Wednesday, August 21, 2013

escaping the pain

**This is the most honest & vulnerable post I've written. 
Please understand that there's purpose in the story I am sharing with you today. 
My aim is to have this place be safe & honest, where judgement has no home.


I was 15 years old. I was your average confused and emotional high school girl. I liked boys a lot. I would go as far as to say I starved for their attention. There was this one boy in particular who captured my interest like no other. He also happened to be my best friend. We ended up dating for about seven weeks (wow, right?), and within that short time frame, he broke up with me seven times (yes, I counted). I guess you could say I was pretty naive to think that we could make something work out, considering on average we broke up about once a week. 
But, like I said, I was a confused and emotional girl. 

The seventh and final time he broke up with me, he wrote me a letter. We sat in my apartment living room, and he read the letter to me. With each and every word he read, my heart filled up with so much pain and emotion, I didn't know what to do. I had never in my life felt like this before. I was incredibly crushed. I had allowed myself to be so consumed by this boy, 
so much so that him breaking up with me led me to believe that I wasn't worth anything. 
I didn't know what to do with my emotions, but I had to let them out somehow.

A few months prior to this instance, I had heard about how some fellow students of mine were "cutting" themselves. I had never heard of this before, and I remember when I heard about it, I was very disturbed. How could anyone do that to themselves? I felt so sorry for those people.

As I was sitting in my living room, filled with an immense amount of anger and pain, anxious for some way out of it, I remembered those students. I remembered what they had done to themselves. It took only about a second for me to decide that I was going to do what they did. 
Prior to this moment, what they did to themselves didn't seem logical to me. 
But, in this moment it seemed to be the only thing that was logical; the only way out of this pain. 

I wasn't looking for a way to kill myself, and I don't think people who harm their bodies are always thinking they want a way out of this life; but rather, just a way out. 
Out of the emotion, out of the pain, out of the moment

Immediately, I felt horrible. I felt disturbed and very confused. That wasn't me. That was not something I'd normally do. I cried for hours, and hours, and hours. I told my mom and my Youth Pastor at the time, but that was it. I couldn't bare to tell anyone else. What would they think of me? Would they judge me, and think I'm crazy? I knew I wasn't though. 
I knew that it was not something I'd ever do again.

I am happy to say that this instance was the first and only instance. I've never looked back, and I've never even contemplated doing that to myself again. But, recently those scarring memories have began to surface... I was on Instagram last week, and a friend of mine posted a screen shot of a "warning" from Instagram. It looked like this: 

I began clicking hashtags that read #anorexia #bulimia #selfharm and a few others. The first thing that caught my attention, besides the warning sign that popped up, were the amount of photos listed under these hashtags. The hashtag #ana (AKA anorexia) has 1,628,792 photos. Comparing that amount to the hashtag #healthybody which has only 76,284 literally just breaks my heart

Clicking through these photos, you'll find quickly that the warning sign Instagram has enforced is definitely needed. Part of me wanted to turn away, to just ignore what I had seen. But, I couldn't. I began spending every night scrolling through these photos, crying to my husband. Why do they feel this way about themselves? Don't they know that what they're doing is killing themselves? Something that is a bit more disturbing than the photos are the captions and comments. Some read "not enough" and "every like = 1 hour of fasting". The comments are filled with people encouraging each other to"stay strong, stay thin", "you can do it" and even offering tips on how to starve yourself without your parents knowing. It is this underground community of people gathering together to promote this type of lifestyle. I began to do a bit more research online and noticed that this type of lifestyle/community thrives off social media. It's not like anorexia/bulimia/self harm are new things, 
but with the immediate access social media provides, it seems to have grown substantially. 

I feel so helpless, yet so motivated to do something. I don't know what I can do to help, but I know that I've been cut to my core because of what I've seen. I wrote this blog post in hopes of reaching someone out there who might be struggling with some form of eating disorder or self harm. I am not an expert, and I don't have much experience in this area. I shared my story with you so that you would know I am not perfect either. We all struggle with identity and security issues, and I am no different than you. I feel I've overcome and I want to help others do the same.


If you or anyone you know is facing any of these issues, please seek help:

I am also available for anyone. If you want someone to open up to, vent to, cry to... 
I give you my word -- I will not judge you, I will love you. 


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