An Open Letter to my Eating Disorder

Hey friends!

Its been a long time since I’ve posted, but I’m still alive and well. I wrote this letter to submit to Thought Catalog, but it was never published, so I shall grace my personal blog with my subpar essay! My reasoning behind writing this “Open Letter” was to give those unaffected by Eating Disorders insight into what it’s like to live with one. Though in my opinion it’s an uncomfortable essay, I hope it helps readers understand the illness that I, and so many others, live with everyday.

My Dearest Friend and Cruelest Enemy,

I never believed that we would meet when I learned about you in Sophomore Health class. I never considered that an intangible monster could destroy my carefree teenage years, or that my life may actually be threatened by dark thoughts growing rampantly through my mind. It started slowly; we were nothing more than acquaintances, and our encounters were fleeting. Soon however, I began to seek your company, as my life seemed to slowly fall apart. Classes were getting more difficult, SATs were looming, and the pressure of college applications fell heavily upon my shoulders, but you were there, and you promised to lighten my load. I listened to your advice to take control of my life in any way possible; you convinced me to calculate calories, skip meals, and allow my happiness to hinge on the proximity to my goal weight. The funny part is that I actually believed you would make me happy.

            You soon became possessive and jealous, only allowing me to spend time with people that wouldn’t diminish your control over me. Old friends became distant, practically nonexistent compared to you. My family commented on how withdrawn and irritable I had become, but I knew it was all worth it to be in control, just like you promised. You and I bantered back and forth nearly ever moment of the day, from morning to night you quizzed me on nutrition facts, BMI statistics, and excuses to skip meals. I was dwindling; my body was wasting away, and still your persistent screams pushed me further. The people around me begged for me to cut you loose, but I refused to allow myself to fail you. However you, my dear friend, were failing me.

            My grades were slipping as I was unable to focus on anything but starving, my friends were becoming impatient with my stubborn infatuation with you, and my body was becoming tired of sustaining my life with no fuel. Unfortunately for our relationship, a breaking point was nearby. My body forced you to release your grasp on my life, and my doctors, therapists, and support system were waiting to help repair the shell of a girl you left behind.

I lost so much more than weight with you; I lost all spontaneity, you robbed me of my peace of mind, and trampled my self-esteem. Only retrospectively can I see the abusive relationship we shared. You stole my happiness, and for a long time I truly believed it was gone for good, but now I know better. So my dear frienemy, I want to thank you. Thank you for presenting me with an obstacle to overcome, for now I have gained wisdom through adversity. Thank you for isolating me from all who loved me, for now I know that their love is unconditional. But above all, I express to you my sincerest gratitude for destroying my self-esteem, for now I can stand up, imperfection and all, and rebuild a young woman that looks beyond her reflection and discovers the beauty that was always within her. So for now, ED, I bid you adieu, though you still exist in my mind, you no longer hold total control over me, and I’ll continue living a life of which I can be proud.

Resentfully yours,

Colleen

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Learn from the past, embrace the future.

As of March 18, 2015 I’ve officially entered my last year as a teenager, AHHH! This is both exhilarating and terrifying for me, let me explain why: my excitement stems partially from the fact that I’m so ready to enter the next phase of my life. While I don’t regret my time spent doing spontaneous and childish things, I do wonder what these years would have been like without the constant self-hatred. I’ve wasted more hours than I care to admit calculating calories, compulsively exercising, fearing fattening foods, hanging shamefully over the toilet bowl, and just generally treating my body like shit. Keep in mind, I don’t want this retrospective analysis to be confused with regret, without the portion of my life where I hated myself, I may never have come to love life as fully as I one day hope to. Which brings me to the reason that I am terrified of year 20. I’ll be forced to make a lot changes within my life that I’m not necessarily comfortable with, but in order to live a happy life I have to focus on self-love. It seems wildly inappropriate for a 19-year-old girl to be afraid of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or feel the need to make herself sick for eating her own birthday cake; for these reasons I will commit myself fully to making this the most progressive year of my life, and enter my twenty’s as the confident and amazing woman I know exists somewhere within me.

Be peaceful, embrace happiness, seize the day!
-C.

When Existing is Hard

I always feel so worthless when my family jokes that I’ve become a hermit since I’ve been home, and on several occasions I’ve tried to prove them wrong without success. Laziness was never something I’ve had a problem with either, usually I’m the one to initiate workouts or strange outings because I can’t stand extended periods of latency. Recently, however, I can’t even force myself out of bed before noon, and once I finally muster the strength to walk downstairs, I end up on the couch for the remainder of my day. I never understood what people meant when they described a depressive episode, but now I do. While I’m not formally diagnosed with clinical depression, I have no doubt it’s the cause of my utter lack of interest in, well, everything. To be completely honest, I’m struggling to finish this blog post, and writing is among my favorite things to do. I’ve been praying that the reason for this sudden episode was my abrupt halt in taking my anti-panic medicine for a few weeks. Hopefully, by starting my meds again, my brain will balance out again…fingers crossed.

Excuse my apathy,

Colleen

Falling Out of Love: The 3 Stages

For as long as I can remember, I had dreamt of what it felt like to fall in love. It’s every little girl’s naïve fantasy to find her prince charming and spend the rest of her life with him, and maybe this was the scenario I expected, thanks to an overexposure to Disney movies, but it wasn’t until I actually fell in love that I discovered its harsh reality.

