National Eating Disorders Association

Stories of Hope

Love Stepped In
By Mariah Skye

Senior year; for some it’s the year where you “find yourself.” For others it’s the same year you lose yourself. I however, was stuck in between the hallway that separated the two. I hadn’t completely lost it, but I hadn’t completely embraced my rights to individuality either. I was deprived, and I walked the school halls a slave to my deep and darkest secrets; depression and starvation. 

I always wanted to be a certain size, and I felt unlucky, cursed almost. I was unhappy, sinking deeper and deeper, but no one would have known by how good I was at pretending. I became the “go-to” person when people were sad. To others I was strong, but in reality I was a preacher who talked the talk but didn’t dare to walk it. “Love yourself, put you first, don’t be any one but the person you were made to be…” The advice I used to help others was the advice I denied myself. In my head I wasn’t worthy. I wanted so much for people to believe that they were beautiful meanwhile I hadn’t felt that way about myself. I lacked that self -love and respect I needed. I didn’t care enough for my temple, a victim to my insecurities and bulimia. I didn’t mind starving myself but LOVE SOON STEPPED IN.

After a while friends noticed my attitude. I didn’t want to talk for too long because of how “big” I was compared to my school friends. I spoke less and I started hanging out less too. I wasn’t as fun as I was when I loved myself. The road back to that love was long, sometimes rough and not at all easy, but worth it. At first when my doctor informed me that I was obese, I wanted so badly to lose the weight. I had a goal and I would do anything to reach it. I told myself I would do anything for the sense of control that I lacked so often in my life. 

I thought being thinner would fill the void in my soul that longed to be happy. What was it that I needed? 

I see now what I needed was LOVE. Love for myself. It is essential. 

My road towards recovery was not easy, but I didn't want to be trapped within bulimia's hold any longer. I took steps towards changing my habits. At first, I still feared gaining weight, and eating properly was a real battle. I started reading many self- help books during this process, and being open and honest with my loved ones about my struggles with the disorder. I wasn't sure that they'd be accepting, but I couldn't continue to be too afraid to talk to someone. I decided to be brave, and to not silence my problem with bulimia. Being open about it I gained the support that I needed in order to be strong. One of my favorite reads was a book called "Coming Home to Myself." The title itself was so empowering, and opened my eyes to the fact that I had lost myself so much during my battle with bulimia. I started writing a lot, taking notes about how the readings affected my personal life. I started taking the time to write all the things I loved about myself down, taking away from the time I had used to ridicule myself. Family members were helpful in making sure to never judge me when it was difficult to get back into a healthier pattern. It was not always a fun ride, but it was a journey I needed to take, and I wouldn't take back my choice to fight bulimia for even a second. 

Now, I realize how beautiful I really am, and I never want to let go of that. Life and its heartbreak can hit you all at once, but remember who you start and end each day with. The girl or guy who should mean more than anything in life is you. It starts with the person you see in the mirror each day. Seeking help, and realizing there was a problem that was taking over my life both mentally and physically was the greatest thing I could have ever done for myself. You are your first love. Respect yourself and your temple and understand it is okay to get the help that you need when you need it. Let your love for you step in today. The first and greatest step to take is a step of love. Next is belief in your ability to change, and heal.



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