Off the bat I am going to share the fact that I am only 19.
I understand that many of you are older and hold more significant life experiences than I, but that doesn’t mean my story shouldn't be heard. I’m studying to be an adolescent psychiatrist for Pete’s sake! If I’m going to help others reach their full potential, then I better do so for myself too.
Not too long ago I was in high school and loving life. As a blonde, straight A’s, outgoing 4-year varsity cheerleader, I thought I was living the dream. I’ve been 5’7" since freshman year and never weighed an ounce over 125 at that point. I flaunted my 30F chest (an XL in tops with hips that slid easily into a size 2) and the mature-beyond-my-years stories that accompanied it.
When I became involved with an older, extremely successful, attractive guy, I thought my life’s perfection was complete. Shocking that I was wrong, right? Ha!
We dated for two years. Two years of me convinced I was 20-something and not just 16/17/18. Two years of smiles, tears, fights. Two years that held major life changes like cheerleading-ending surgeries and committing to a college myself. Two years that took me from the top of the world to the darkest bottom.
I was convinced the bruises and chipped tooth were my fault. I was convinced that the other girls he constantly talked to and hid from me were better than I. That he only found them was because I wasn’t good enough. I was convinced that he only fell in “love” with me because of my appearance. I was convinced it all fell apart because that appearance changed. That the girl he is dating now only came about because I was no longer worthy of being by his side. He moved on, she moved in, and me? I moved up in pants sizes.
In the months following I reached a gruesome 172 lbs. I hated mirrors. The chest that I used to think was an attribute, became a burden. I went from one extreme to the other. Not eating more than 500 calories a day and dropping 30 lbs to stuffing my face and crying for weeks. From going home with anyone who called me “pretty” to drinking until I forgot my own name. I was a mess.
After a semester of college and being surrounded by beautiful, tiny women in my sorority, I felt the need to make a change. I quit the snacking and dessert binges. I walked at least 90 minutes a day (running is out of the question due to joint injuries). I started to lose weight, but not fast enough in my eyes.
I turned to illegal prescription use. Phentermine 37.5g. A script that was written for a friend, but taken daily by me. With one of my majors being pre-medicine, this is something I knew was wrong and I would never promote. The Phentermine made me sick a lot, but I didn’t care. My focus was on losing 25 more lbs, minimally.
The weight began to fall back off. I hit 147, 25 lbs lost. A number that many women would be proud of, yet I still didn’t feel that way. I still spent my nights agonizing over pictures of my ex and his new girl. How skinny she is. How pretty she is. How she is everything I couldn’t be. I no longer felt comfortable talking with guys, let alone going home with them. I didn’t want anyone seeing me without clothes. I didn’t want anyone seeing me period.
I’m still stuck at my hourglass 145-149, an XL on top and a size 7/8, but I am working on taking a healthier approach. More fruits, less pills. More “I look good today” and less “I wish I was invisible.”
It’s a process of not only healing past insecurities, but dealing with new ones as well. Abuse can do crazy things to one’s mind; luckily I walked away from it with emotional damage along with a chipped tooth and nothing more.
Someday I will let people in again. Someday I will be proud of what I have accomplished not only weight wise, but in every aspect of my life as well.
To those out there who are young and feeling insecure, you’re not alone. Even on the days that your pants don’t fit right, there is still someone else out there fighting an even tougher obstacle. Sometimes just sharing your story can help, myself along with the many others on this site are living proof.