My entire life it seems has been my ultimate test.
When I was four I knew I was different from other girls my age. When I was 10 I felt as if I had no friends and that fitting in just wasn’t something people like me could do. When I was 11 I was so worried about who I was and how others viewed me, I couldn’t wear anything with sleeves because the stress of figuring out why I didn’t belong gave me sweat stains so bad the teasing would get worse. When I was 12 my nutrition consisted of eating half my portion at meals and sports four times a week. When I was 13 I realized I was depressed and when I was 14 I started self-harming.
When I was 15 and three days my mom found out I was a bulimic.
When I was 15 and a month I started therapy.
When I was 15 and two months I found out that bulimia had depleted half my heart’s mass and when I was 15 and two months and one day I was at home while my team went to sports camp. When I was 15 and four months I was at home when my team was on the field and when I was 15 and five months I was at home when my team went to parties, football games, school events and sleepovers.
When I was 16 and 14 days I was back on the field and when I was 16 and one month I was clean from self-harm. When I was 16 and two months I was at prom with my amazing boyfriend of two years. When I was 16 and three months I was scoring the winning goal of the championship game and when I was 16 and four months I had the confidence to wear a bathing suit in public. When I was 16 and five months I was back at school, making those who sat alone feel welcome, and when I was 16 and seven months I was back at square one.
After being in therapy for over a year for my bulimia and depression, I thought this would be the fall season that things actually changed. I had hope that I had learned my lesson and that I would never forget that God had been gracious enough to give me back all of the things I lost from my self-inflicted struggles. I thought that even though fall is always hard, that I wouldn’t come to the place where I needed medication or even wanted to go to the hospital just so I could have a break from the stress perfectionism puts on me in my vigorous academic life. I thought that my experiences had given me the wisdom I needed, and they did, but they didn’t give me the strength to save myself from falling back to my knees in the pain I have felt my whole life without realizing it.
I don’t know why I am depressed.
I don’t know why I am only apathetic when the sadness is gone.
I don’t know why I am once again disgusted to be in my own skin.
I don’t know why I am still fighting the same fight I have since as long as I can remember.
I don’t know why I am so ready to give up.
I don’t know why I am happiest when I am alone.
I don’t know why I am having so much trouble finishing a single task.
But I do know that I am not alone in my struggle. I know that there are others like me who don’t know what they need to get better or how others can help or why they feel the way they do. I know that bad things happen to good people and I know that just because you have a bad day it doesn’t mean you’re having a bad life. I know that tomorrow holds endless possibilities and that my future is but a few breaths away.
I know that Christ has never left my side and that he has always been holding everyone who has ever called out to Him.
I know that Christ loves me the same as he does a healthy person and the same as people who may be more sick that I am.
I know that there is hope in a world so seemingly bleak.
I know that there is calm before the storm but also that the storm wears itself out.
I know that I have made it this far and I can make it one more day.
I know that rather than perfect I was created perfectly imperfect.
I know that it’s hard; and even though it might not be better today or tomorrow, I will one day be free of my illness.
And I know that my illnesses do not define me.
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