity and anxiety.

In a separate study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, a sociocultural model of stress and coping was tested in a sample of 215 African Americans. The study found that race-related stress was a significantly more powerful risk factor than stressful life events for psychological distress.

Even when Black Americans are not personally on the receiving end of racism, social media feeds are full of images and videos of brutalized, bleeding, battered, Black bodies. There is video footage of White officers punching a Black child and pulling up her shorts to expose her as she is pinned down. There is video footage of a white officers straddling a Black teenager outside of her community pool. For activist (or aware individuals in general), third-party sources and first-person experiences of race-based trauma create a violent accumulation of negative mental outcomes.

They will not be linked here because the purpose of this discourse is to go beyond consuming Black pain and death. If you feel inclined, a simple google search can give you access to hundreds of pornographic images and videos of our violation.

Black Americans are constantly faced with the reality that their lives are not protected.


Licensed clinical psychologist Monnica Williams studies the epidemiology of PTSD in minorities and explains that it can be incredibly traumatic for people of color, particularly African American children to see Black death in the form of these violent police encounters. In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Williams studies the link between racism and post-traumatic stress disorder, which is known as race-based traumatic stress injury, or the emotional distress a person may feel after encountering racial harassment or hostility. Williams acknowledges that race-based stress reactions can be triggered by events that are experienced vicariously, or externally, through a third party — like social media or national news events.


This opinion piece is to make people aware of the psychological toll that racism and racialization has on racialized subjects. From a personal standpoint, I am looking for ways to silence the pain and panic attacks. I urge others to prioritize self care and healing as well.

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