when i realized that not being okay, was okay.
I’ve always been the outgoing gal in the room. The one that didn’t care what a single person thought, the one that wasn’t searching for attention but it somehow found her. So once I got to college I began to wonder where I lost myself. All of a sudden boys were calling me “a five on a good day.” I didn’t attract the guy friends I was use to having, or really even the girl friends. These people didn’t see me as the girl they wanted to be friends with. The boys didn’t see me as the girl they had any interest in. Just like that, I began losing myself. I no longer felt like I could speak up in a crowd, or make a typical joke, or be my weird quirky self. I didn’t want to speak to anyone due to the fear of being unliked. Or maybe it was just me not being as liked as I wanted to be. So maybe I did long for the attention I once had but never noticed. But then again, don’t we all? I ended up resenting the school I attended that everyone couldn’t wait to return to. But I could wait. I tried to transfer with no luck. So I returned the following year and to my surprise….I had a better year. I acutally enjoyed being there. I measured the success of my year by the friends I obtained, the boys who talked to me, and the parties I “thrived at.” In retrospect, I didn’t have a better year. I actually had the most life changing year of my life to date. Though I would say it has been the most self reflecting year I have had in my 21 years of life, it has most definitely been the hardest. I lost potenitally 20lbs. At the time, it was the best thing to happen to me. People noticed me. The attention came back. Looking back, I was eating one salad a day and a few reduced fat wheat thins. My goal was one meal and a work out everyday. I was skipping classes to work out. I had a concussion and I was working out. My head pounding and yet I couldn’t stop and let my body heal. At the time I thought this represented dedication, it actually represented my battle with a healthy life. If I thought I ate something “bad” I would throw up. At first it started as an “every now and then” kind of ordeal. I thought oh this is fine…I mean my stomach hurts right? It needs to come out right? And then it progressed. I was now throwing up at least once a day. I would lock the door and turn on music so no one could hear me. I began using a toothbrush when my throat became numb to my finger. Everyday I would stare at the toothbrush and just wonder what was I doing. Who was I? How did I get here? But the attention and the praise for all the weight I had lost is what kept me coming back to that disgusting toilet. It progressed even further to binge eating with guilt. You don’t understand it until it has happened to you. Binge eating isn’t like just eating too much. It is like being on auto-pilot. You physically feel like you cannot stop. It was an outer body experience, like I wasn’t even there. I wasn’t even me. I would then begin crying and run to the bathroom to get rid out it as fast as I could. I couldn’t stop crying when I was throwing up. I felt completely broken. I had always been the happy one, the one who loved life, loved living, and didn’t have a care in the world. So not only was I broken but I was lost. I went home that summer, and I lived in a small house where you could hear everything and everyone. I would try and get up in the night to binge eat but I would be so afraid that my mom would come in and hear me that it kept me from doing it. I couldn’t let anyone know I was broken. I couldn’t let anyone know I had a problem, because then that meant I really did have a problem. Its like I knew, and I wanted others to know but then again I didn’t. I didn’t want their shameful or pitiful looks. I just wanted someone to unbreak me. I once left the toilet seat up after a purging episode and my mom confronted me about it, so now she knew. But unfortunately she looked at me as if I was abnormal. It hurt me even more. She cried and I cried but I think she was crying because now there was a problem. I had a problem, which meant I could no longer be considered normal. It was no longer smooth sailing. I do owe it to that house and the constant family presence for the major stop in my binge eating and purging. When I returned to school in the fall I did throw up a couple of times. I somehow managed to stop though. I really cant remember how, but I did. But that is not where I became unbroken. I then started to suffer from undiagnosed anxiety and depression. I no longer wanted to be around people, I no longer wanted to get out of bed, I no longer had the energy or interest in working out. And I would just cry, even if there wasn’t a reason to. I would have days where I would lay on the floor in my bedroom with the lights off sobbing asking God to save me. I tear up just thinking about it, remembering the pain I felt. The loneliness, the hopelessness. And where did it all come from? That was the worst part. I didn’t know. I still don’t know. I didn’t drink very much alcohol that semester until the end. One night I drank with friends and ended up connecting with a girl who