Despite popular belief, mental illness can be contagious. I developed Anorexia after picking up my friend’s disordered eating habits during school. If she did not get potatoes on her plate, then neither would I; this relationship between us was both negative and startlingly competitive. It started as a way to make myself feel more comfortable and although I already had a “skinny and healthy” frame, I always felt insecure within my own body. Eating was a way to control my life and inflict self-discipline. I had already had a previous history of depression and anxiety, which got to a point where I transferred schools. I came to my new school with reluctance, for my parents were the ones who decided on the switch. I am someone who is obsessed with getting the perfect grade, working hours on homework, and overachieving in all aspects of my life; this did nothing but fuel my eating disorder’s fire.
My eating disorder became all-consuming and it was not until I began running cross country that it’s power over me grew. But the same vice that threw me into the pits of my eating disorder, ended up pulling me out of it. Running saved me. I began to realize that I had real talent in running. However, as my body was weak and had little energy, I knew continuing to restrict my caloric intake would make me crumble as a runner. I would never reach my full potential if I was not allowing my body to build muscle. So, rather quickly, I began to recharge my system. The reversal was so sudden I hardly knew it had come. My team went on that year to become state champions and I have been running and fueling myself ever sense.
Your body is a temple, and you are only blessed with one, so treat it carefully and with reverence! Each person has so much potential to do good in the world so do not let yourself be consumed by your mind. Despite what you may think is the “perfect” body image, you are beautiful just the way you are. Attempting to change your physical appearance will never work. What needs to be changed is the relationship you have with your body.
I am an adolescent perfectionist who found recovery in running and body acceptance.