Jennifer makes a very important point when she writes "To dispel the assumption that only overweight people are unhappy with their bodies, I want to say that I had always been a normal weight — underweight according to the doctor, actually. I just didn’t look it — I don’t have the body type that has stick-thin limbs and lean muscle. I took up space — too much space, I began to think."
For Jennifer, these thoughts turned into an eating disorder...a disease that affects so many young girls. What is most important to note about her story is that she began to acknowledge that the life of disordered eating was not for her.
"It wasn’t fun, eating less and less, counting every calorie, spending hours on the Internet looking for motivation and methods to lose weight, and doing endless exercises in my room. It wasn’t fun to lie to my parents and my friends. And it really wasn’t fun to discover that I just hated my body and myself more with each passing day. I was constantly cranky, obsessed, and struggling to keep up with life. When I graduated eighth grade, I finally admitted I couldn’t keep going the way I was. I had to overcome the barrier of self-hate somehow, and learn to be comfortable with my body at a healthy weight."
The hardest part, Jennifer writes, was telling her mother about her struggle.
"Admitting that I needed help to get out of the enormous pit I had dug myself into was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Telling my mother took more courage than I thought I would ever have. I wrote down what I wanted to say, what had happened over the past months, in a letter, and we both sat in her room while I read it to her. I told her I needed her, if only to make sure I ate enough. Now I realize I needed her to tell me she still loved me, and that I was lovable no matter how I looked."
Jennifer expresses that recovery was hard but she did recover, she is recovering. Read the whole essay here.
What I love so much about Jennifer's story is how brave she was in opening herself up to being honest with not only herself but also to her family support system. Please remember that you are not alone in this struggle and there are support systems out there that can help you. These disorders affect everyone differently and there are many paths to overcoming this struggle. I want you to get help today...whether this means telling a counsellor, a parent, a friend or even just admitting it to yourself. Seek out positive resources that will help you overcome this battle, this disease.
If you would like to share your story, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org