It was easier, throughout high school and most of college, to assume I'd always be the single one, going it alone. It didn't bother me much; I packed my schedule and was always studying, always the headstrong one who didn't have time to let another person in let alone risking loving or depending on them. The anxiety that has crippled so many in my family also contributed, perhaps, to wanting to isolate myself a bit; because I knew that if and when that side of me ever creeped out, it'd get ugly quickly.
Throughout my life, I have been witness to too many unfortunate events: the loss of a dear friend to a brain tumor, multiple overdoses, one of those being someone who was very close to me, and the recent death of a close college friends younger, beloved brother. Each and every one of these tragedies has, and continues, to tear me up.
From the inside looking out, it’s impossible to explain. From the outside looking in, it’s impossible to understand. This is what it is like to live with an eating disorder.
Today has been, in a nutshell, chaotic and horrible. I hit my breaking point. I couldn’t get a grip. I was breaking out in hives. I was crying in the break room during my lunch and I was telling myself that I am a failure. Then, I text one of my favorite friends, Hannah, who has been in my corner since we have met and she said to me, “Write about it, post it, and inspire someone who thinks they’re the only one feeling not good enough.”
I'm not even 22, and yet already I've been through a lot. I never really imagined growing up would be like this, but it is.
Throughout elementary school, I was bullied, beaten up, and I grew terrified of school, but still enjoyed learning.
At 14, I was assaulted by a boy I thought I could trust, with the help of my first ever real boyfriend.
I read these stories, but it never occurred to me that I should share mine. I think it is probably because for the past decade I have been doing well. So well that I almost forgot what it was like to not be well, almost forgetting my story of where I have been.
10 years ago, I was married to a wonderful man; generous, kind, financially stable. On paper, it seemed like I had it all. To the rest of the world, I did. There was only one problem, I wasn't happy. I was an empty vessel, lonely, bored longing for something that was missing. It was just around that same time that I met someone else. Oddly enough, someone else who was going through the same things in their life that I was in mine. We became friends. I liked having this person in my life who understood me and understood how I felt. But that's where things got complicated. We both quickly realized that the thing missing in each of our lives--was each other. I loved him. He loved me. But this was far from the perfect love story. We had to end our marriages and start a new life. Start all over again.
My dad is the most inspirational person that I have ever been lucky enough I know. He is hilarious. He is so wise and kind and weird. He cares more about his lawn than most and he loves The Eagles. He is spiritual and open-minded. He lives every day of his life for others and has shown me what is important-- what real success is-- and that the important things in life really aren’t things. He is pure good.
I am an 88 year old widower who lives alone with my Calico cat Mary in a small cottage home by Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids Michigan. I purchased my house for approximately $10,000 fifty or more years ago because I wanted a Great Dane dog as pets were not allowed in my apartment. I wanted to be a professional actor but chose to be an accountant after graduating from a small business college. My thought was if the company I was hired into went broke I would go to New York and try for the big time.
At the age of 16 you'd think life would be fun. You have a picture in your head of what you want your teen years to be like... but for the past 7 years the years that were supposed to be the best, have been the worst.
Life started for me, the youngest of 4 boys, the youngest of 8 close, male, best friend brothers and cousins, and 1 gorgeous female cousin. Growing up, we did everything together, launched G I Joes off of my grandmothers close-line, created whirlpools in her out of ground pool, attended many drive-in movies.... We had it all, and still have it all; happiness, family, and a sense of overall love for parents, uncles & aunts, and the love for cousins that have become best friends throughout the years. We did, and have done EVERYTHING together since the 90's (and I say that like I am 50). But sometimes life deals you an unfortunate set, a short hand, a deck of 51 cards, instead of 52; a card missing that may be the one that completes a full house, one that you wish you had until this very day. It is coming up on a decade since you have been gone, but each and every one of us have been thinking about you daily for the last 3,540 or so days.
It never crossed my mind to reach out to you until recently. I've been a consistent reader of everyone writing into you but I never thought to do it myself. See, half the problem was, and is, I've been blind to my own problems. Long story short, I've struggled with an eating disorder for about 8 years now. I gained weight my freshman year of college. The Freshmen 15 is no joke. I felt disgusting and could not accept how I felt. I was thin my whole life, never worried about my weight or what I ate. This was something so new and something so disturbing to me. I spent the entire summer of my freshman year trying to lose weight. I did and moved on. I started eating less and working out more. My sophomore year it became a bit of an obsession, but with the distraction of school and friends and so much going on during college, I managed. I gained weight again senior year and swore to myself after I graduated I'd never let myself get that "fat" again.
You know sometimes the sensei learns much from the grasshopper. As I age, that’s how I feel. I thank you for that.
Most days I am under control but some days I’m off. I wish this wasn’t so but it is.
I feel like I have been making a significant amount of progress in my life. Honestly, I’m becoming the person that I always wanted to be. I always try to keep a positive attitude, work as hard as I possibly can, and most importantly, be nice to everyone, all the time.
Like many other people, I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for what I haven’t done yet. I’ve set expectations for myself that were too big or overwhelming that instead of motivating me, they made me feel stuck. Thankfully, I am now at a point in my life where I don’t feel the self-imposed pressure that I used to and I’m going to share with you how I got here.
In therapy, I have been taught that anxiety is something that is learned. While my story of living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder is a long and confusing one, I can now look back and figure out exactly when I started to “learn” to be anxious. It was 11 years ago and I was 17 years old. I am not entirely sure if it is necessary to tell you about specific experiences that lead me to learning to be anxious, but I can tell you, for sure, it is important to share with you what else I learned that year and every year afterwards.
I can remember as early as elementary school being afraid to wear shorts because my legs were "fat." I have never been overweight or heavy in my life. My mom was sure to raise me on homemade, vegetable filled meals. I was one of the smaller girls in my grade. When I was finally brave enough to wear shorts for the first time in fifth grade, a boy in my class told me I needed to shave(I really shoulda told him off for that one). I was so proud of myself for wearing shorts that day, I was telling myself "wow this isn't that bad." But his comment made me completely tear myself down.
Hi! I was at Michaila's speech and you talked about this website... In fact, i was in the crowd typing this... But anyway. I'm typing because I wanna express something that absolutely SUCKS... Cancer. I was diagnosed with leukemia at 11. Doctors were hammering me every day with drugs for the first 3 months... After that it was every 4 days.. then every week... It got lighter, but I developed some sort of anxiety or something? Idk... The drugs that they were giving me were LITERALLY KILLING my cells.
I feel empty. The kind of empty where a cold shower washes over me but I don't feel the drops of water hit my skin. The kind of empty that makes it hard for me to explain to those who don't understand what it feels like inside. I never realized that until today my whole well being is dependent on my medicine. Now that I have run out of it and have to be without it for a week, I feel like my security blanket has been ripped from me. Is that how my whole life will be? Will always need my medicine to be able to smile and not feel as if I'm not truly in my own body? At this rate, sadly I think so. But to be honest I love the way I feel when I'm on my medicine. I feel alive and healthy. So I'd rather be dependent on something that makes me feel whole then be empty without it.
I never understood it, the feeling of losing your pet. I knew it would be sad, but I didn’t think it would be so painful to say goodbye to her. It’s weird because there’s a difference between losing a person and losing an animal. With a person, you can tell them how much you love them, talk about the memories you have with them. When I held her for the last time, I was trying to force the love I have for her into her heart. I’m so scared that she might never know how much I loved her, since I couldn’t tell her. I remember the first day I met her, how tiny she was. I remember how she always took up the whole bed and I would let her because I hated sleeping without her. I loved how she knew when I was upset and would lay with me.