I welcome you to join me as I share my story of my own fight for beauty! I’ll be posting once a week a new chapter of my journey, from beginning to end. I’m going to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the embarrassing. My hope is to remove the veil and misconceptions that people have about eating disorders while offering hope to those struggling that there really is a way out.
With that said, here is Chapter 8 of my story. To read chapter 1, click here.
The first few days of my time in rehab were all a blur, and yet certain moments I remember with great detail. I remember waking up after my first night where I was instructed to go to the nurses station to be weighed and have my vitals checked. I remember sitting down to a plate of pancakes with calorie-ridden syrup and a cup of soy-milk. I stared in disbelief and looked around at the other girls also reluctantly eating from their plates that were surely filled with food most would never dare to touch. I remember sitting on the couch as I watched the other girls braid each other’s hair and laugh at whatever was on the television. I remember laying in my bed feeling as if my emotions had been frozen. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t laugh. I felt nothing. I felt dead.
I tried to pray, but it felt as if my prayers would float into the air only to fall beside me. I felt like I was praying to a wall. Did God even exist? Had I been deceived my entire life?
How did I go from the girl whose dreams seemed so close to coming true. A life filled with photo-shoots and recording studios to a nobody who sat alone in rehab.
I quickly settled into my new routine that would be my life for the next 45 days.
6:30am: Wake up.
7am: Report to the nurses station where we were weighed and had our vitals checked. 8am: Breakfast
9am: Group therapy where we each had to read off a list of different emotions and say which 4 we related to the most. The most commonly used emotions were sadness and loneliness.
11am: Art therapy.
1:30pm: Private therapy or your weekly doctor’s visit.
7pm: Free time where you were allowed a 15 minute phone call.
10pm: Lights out.
I quickly grew to love my new routine. There was a safety in it. I was free from full-length mirrors and scales. I didn’t have to worry about what my next meal would be. I didn’t have to measure or weigh my food. I didn’t have the temptation to binge or purge. I felt safe. I couldn’t hurt myself. I couldn’t sabotage myself.
About halfway through my treatment, my family was allowed to pick me up and bring me away from the center for a day. I remember the excitement I felt as we pulled away from the treatment center to head into the city. I drove my own car and I felt a sense of freedom that I hadn’t felt in some time. I was in control of where I was going.
As we pulled into the mall, a sense of anxiety began to overtake me. I was surrounded by people whose day-to-day lives had remained the same over the last few months, unlike mine. I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at a magazine or even heard what the latest song on the radio was. I had forgotten that a world outside of treatment existed. A world that was fixated on appearance and looks. A world that didn’t care about my own safety or the condition of my heart. A world that shamed you if you didn’t fit into a size two.
My family, along with my best friend Kainos, wandered through the stores with me. My heart began racing as I couldn’t help but catch my reflection in every store window. Photos of models and mannequins with perfect body shapes bombarded my view.
I’m not safe here. I’m not enough here.
As we walked into a Barnes and Noble store, I began to grab at my chest and tears filled my eyes. My thoughts became jumbled and I fought for the words to say as my family looked at me with confusion. My vision became blurry and all I could say was “Please don’t look at me. Please don’t look at me.” I fell to the ground and crawled into the fetal position as I tried to catch my breath and make sense of what was happening to my body.
I didn’t care about the onlookers who looked upon me and my family with pity. I could feel their stares burning into me and I could see one of my sister’s begin to cry. I knew that I was hurting them, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel anything beyond the pain I felt in the moment.
The pain of not being enough. The pain of losing control. The pain that came from realizing that I was no longer the strong and brave girl I once knew.
I laid on the floor that day. The sound of my mother trying to calm me down, the sound of the shoppers around me and the sound of my sisters crying all were distant noises around me compared to the voice of bulimia that screamed at me in that moment. The voice that I had spent weeks being able to ignore. It made sure I didn’t fully forget it’s voice.
You will never be enough.
Stay tuned for the next chapter!
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