A lot has happened since the year began – some good things and some bad – however, I think that I’ve learnt much more this year than I have compared to my high school years. I believe that moving to a new country, starting college, and living in a completely new place and environment can make you learn a lot more about yourself thank you’d think.
I’ve embarrassed myself A LOT
I’m a freshman in college, so naturally, I have tried my best to put myself out of my comfort zone in order to meet new people and socialise. In the process, however, I have made a lot (and I mean a lot) of childish mistakes. It’s not easy to move to a different country and start a new life. For me, when college began, I was already very confused about who I was as a person and living in a new place definitely did not serve me well.
I’ve made some really close friends
I’ve made some amazing memories in my first year of college and all of them involved some of my closest, truest friends. I have learnt so much from these guys and I’m truly so grateful for them.
I’ve learned to love myself
It took a lot for me to reach the place I am at right now. I chopped my hair off, cut off toxic friends, forgave a lot of people, got my heart broken, and eventually began to focus on myself and my needs before anyone else’s. Thinking about what I wanted and valuing my needs was a big step in pointing me towards the direction of self love.
I’ve realised the importance of mental health
I started therapy this year and I also started seeing a psychiatrist. I learnt a lot about different kinds of medication, the importance of opening up and talking about your problems, and doing little things to take care of yourself and make you feel better.
Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 have anorexia, and 1 to 3 percent of college-age women have bulimia. In addition to these clinically recognized conditions, there is a virtual epidemic of “subclinical” eating disorders among American women, many of whom do not meet the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia – such as bingeing, purging, and fasting, or abusing laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics – to keep their weight under control.
There has been a great deal of speculation about just what other factors – besides a cultural emphasis on thinness and the difficulty women have losing pounds – prompt some women to develop eating disorders while others manage to avoid them. One factor is occupational: eating disorders are common in women whose livelihood depends on thinness or appearance – for example, dancers, models, actresses, gymnasts, figure skaters, long distance runners, and jockeys.
Eating disorders can last a lifetime for some people. The thoughts, patterns, and habits that were developed during the disorder are hard to get over and a lot of individuals who are “weight restored” can still struggle with the same mentality that was present during the ED.
I have been very open about how I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since 4 years. It started out with me restricting food because I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but soon I became obsessed with my results and began to starve myself. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and, soon enough, my health began to deteriorate. I lost my period for three years, my hair started falling out, I was tired all the time, I was isolating myself.
My obsession with food and exercise lasted for about 2 years. I started recovery with the help of my golf coach, family, friends, and doctors. What I needed was a massive amount of support from the people closest to me and I was lucky enough to have friends who really cared about me and helped me with the recovery process. I also went to a nutritionist, which I believe was the best thing I could have done, who helped me throughout the weight gain process.
Since the last year, however, I am at a very uncertain place with regards to how I feel about my body and myself. I know I’m not the only one though, I know so many girls, around my age, who struggle with the same thoughts and patterns and have even partaken in some type of disordered eating. I feel especially upset about how social media portrays women and how we are forced to believe, since a very young age, that there is only one body type that is beautiful. Girls are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or “worth it”, just because they aren’t a size 0.
It’s so upsetting to see how girls as young as 9 are dieting and starving themselves because they want to be “pretty”. This is the kind of mindset I had for a very long time and I strongly believe that social media played a very strong role in shaping the way I thought of myself in such a negative light. It is so wrong to believe that being “pretty” comes in only one size and shape. I know countless girls who are so confident and happy with themselves and how they look even if they aren’t a size 0. It takes a lot to be truly happy with they way you look in our society today, especially when we are constantly told that we can’t love ourselves if we don’t look a certain way.
We are so much more than what we look in the mirror. Instead of striving to be skinny for the wrong reasons, we should pay more attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy by staying balanced and doing the best we can. This means focusing on not only eating healthy and nutritious food, but also meditating, reading a book, and exercising to FEEL GOOD, rather than tiring yourself every day to look a certain way.
Carlson, Karen J et al. The Harvard Guide To Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 1996.
