I guess you could say that! Although I’ve recently come to see that I wasn’t being punished going through it all, I was being taught valuable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I don’t really like to dwell on the past anymore, and I’ve become quite disconnected from it so forgive me if any of these details aren’t accurate.
I think I was about 9 years old when my eating problems/body image issues began, although at the time, I didn’t know eating disorders/body dysmorphia even existed so I figured it was normality. It was crazy too, because I was so “popular”, so to speak, in primary school and I had tons of friends. Although that let me to have such a shitty personality. I was a bully, basically, and I thrived on making other people afraid of me. It was at that time that my nan suffered her first attack of cancer, and although I wasn’t really old enough to fully understand what was going on, it still upset me so much. I’m not going to use that as an excuse for why I acted the way I did, nor the way I was feeling about myself, because I’m completely and wholly to blame for what I did, and allowing myself to think back now, I hope sincerely that what I did to them hasn’t had any effect on their lives today. If I allowed myself to regret, that year or so of my life would definitely be one of them.
The summer that followed, between leaving primary school and starting secondary school, was arguably the hardest summer of my life. My eating problems spiralled completely out of control. I was severely underweight, down to my lowest of 75lbs at 5 feet tall. I was manic, I barely ever slept, barely ever ate and made myself throw up every single day. I exercised myself to the point of passing out so frequently that one day, my heart stopped. I was on my way downstairs and the next thing I knew, I was in hospital attached to a feeding tube. And from there, I spent six weeks, my entire summer break, in an eating disorder treatment facility. Whilst there I was diagnosed anorexic with bulimic tendencies, depressed, anxious, body dysmorphic and was showing quite a few symptoms of bipolar. To be honest, my time in treatment was short because I was just completely numb. I ate my meals and spoke like a robot in therapy sessions and gained 15lbs and was out of there and ready to start secondary school by mid-September. But of course, my head was in an even worse place when I left there than when I went in. I started self harming- cutting and burning myself, and attempted suicide for the first time around that time.
Starting secondary school, two weeks later than everyone else, I was put into a form group away from the rest of my friends, and I didn’t know anyone. I went from being the most popular girl in school, to having no friends whatsoever for the most part. There were a group of girls in my new form who hated me from the start. I was small and skinny, socially anxious, my family weren’t rich so I couldn’t afford “nice” clothes, I didn’t wear makeup and I didn’t do my hair. So of course, I was a perfect target. They made fun of every part of me, even things like my eyebrows or the way I sat. One lunchtime, they locked me in the supply closet for a whole hour and if it wasn’t for the teacher coming in, I probably would have been there all afternoon. They bullied me for a year or so, until I finally told someone at school, and they got suspended. I switched forms and was with some of my friends again, and for the next two to three years, things almost felt normal. I was still eating disordered and my mood swings were crazy, but my grades improved, I wasn’t suicidal and I became less anxious in social situations after awhile. 2010 came around and I started to slip back into my old habits again. My eating lessened, my workouts intensified, my moods darkened and I started cutting myself again. It never go to the point of being hospitalised like before, but my therapist got concerned and treatment was threatened so many times.
And then in Novemeber, one of my best friends died. And I spiralled completely out of control. The summer that followed that was spent in a alcohol and drugs haze and I honestly couldn’t tell you much of what happened then. I took anything I could get my hands on, drank every single day that I wasn’t high, and spent my summer in and out of bed with guys I didn’t even know. I don’t know what actually happened to be honest, I don’t remember having sex with any of them, but I probably did. I remember doing other things with them on the way up to a “high”, but I can never remember past then. I wasn’t really eating again at this point, my skin was covered in cuts and burns and I guess I let sleazy guys take advantage of me because I felt like I deserved it. I deserved to be hurt and fucked over by them. I was just a mess, basically. I hated myself in every sense of the word. I couldn’t stand to be inside my body. I attempted suicide numerous times that summer, the worst of which landed me in hospital overnight. I lost a ton of friends, made my parents cry every single day and did and said some really shitty things to a lot of people.
I dropped out of school at the beginning of 2012, and so began a somewhat measly attempt at “recovery”. Mostly I was just trying to mess up my metabolism so I could lose more weight once I started starving myself again. I got a job in March, but I passed out so many times from lack of food that I had to quit in August. And that September I didn’t leave the house for the whole month and most of the following one because I was too depressed and anxious to do so. I started to get high again and drink a lot and my life felt sure to spiral out of control once more.
And then October 18th rolled around, bringing what my therapist at the time (I’m no longer in therapy) liked to call, my Damascus moment.
I woke up after a particularly bad night the night before and just decided that I’d had enough. I decided that I didn’t want to be sad anymore. I decided that I was going to change. And literally, that’s exactly what I did.
I won’t go into anymore specifics of my spiritual journey that I’m now on, because I’m sure from what you’ll have seen on Twitter, you know how that’s going. Really, freaking wonderful. I don’t look back anymore, other than to see just how far I’ve come. And my struggles taught be so much about compassion and understanding and being there for other people and how important it is to remind people that they aren’t alone, and those things will forever be deeply rooted in my being now, so on so many levels I’m ridiculously thankful that the Universe put me through all that. I survived, just like I always subconsciously knew I would, and regret has no place in my life.
So, moving onto the latter part of the question you left me; what do I think a person needs to do to become more positive and lead a good life?
I’ve learned recently that perception is all that exists in the world. So it’s not my place to tell you what a “good” life consists of. And positivity is no easy thing to acquire if you’ve previously spent years in negativity. But it is possible. Anything is. It’s all about your mindset. Your mind is the most powerful tool you posses. What you think, you become. Trust me, if you knew how much your mind impacts your future, you’d never think a negative thought again. Tell yourself something until you start to believe it; that’s the best advice I can offer you. Try and find happiness and peace in things that don’t cost money, and try and find it on your own without relying on another person. Search for beauty wherever you go, and never forget that there is always more love in the world than hate. I have the most overwhelming belief in everything happening for a reason, and if you can find a belief you trust wholeheartedly, that’s a really nice thing to be able to do too. I find meditation and yoga extremely beneficial too, so they’re always worth a try.
I can’t offer anymore insight than that, I truly can’t. Happiness really has to come from within you, otherwise it truly won’t last. I wish you all the luck in the world with the next chapter of your journey; never forget that you are a light in this world and are destined for truly wonderful things.