Thirty one years ago this weekend marked the beginning of my eating disorder battle – carved deeply in my mind forever. Turmoil in the month of September – a boyfriend breakup, a sister (my rock) had left for college, on crutches because of an ankle infection, and a pregnancy misdiagnosis due to amenorrhea – led to struggles too overwhelming for any 15 year old.
But a night out with friends and a gallon of ice cream (consumed entirely by me) was supposed to make it all better. Instead, my head and heart spiraled downward with my body to soon follow. 93 lbs…87 lbs…83 lbs…that would not be my lowest weight but it was enough to interrupt life for 26 years.
So many positive activities and feats – homecoming attendant, Freshman All-American cheerleader, class valedictorian, regional modeling contract with a trip to Reno and a chance for a national contract, full-ride college scholarship – yet none of it mattered.
For when I looked in the mirror, I could only see an empty soul. Alone in my disordered world and lonely from shutting so many out – yes there is a difference between the two. Crying out many times, family and friends wanted to help. But the change would only come when my heart could take no more.
A disparate challenge placed before me. Alone, sometimes, in my world trying to make sense of the nonsense. Yet never lonely as I am surrounded by so much love from family, friends and even acquaintances.
Looking in the mirror, there is not an empty soul but rather a strong, fierce and determined spirit.
What’s different? Is it age? Life experiences? Responsibilities to people other than myself?
All of the above and none of the above. We are ever-evolving humans. Change is life. Growing up is life. The lessons I learned during my 26-year battle cannot be taught – I just had to go through them. The tears, anger, suffering, despair, the dark places…all to finally have light.
Once asked if the “C” diagnosis was more difficult to deal with than my “ED” – my response was, is and will always be “NO!”
Because I now love myself no matter how I look or what happens!