Doing little things that make you happy throughout the day actually start to make a big difference in your overall mood. I made this list today because I’ve been going through a few rough weeks, recently, and I haven’t really been taking care of myself, or doing anything to make myself feel better or happy. So here goes, a few things you could do today, or in the coming days to feel better and more positive about yourself and just life in general 🙂
Read a book
Go to a café and order your favourite coffee
Watch a movie
Go to the beach
Go for a hike
Listen to good music
Listen to a podcast
Clean your room
Donate your clothes
Drink loads of water
Make healthier choices
Call your parents and ask them about their day
Call your best friends
Paint your nails
Get a tattoo (sorry mom)
Change your hairstyle
Change your wardrobe
Disappear and get shit done (one of my personal faves)
Play a sport
Take time off social media (instagram SUCKS)
Take a nap
Get rid of the extra stuff in your room
Go for a walk
Take 3 deep breaths
Spend time outside
Go for a picnic (I miss doing this so much! @namsy we gotta do this when I’m back home)
Drink green tea
Wake up early
Take care of your skin (follow a skincare routine)
the last few months have been hard. i started college, moved to a different country, lost some friends, made new ones, and went through a lot of breakdowns almost every week.
i’ve been struggling. see the thing is that even when you “recover” from an eating disorder, you never really do. the thoughts, the constant fixation on the way you look in that crop top, the continuous thinking about what others are eating and what they’re not, is always on the back of your mind. i’ve dealt with comments from my parents, my friends, relatives, strangers – change the way you look. at every single body weight, i’ve never been enough “too fat, too skinny, no curves, thunder thighs”.
i’m 17, a teenage girl. it’s obvious that i will care too much about what other people think. we judge others without even knowing that we do – it’s human nature. sometimes i feel like i will struggle with this for the rest of my life. use food to punish myself, use it to treat myself, use it to make me feel worse, use it to make me feel better. i just wish i was ‘normal’. i see girls everywhere and i can’t help but compare myself to them. i have days where i’m so happy with my body and i couldn’t care less about anyone else, because on those days only my opinion matters and i feel good about myself. but on the other days i’m under a grey cloud and i can’t think or focus or talk to anyone. i can never be “enough”.
on the bad days, i push people away. i ignore my friends, my family, never open my messages, and i find it hard to approach people. on those days everything is tinted grey, that’s when the thoughts start to go from bad to worse. you can talk to people about your worries and problems and that can make you feel better but in the end you’re the only one who can make the changes to make you feel better. you’re the only one who’s got the power to change the way you think.
Towards the end of my school year in 9th grade, I started to go to the gym with a trainer and within weeks the weight came off unknowingly. My clothes were fitting me better, I felt stronger, and I was starting to get attention from people all around me. I remember feeling so happy about my body for the first time in my life, I figured that if I worked harder, my results would be better.
After a few months although, I created certain ‘food rules’ for myself that I followed religiously for 3 weeks. My exams were going on during this time and when I went back to the golf club after they ended, the amount of attention I got was overwhelming. People were telling me how I great I looked and that I looked much better than before. I didn’t know back then that I was starting to fall into the traps of Anorexia Nervosa, but fast forward to 4 months and I weighed 40 pounds lesser than I did before. I continued to get a large amount of attention, but this time everyone around me was worried.
During my lowest points, I spent every single hour of every single day thinking about how many calories I’d eaten, planning how I would skip my next meal, and figuring out how I could be more active. I spent most of my time fighting with family members, arguments were a daily ritual, but I still didn’t do anything to get better. In my head, everything was fine and I chose to believe that they were just jealous of me.
I only started recovery towards the end of 10th grade, when my golf coach told me to go to a nutritionist and get help. A month after I went to her, I started to get better, I felt stronger, I was happier, I started to do things for myself and actually began to take better care of my health.
It’s not that I decided to make the change right after I decided to get help. Recovery was an extremely long process and it took me a very very long time to actually listen to what everyone was saying around me.
I remember how terrible my life was when I was anorexic, seriously. It’s like I cared about only one thing in my life and that was to get thinner and thinner and just be as skinny and bony as I could be. I drove myself and everyone around me crazy. I lost 2 years of my teenage life being obsessed about what everyone thought of me.