also suffered from anxiety and depression. I hadn’t really opened up to a lot of people about it because I felt like my friends didn’t understand. This felt like a huge relief to finally tell someone that would understand. We shared our stories and talked and then I somehow found my way back home. I had had too much to drink considering that I was suffering from depression and I somehow found my way to a kitchen knife. I honestly couldn’t tell you how or why I got to that point on a night that I had just spent surrounded by friends. Of all the nights, I certainly didn’t expect it to be that one. I laid in my bed and texted my roommate that I needed help. “Help me.” “I need help.” But they didn’t come. I then called another friend sobbing while I laid there cutting my skin. Trying to cut myself until I could really feel it through the mask of the alcohol. Did I want to kill myself? I dont think so. I’m afraid to die. But i’m also afraid of not living. And in this moment, in this time of my life I wasn’t living. I thank God for the friend I had and still have in this girl. She stayed on the phone with me until she got to my house, which was almost instantaneously. She opened the door and took the knife away from me and I just kept repeating “I can’t do this anymore.” I couldn’t. Living a life full of depression is no life to live, it hurts so badly and it feels like you’ll never be happy again. The sad part is, it’s tough to find people that understand that. People think you can just snap out of it, if you could..wouldn’t we all be happy? Wouldn’t there be no suicide statistics to even consider? Do you think I want to be sad, laying in my floor crying alone, or cutting myself in my bed? I can tell you I didn’t then and I would never want to be at that point again now. So no, hello world I’m here to tell you you can’t just “snap out of it.” I ended up calling my mother that night, which to this day, I still can’t decide if that was a good decision or not. Somehow she still doesn’t understand the illness and all it encompasses. But I have to be okay with that and know she’s doing her best. I know all she wants in this world is for me to be happy and safe, but I do wish she could understand me better sometimes. Her and my father were there when I woke up the next morning and they had driven to school to get me. I spent christmas break at my home mostly feeling numb. I felt numb to a lot of things at this point. I wasn't sad, but I couldn’t feel happiness or love. It was a feeling of nothingness. I was afraid I would never feel again. I met a boy during this time, he asked me on a date. I was so scared of being a big girl and going on a one-on-one date that I turned it into a group date to calm my nerves. We went, I couldnt remember the last time I laughed that much or that hard. My cheeks hurt. He was attractive, funny, smart, sweet, and weird just like me. Yet, I didn’t feel that spark. I didn’t feel the butterflies, I didn’t feel the excitment. I couldn’t figure out why until I took some time to relfect on myself. I realized it wasn't incompatibility, but it was me. I was numb and couldn’t feel anything. He told me he really liked me and wanted to see how it went even with me going back to school, and I had to tell him that I couldn’t be with him. I couldn’t promise him any kind of future when I could barely get myself to the next day. I knew I couldn’t care for someone else because I needed all of my energy to focus on myself. Somehow he was persistent, and I truly thank God for that. He too has struggled with anxiety and depression and having him to open up to just might have saved me. He loves me unconditionally and doesnt see me as abnormal or broken. He constantly tells me that we’re just growing up and growing up is hard. And he’s right. Growing up is fucking hard, especially for someone who was destined to be a kid forever. He encourages me to go to the gym, yet has nothing to say when I don’t. I might gain a little weight, and thats okay. Maybe I eat a salad, or maybe we go out for icecream. Either is fine. He encouraged me to get medication from the doctor for depression and anxiety. He made that choice feel like it was okay. Because it is okay to get help. It is okay to say you’re depressed. No one should look at you any differently, they are not above you, and honestly they are probably broken in some way too. Depression doesn’t have to be permanent, it can be transient, but you have to help yourself. You have to make the conscious decision to say “I’m not okay, and that’s okay, but lets do something about it.” I can’t say that now I spend everyday on cloud 9 but wow am I living a better life than I could have ever imagined a year or so ago. Maybe God sent this man into my life to save me, the Lord knows I asked enough times. Or maybe he was the extra support I needed to save myself. I really don’t know. I do know that I have gained empathy, and more perspective than I ever could have imagined from this experience. I hope I can somehow use this perspective to help at least one other person. So today yell it loud, yell it proud. I’M NOT OKAY AND THAT IS OKAY!!!!