In the beginning of the sixth grade, I remember trying on school clothes and looking at myself and not liking how my physical appearance looked like. I didn’t really pay attention to how I looked until the seventh grade where I started being harsher on myself. I would always find a way to insult myself and I was constantly beating myself down. I would look a lot at accounts on Instagram a lot and I would follow accounts that supported anorexia and depression and all I searched up on the hashtags was skinny. I would look at how skinny girls were and would set myself impossible body image goals to complete.
I started to not eat because that was the only way I thought to myself that I could lose the weight faster. I didn’t know I would get a lot of headaches and be constantly tired all the time. There was a time where I would only drink water and skip meals. The most I went without completely eating anything was two whole weeks.
I would watch Demi Lovato’s interviews about her eating disorder and it really felt good to know that I wasn’t the only one that was going through that horrible illness. Even though no one bullied me about how I looked I was my own bully and I could never have that positive mind set where I would say “I looked beautiful today”.
It never got to the point where I had to attend the hospital for my eating disorder because I didn’t want it to be noticeable to anyone- it was like my little secret. My depression was definitely horrible to have at that moment because when you’re already depressed you have a bad mindset and having an eating disorder too definitely made things a lot worse. I would never have the guts to ever cut myself badly on my arms. But there was this one time where my sister was at a sweet sixteen and my mother went to pick her up and I decided to get a razor blade that was broken from a pencil sharpener, and at that moment I wasn’t thinking at all-my mind was completely blank, so I decided to cut myself on my left foot. Seeing all that blood freaked me out because it wouldn’t stop bleeding but after I put pressure on it for a good five minutes it stopped bleeding.
That was the first and last time I ever tried to cut myself. I didn’t like going to counseling either because it would always make me feel even worse about my own self. During my parent’s divorce, I remember being in the car one day with my father and then he made this comment that I will never forget. He said,
“You’re only trying to act like you’re depressed so you can get attention.”
It made me feel really angry and I wanted to punch him for saying that because it wasn’t true at all. Having an eating disorder isn’t something that makes you feel 100% happy and no one should be making fun of it even if you think it’s a joke.
I want people to know more about my story because I feel like not a lot of people remember that a million of teens and many other people are living with eating disorders. I would also hope at least one person who is going through an eating disorder can get help because that’s the only way to make things much better for yourself and to not be afraid to ask for help because no one will judge you for wanting to get better.
We live in a world where there are so many problems that need to be fixed but we only focus on one at a time. And with social media being huge now younger kids have access to so many things and most of them aren’t age appropriate.
I felt that I went through this because a lot of things started to happen to me. I would isolate myself from talking to other kids in school and later on in the year when I found out my parents were getting a divorce. There were times where I thought to myself
“What is happening??!”
And the fact how I couldn’t control what was happening at that moment I thought if I could have some control over my life that would be to not eat anything at all and doing track made me feel like I had more control of my life. And it did make me think that my life isn’t too overwhelming.
I do definitely think that social media really affected my perspective of myself because I would always constantly see skinnier girls getting more attention about how good or beautiful they looked and I would think if as skinny as they were, then I would receive that exact attention from other people.
It finally clicked that I had to eat and gain weight again when it was the summer of eighth grade and I wanted to really try getting out of that dark place and be as happy as I could be so I decided to start eating a little more so my body could get used to eating a little more every day.
I’m currently working on trying to eat like a normal person. Three meals a day fueling up my body with many nutrients and carbohydrates as possible because I’m only 15 and my body is still trying to grow and I really just want the best for myself.
There was a point where my mom noticed I was getting thinner and my clothes started fitting more loosely on me. I felt like that was the point where I had to get help and prevent my own self from possibly having any health problems that would come to my future self. It helped a lot to tell her what was happening because at that time I wasn’t really close with my parents. I was close to my dad but when he started paying attention to his phone more than me, that’s when things really broke off between him and me.
After my mom arranged help for me, I told her I wanted to make our relationship stronger and I can proudly say that my mom and my older sister are truly my best friends.
Of course there are days where I do not feel like eating and make myself throw up again, but I really try to ignore that negative mindset because it really doesn’t feel right to go back to the dark place I was in before because it will remind me of what happened in the past and I wouldn’t want to harm myself like that ever again.
I want to say to younger girls and boys that you shouldn’t have to worry what other people think about your body because everyone likes different things. The only person who you really should impress is yourself. You should be building on the confidence you have even if it’s a little bit. You want to get to the point where no one can insult you.
You shouldn’t have to not eat just to make yourself be a standard for society.
Don’t compare your own unique body to someone else’s because we were all made to be different. Love everything about yourself, even your flaws, because there are people that will truly love you for them. Don’t waste your life beating yourself up because you’re wasting seconds of happiness and loving yourself doing so. Take time in life to help improve in loving who you are and surround yourself with positive people who you will be able to go to if you are having a problem and they can help boost up your energy.
Now that I learned what not eating really does to your body I have now decided to try to really dedicate myself to fitness, not to lose weight, but just better my health in general. I want to change the way I eat and motivate myself to be as healthy as I can be. I really try my hardest to love myself every day, no one is perfect and I still have some off days but you can only go forward and be positive. I want to improve on trying to take more photos of myself without thinking that I don’t look gorgeous.
Penelope’s testimony is another reminder that Bulimia and other food disorders still happen. A friend or family member may be suffering from these disorders without you being aware of it. Penelope’s story is an exact example of how many teens suffer with body image today and social media doesn’t necessarily help. We must tell someone about our struggles to get help.