National Eating Disorders Association

Finally Free

Paige Sklar, National Walks Assistant

I am the girl that is not good enough.

I am the girl that is not pretty enough.

I am the girl that is not smart enough.

I will never be enough.

My name is Paige and I’m a 22-year-old senior in college. Do you think what I said above sounds harsh? This was my reality for most of my life. For as long as I can remember, I struggled immensely with my self-worth and self-esteem; always in search for the light at the end of the tunnel that never seemed to come. For the most part - no one knew of my daily internal battle because I was always the girl hiding her pain with a smile.

When I was 17 most of my friends were getting excited about college and everything their future held, but what about me? What was I destined to do? I didn’t know. Convinced that I would fail in college, I decided to join the army but was told I needed to lose weight first. I was determined to reach this goal because I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t a loser, I wasn’t a failure, I could do something, anything. When I lost weight, people began to notice me and compliment me, it made me feel like I wasn’t hidden anymore. I equated my worth with the number on the scale and it became an obsession.

I didn’t become the successful and confident girl I was in search of, instead I became the girl with the eating disorder.

I blamed myself, thinking it was my fault - and was scared of the idea that recovery would never be possible. I was a prisoner of my own mind, forgetting what it was like to live. I longed for freedom, to live confidently, to be happy. I was terrified of recovery because my eating disorder provided me with control, something I never had before. But I realized this is not how my story was meant to end.

I refused to let it end this way.

Throughout my recovery journey I learned many valuable lessons about myself that ultimately define who I am today:

1. You don’t need to please everyone

2. Always practice self-care and take care of yourself. Physically and mentally

3. Its okay to have bad days, but that doesn’t mean that tomorrow has to be

4. Never give up, because I’m capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind too

Now, let’s try this again…

I am the girl that is kind.

I am the girl that is beautiful inside and out.

I am the girl that smiles and laughs with all of her hearts content.

I am the girl that will do anything for her friends and is fiercely loyal.

I am the girl that is working at her dream job and loves what she does every second of the day.

I am the girl that is and always will be enough.

I am not the girl with the eating disorder, I am the girl that once struggled with an eating disorder and now, I am the girl that is free.

Paige is NEDA's National Walks Assistant and a senior at Drew University. Prior to joining NEDA staff, Paige was a long time volunteer in various departments including the NEDA Helpline, public policy, development, and coordinated the Central NJ NEDA walk. In her spare time, Paige enjoys playing sports, hiking, watching movies and hanging out with her friends.

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