I always felt that there was a strong correlation between my personal struggles and my willingness to share them with anyone who was willing to listen. I think to myself daily, “There is a reason why I’m so open to sharing my story” but was never sure when and how. Well, I believe the time is now and the stigma behind mental health needs to be diminished. If my story can help someone else speak out, then I’ve helped accomplish something greater than ever imagined so here it goes…
As far back as I can remember, I have never been comfortable within my own skin. I was always overweight as a child. While growing up my insecurities grew stronger. It wasn’t until high school when I got bullied for being overweight that the dark voice that I now call ED (for eating disorder) started creeping in, “Well, maybe you are overweight and need to change it,” ED was telling me. That began a spiral of yo-yo dieting that eventually turned into anorexia. I was hurting on the inside but kept getting praise on the outside for how “good” I looked and that fed ED even more. Although I lost a lot of weight and physically looked skinny, I was so empty on the inside. I remember crying at night, thinking nobody knows the pain I’m in. I felt depressed, which would cause me to exercise more frequently, smoke cigarettes to suppress my appetite and the spiral continued. The one rock in my life during this time was my then boyfriend (now fiancé). He was the only one who knew what was going on and could put a smile on my face and for that, I’m forever grateful.
A few months later and here I was, 108 pounds and struggling. My ED voice kept telling me because I’m skinny, I could eat whatever I wanted and so, I listened. The weight slowly started to pile on and I ended up gaining all the weight back plus more, but in a very unsafe way. Chips, cookies, chocolate…those were my go-to’s and this began a binge eating/restriction cycle that has haunted me for 10 years. I would go from eating a perfectly healthy diet, exercising every other day and losing 20-30 pounds to the complete opposite where I’m binging on anything and everything in my sight and not exercising. Every time I lost 20 pounds, I’d gain 30. Food was always on my mind; whether it was the guilt and shame of what I just ate or what meal was going to be next. It consumed me and controlled my life. When I gained weight, I became seriously depressed and felt deep pain inside, always questioning, why me?
Two years ago I decided enough is enough and it’s time to get help. Although I was thankful that I “hit rock bottom” so to speak, it brought on one of the most difficult and dark times in my life. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been, the most depressed I’ve ever been but ready to make changes. At this time, I was also two months into my education at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition to follow my dreams of becoming a Holistic Nutritionist. I was so excited for this time in my life but it was also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I left my previous job and was planning to enter into the world of nutrition full force but struggling the way I was and sitting in a classroom with my fellow classmates eating their salads and fruit when all I could think about was going home and binging on pizza was taxing on my mind and contributed to the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced. I was forced to take a whole month off life, no school, no job. I thought this would be the perfect time to focus on myself and get better but boy, was I wrong. Sitting at home alone with my thoughts created a space of darkness that I would never wish on anyone. I felt alone, lost and scared.
I made an appointment to see my GP to discuss everything I was feeling who put in a referral for a psychiatrist at North York General Hospital. After nine months of waiting, I finally had my appointment, which I was so excited for. The psychiatrist asked me a bunch of questions only to tell me she couldn’t take on more patients and will put in another referral to a different clinic but that this would take another 4-6 weeks. In between, I saw two different therapists, who I didn’t vibe with. The icing on the cake was the last GP I saw who specializes in psychotherapy. Long story short, he asked me to envision what size pants I want to wear and to step on the scale at least once a day. Are you kidding me?? For someone struggling with depression and an eating disorder, this was the WORST thing he could have said. It was in that moment that I knew I had to change things for myself.
I am currently an A+ student at IHN (graduating in October 2016 – yahoo!!), getting married to the love of my life, have two beautiful German Shepherds and took a continuing education course with Kyla Fox to understand eating disorders and how I can help others as a Holistic Nutritionist who are going through what I went through. Each day is a new blessing and I am so thankful to have the incredible support of my family and friends to make a full recovery and go on to live my passion of bringing eating disorder awareness to the masses.
My eating disorder could have won many times but instead I chose to fight it. Thank you for listening and thank you to The Dialogue Projects for creating a safe and comforting space to share my story.