It’s hard to imagine a fifth grade crush becoming anything more than an innocent bout of puppy love, but the same boy I innocently sought after throughout my awkward phase in grade school, actually turned out to be my first love. Let me be honest, the phrase “first love” was almost too cliché to even think, let alone write, but in this case the words actually hold a great amount of truth. For two years, I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with this boy, and it was hard for me to conceive of an end to our relationship; everyone always commented on how perfect we were for one another, and I couldn’t agree more.

As the time neared for him to start college, we talked more and more about how we would proceed in our relationship, but to my utter dismay he showed no intent on continuing past August. Attempting to shield my emotions, I acted as if this news meant nothing to me, and I feigned agreement, for fear of looking desperate or needy. After he left for school, I was very much relieved to discover that our relationship ended in name only. Because we still continued acting like a couple, I made the incorrect assumption that we still were, however I quickly learned otherwise. I was crushed to the very core. I had been in love for so long, that I had no idea how to stop.

From my experience, I believe there are three stages to falling out of love: dejection, resentment, and apathy. I very obviously experienced an extended period of dejection, feeling abandoned and unwanted, but this soon turned into indignation. I was so angry with my ex for ending it, even if his reason was valid. I also entered a phase of hating myself for not trying harder to salvage the relationship. Stages one and two repeated cyclically for longer than I care to admit, until one day (not too long ago) I realized he didn’t deserve it. I stopped giving a fuck. It had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me; why did I waste so much energy over somebody who cared so little? It was long past overdue for me to take responsibility for myself, and in order to do that I needed to stop allowing my happiness to be dictated by a stupid boy. And with what seemed like such a simple task, I fell out of love by expressing my total lack of care toward him. In my opinion, Elie Wiesel perfectly expressed the ultimate antithesis of love: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Through the absence of emotion, I discovered how to free myself from somebody who had stopped caring long before I did, and were you to ask me how he was doing right now, my response would simply be: “I don’t give a fuck.”

Yours Truly,

-Coll

P.s.: I promise I’m actually not a mean person, despite how this post may have portrayed me. It turned into an unexpected venting session, which I suppose is the point of blogging! It feels much better to express my feelings in words, rather than keep them repressed.

Long Distance Best Friends

Sometimes I forget how good a hand life dealt me. Most people meet their best friends in high school and college, and often times lose connection due to geography or ideological differences. I, however, am fortunate enough to have been able to call the same girl my best friend for 14 years (and counting!) Nats and I were forced together by our mothers at the age of five, and to say we didn’t take an immediate liking to each other would be an understatement. As she recalls, I gave her the ugly dress when we played dress-up, but of course I remember her being the annoying and ornery one. Eventually, our forced playdates became a genuine friendship, and I’ll forever be grateful for our mother’s pushiness. We’ve had far from a perfect relationship. Nats is a free spirit, she does what she wants, and marches to the beat of her own drum. I’ve always been jealous of her for that, because I have never been nearly that confident, but certainly tried never stopped trying. Wow, this post is such a clusterfuck of poor syntax and unorganized thought…Anyway, Natalie moved to Boulder, CO after high school, putting 1,471 miles between us. We expected this to weaken our friendship, but surprisingly we’re now closer than we’ve ever been. She helps me through everything, even if she can’t be by my side in the literal sense. I guess the point of this post is that I love my best friend more than anything, and I hope she always remembers that. I really couldn’t concentrate on blogging well tonight, considering my annoying brothers refuse to lower the volume on the Super Bowl post-game show, but I really wanted to get a post in before the weekend ended for the sake of continuity. Usually when I have nothing better to write about, I tend to sway towards topics involving the things I know best in life, hence the random post about Nats. Okay, I’m going to stop typing before this gets any worse.

Stay curious, friends,

-Coll

 Nats and I during our lovely awkward phase

Nats and I during our lovely awkward phase

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My beautiful best friend, arguably still just as awkward

An Insomniac’s Musings

As I sit wide awake in my bed at 3:30 a.m., I can’t help but think about topics entirely too deep for my current state of consciousness. Regardless of the time, my current obsession lies with finding true happiness, and in which ways I can achieve this. The name of my blog was admittedly derived from this random thought in under five minutes, but I figured I may as well entertain it. Unfortunately, my best writing does not occur during utter exhaustion, however why not amuse myself with the idea.

Okay, back to the topic: happiness; why am I both obsessed with it and utterly intimidated by it? I think that in my pursuit of success, which I’d previously defined in terms of income, I’ve adapted a rather skewed perception of the word “happy.” While I’m positive this is not a unique problem, I’m not so convinced that many other people can identify it. Throughout my life, I’ve been placed under an exhorbonant amount of pressure to do well academically, so as to ultimately succeed in life, but what if success is measured in smiles rather than currency? The past two years I’ve been battling a serious mental illness that has robbed me of the ability to love myself and appreciate the simple joys in life. In my pursuit of recovery I find that I now care less about material aspects of my life because I know that happiness isn’t something I can afford to take for granted. As much as I would enjoy the financial stability of a career as a doctor or engineer, I’ve come to realize that this means essentially nothing in the face of misery. All of the world’s riches are useless to me if I’m devoid of happiness. And with that, I’m establishing the ultimate goal of this blog: an outlet for thoughts and an oppurtunity to express both the happiness and uncertainty which I encounter daily.

Wishing the world pure peace and unconditional happiness,

Colleen