Light through the Clouds
I have never been a follower. I was never influenced by bad decisions or peer pressure. I have always been commended for the decisions I have made throughout my life.
Proud employee, dedicated student, elite athlete, loving daughter, caring friend, etc.
So how come over the past 5 years, I have been challenged with the biggest struggle I could ever imagine? I was challenged to live with a constant negative influence. Dictating my decisions, dictating my happiness.
I think about this almost every day: How come so many beautiful, intelligent people, are faced with negativity towards themselves? I was one of those people. I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly 5 years.
Here is my story:
As a child/teenager, I was never overweight. Sure, I went through that “awkward” stage like every other girl out there. I got taller and put on a few pounds, simply just to fill out into the woman I was supposed to become.
Growing up, I was a fantastic athlete. Volleyball, soccer, track…. I loved it all. Playing sports kept me happy and content, they gave me something to look forward to after school and on the weekends. I loved being a part of a team, being in good shape, and being able to eat a rather flexible diet.
I have always been a health conscious individual. I enjoyed staying fit, lean, and toned. I ate healthy and worked out regularly, but like most people, I loved junk food and relaxing too!
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I began to develop discomfort with myself. I played volleyball for the varsity team at my school. I was a competitive and serious athlete. With this competitiveness, I felt the need to excel. Being one of the younger girls on the team, I did not think that I was getting the playing time that I deserved. I used this as motivation to get in better shape, get stronger, get faster… do everything in my power to become a star asset for the team. I developed an idea in my head, an idea that would help me achieve these goals. It was an innocent plan consisting of a small change in diet and a little extra effort to work out.
It wasn’t long before this innocent plan turned into an obsession. It consumed my life; my thoughts, my concentration, my relationships… literally everything. My mindset went from planning what my weekend plans with my friends would be, to how much I needed to work out, or what my next meal was going to be.
At first it was easy to hide or disregard. I would get comments like “Wow, you look really good, have you been working out?” Anyone who has dealt with an eating disorder can probably justify that this just adds fuel to the fire. That was exactly what I wanted to hear, and it was the exact motivation to keep losing just a “few more” pounds.
The compliments turned to concern several months later. I don’t like to use numbers, but let’s just say I lost a significant amount of weight in a very short time. Friends and family would approach me about it. I was in denial, and there was nothing they could say to make me change my mind.
Spring time came around, and my parents said enough is enough. Since I was still an adolescent living in their home, they made me seek medical attention. That was the reality check I apparently needed. When a medical professional stares at you with concern, you know something is not right.
Recovering from an eating disorder is not an easy task. In fact, I would say that it was the biggest struggle of my life. Over the course of five years, I went to doctors, therapists, dietitians, wellness coaches, etc. to help me overcome my struggles with food and myself. Last spring, after some very emotional conversations with my loved ones, I was finally ready to get the help that I so desperately needed. I had hit “rock bottom” and was ready to change myself, my actions, and allow myself to live the life that I deserved. I reached out to the professionals, because I WANTED to change. In order to have a successful recovery, I had to commit myself and had to WANT to get better.
Over the past several months I have learned so much about myself. During the good days and the bad days… my strength, my emotions and my attitude have been tested in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any harder, a light came through to me. A light illuminating me, as a person. I deserve to live a normal, happy, healthy life. A life filled with fun, play, laughter and spontaneity. Achieving this required me to push myself. To step out of my comfort zone, and to test my devotion to being the woman I know I am capable of being. Once I became committed to my health, I can honestly say that I have never felt better.