I knew today was not my day from the moment I woke up this morning. I felt drained, even after a full night of sleep, so I shut my blinds and spent the next hour drifting in and out of sleep before I finally got up.

In the mornings, I usually just have a bit of fruit before I go running. I’ve been eating especially healthy lately, but this morning I decided to have figs and prunes with peanut butter because my body felt drained and in need of something high-energy, and I could honestly care less about fat, calories or feeling sick on my run.

It took me forever to get out and go running. I laid around, watching Netflix for an hour or so before I finally got my ass out the door- something I NEVER do.

After I got back from my run, I laid in the grass for an eternity before I finally went inside to shower. I skipped my post-run snack. I barked at my mom at the grocery store. I ate lunch two hours later than usual and skipped my afternoon snack. I made dinner, but bagged it up and put it in the fridge because I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t go for my bike ride. I didn’t lift. I cancelled  a date, despite the fact I haven’t done anything with anyone yet this summer. I barked at my mom again. I sat in my room and cried to my old favorite songs. Today was most definately not my day.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten like this, and it sure as hell isn’t the last. This isn’t the worst I’ve ever gotten, but with another stressful semester rapidly approaching, all I can do is worry.

I’ve been quite a fly-on-the-wall lately. I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but some conversations just seem to prick my ears and I can’t turn away my attention. I hear people at the gym, my sisters’ friends and all sorts of people talking about people they know with depression- talking not about how hard the depressed person has it, but how burdensome they are to the people around them. It makes me sick.

I know I am not easy to be around when I’m slipping. I know I get selfish, I shut people out, and I drag others down with me. I know I am a burden and I am ashamed of it. I hear these people talking and all I can do is think of myself and all the relationships I’ve torn down, all the things I’ve thrown away because I couldn’t break out of this gloomy state of mind.

I want to be a good person. I want to be a good sister and daughter and friend- and maybe even a good girlfriend and wife and mother if I get lucky enough one day. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to just to feel like a person, period. Feeling like an empty shell has become a familiar sensation to me.

I know I need help. I want help. I’ve tried getting help. I found a fabulous therapist up at school, unfortunately she was out of my insurance network and I was only able to see her twice before I came home for the summer. My mom set me up with a therapist back home, but I only saw her once. She was much older than I was, not to mention a bit too quirky, and I felt too uncomfortable to go back. We never got around to finding another therapist.

Sooner or later, I’m going to have tell my mom I still need help. It’s a lot harder than it sounds; I don’t want her to know that I’ve still been hurting so much. My mom’s already brought up the possibility of me leaving my university, staying at home, and just attending community college. She doesn’t think I can do this and all I’ve ever wanted was to make her proud of me.

Even though I want help, it’s not going to be easy to get. I have a hard time opening up to people. I’m scared if I disclose just how broken and twisted my mind is, they’ll take things away from me. I’m scared they won’t let me be a nurse- or even worse: they won’t let me stay at college at all. And when I finally do open up to people, I cry. I turn red like a tomato, I sweat, my speech becomes completely incoherent, my nose runs like a fire truck and I basically turn into a horrible blubbering mess.

I feel like a failure. I look at all the people around me, how much they’ve blossomed, all the people they love, the people that love them, the things they’ve done and the things they’re good at. I don’t have many people I’m close to. I don’t have many people that want to be around me- and quite honestly I don’t blame them. I’m not particularly good at anything or good for anything. I never clean up. I never dress up. I never go out. I pass through each day on autopilot. Passing through days, rather than spending them…that’s how my days have felt for as long as I can remember.

I’ll be twenty years old in six days. I’m not a big fan of my birthday, it just makes me feel depressed and anxious. I’ve spent the past two decades doing a whole lot of nothing and even more feeling sad. I feel like I’m wasting my life away.

I’m tired of living my life like this. I believe that life is so meaningful and precious and evenly last damn second should be cherished. I want to laugh. I want to smile. I want to love and be loved. It’s all just a bit easier said than done for me.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read what I’ve been keeping bottled up. And to anyone else who’s been hurting…you are special. You are wonderful and special and meaningful and I beg you to get all the love, support and help you need to live your life fully and to feel the purest happiness you can possibly imagine. Thank you all again for reading.


The Building and Breaking of Habits

I spend a lot of time wondering about the human mind.  In particular, I find habits very intriguing- what makes us do the things we do?  Addictions, exercise patterns, even mundane tasks such as brushing ones teeth all interest me.  Where do our habits come from? Why do we keep doing our habits?  Why is breaking a habit so hard to do?

The sorts of habits I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are related to eating. I am passionate about healthy eating, I’ve been a vegetarian for six years and a vegan for five months, and I consider nutrition to be a key component to my training. However, I have struggled with a poor body image since I was seven years old and disordered eating since I was sixteen.

When I was sixteen, I received intense treatment for anorexia nervosa. I was hospitalized for about three weeks. After I was discharged, I saw psychologists on a regular basis. They immediately established themselves as figures of authority and I became afraid to open up to them, and they in turn became angry when I would refuse to disclose the contents of my mind.  They fixed my body, but left my mind even more damaged.

As soon as I had control over my life again, I snapped right back into restrictive dieting- a few times my weight would dip below the weight at which I was hospitalized.  After years of restriction, I began to struggle with binges, and my extreme fear of gaining weight drove me to put my finger down my throat and purge.

Finally, I looked in the mirror one night and decided enough was enough- I’m tired of being sick. I still struggle with restriction and binges now and again but I’m fighting to find the state of balanced nourishment between overeating and hardly eating anything at all. Simply “eating normally” is a lot harder than it sounds. It’s been years since I’ve ever really done so. I still binge. I still get scared and restrict my diet. I’m gaining weight and I’m absolutely terrified it’s never going to stop.  However, I’m determined to get better. I want to stop listening to dieting rules and start listening to the hunger cues my body gives me.

It’s going to be hard…it’s not easy trying to rewire your brain. At a month shy of turning twenty, my mind is slowly becoming less pliable as I grow older- putting off these changes will only make things harder and these are changes that need to happen. Obviously, I don’t have the willpower to maintain a state of starvation forever and overeating sends me into a state of emotional turmoil. My only hope is to recover from disordered eating once and for all.

It’s scary. What if it’s genetically impossible for me to have a good body? What if, after years of disordered eating, I’ve irreversibly upset my metabolism? What if I can’t clean up the mess in my mind? These are all chances I’ll need to take. Even if I can’t get “better” I want to get as close to “better” as I possibly can.

I often wonder how things would be if my treatment had been different when I was sixteen. What if my therapists had been sympathetic rather than righteous? Of course, I still probably wouldn’t be “better”. I didn’t want to be “better”, I wanted to be skinny. But maybe I wouldn’t be so afraid to open up to people. Maybe I wouldn’t have so many issues with trust. Maybe I wouldn’t be so afraid to seek out professional help again. However, you can’t change the past; you can only learn from it or let it go.

I just need to be mindful…mindful of hunger, mindful of fullness, and mindful of my emotions. I need to notice my thoughts and let go of the toxic things that cross my mind. I need to learn from my mistakes and let go of the guilt that accompanies them. I need to stay patient and positive until my body and mind are restored to the way Mother Nature designed them to work, because such a natural state will finally set me free.