Do you remember being 5 and the words kids used to insult each other? Kids pick up trigger words early on and those become their go-to words for insults. The bigger the trigger, the more effective the insult.
The truth is the words themselves have little meaning when you are young. In fact they have little meaning on their own. The reaction to the words creates the meaning in the society. They are just words. And the problem is that those words stick and grow in meaning. They become the words that define our identity.
As an adult, there continue to be particular words thrown at me that reinforce what I think about myself, and how I value myself. My goal is to reduce the affect the words have on my self-worth and on my confidence.
This week, Kate describes how one word spiralled into self-doubt and eventually self-hatred, as well as how she pulled herself out of that spiral.
Remember to be kind to yourself, and to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.
Your blog moderator,
Day by Day – by Kate
I have always had a desire to be perfect. The perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend. It wasn’t until recently that I realized perfection doesn’t exist, and that even if it did, I wouldn’t want to be it. It has taken me so long to get to this point. I can finally say that I am whole-heartedly happy with who I am on the inside and out. I am not perfect, and I am one hundred percent okay with that.
My name is Kate, I am nineteen years old, and I am a survivor of an Eating Disorder.
When I was ten years old, I began to compare myself to everyone around me. I soon came to the conclusion that I was bigger than everyone else, I was short, I was round, and I was not athletic. This realization kick started nearly a decade of self hatred. When I was in the fourth grade, a boy in class said he would never like me because of my size. That left me with burning questions. Was I bigger than others? Was being that wrong? Was I unhealthy? This lead to constant feelings of inadequacy. Some people say that your childhood shapes who you one day become. I had always believed that was true. For years, I was certain that I was forever going to be a person that would never accept myself for who I am, and that I was always going to be inadequate.
In the ninth grade, things got worse. I always had a deep self esteem issue, but I had never really acted on it. The media played a big role in what turned my life upside down. I began taking on behaviours that I didn’t even recognize at first. Normally, I would outline what those behaviours were, but I think it’s best if I just sum it up: I was cruel to myself, and to my body, and to my soul. I punished myself. I let my mind take control of my existence. ED absorbed what was left of the real me, and began taking over my every move. For two years, I was silent. For two years, I didn’t even know that I was sick. In grade eleven, I discovered that I was depressed. I never wanted to do anything, yet I did everything. My strive to be perfect overpowered my desire to stay in bed, but I never smiled. I worked two jobs, got straight A’s, had friends and a boyfriend, but on the inside I was numb. ED haunted me every waking moment. The best way to describe it is to say that I was a host. It was my body moving, but I was not inside. Not who I am truly, but a deformed version of someone that I will never recognize. I began seeing a counsellor at school. We would talk about how I was feeling depressed. One day she asked me if there was anything else I wanted to talk about. I remember biting my lip. It was like a switch was flipped and I suddenly realized that I was sick. That the behaviours I was participating in weren’t normal, and that I had never actually noticed. I told her that I think I may have an Eating Disorder. We talked for another hour about why I felt this way. Suddenly, I was at home that night telling my sister, and the next few days led to telling my parents and friends and family. Like rapid fire, my journey to recovery began as quickly as my realization of my illness.
I was immediately admitted into an outpatient Eating Disorder youth clinic that I would attend once a week. The nurse practitioner would take my vitals, my dietician would discuss food with me, and my counsellor would listen to me vent. This program opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world I didn’t know could exist. Freedom. I loved attending my sessions, because each time, I left with a new piece of the puzzle that I had been trying to put together for so long. A puzzle that would replace ED forever. I don’t know if it was the time and the venting that slowly made it easier, or if it was the overwhelming feelings of support and care that I received from those around me. Looking back, I am grateful to have gone through this. Because it made me stronger than I ever was. I am hard working, dedicated, caring, I love myself. I want what is my best for myself.
Flash forward, I am now entering my second year of college. I am optimistic, accepting, and excited for what my future holds for me. I never want to go back to where I was, and I honestly cannot see that happening. I am a beautiful trainwreck. I was once a complete disaster, that has now bloomed into a new found freedom. Freedom to express who I really am, freedom to love everything that I once despised. Freedom to look inside my heart and find compassion.
My Eating Disorder could have killed me. And for a while, it did. ED does not define who I am. I am not a girl with an Eating Disorder. I am a girl who has been through a self inflicted hell and has ended up on the other side. There is light after the darkness. The darkness can not hide me anymore. I am ready to take on what life has planned for me. I am ready to be free.