For as long as I can remember, I have always been a people pleaser. I have always put other people's happiness before my own. When I was 14 years old, my parents told me they were getting a divorce. Although I was not thrilled at this news, I thought that this was a chance for me to prove to my parents the strong kid I was. My parents would get into many arguments and I thought it was my job to help dissolve the situation. They did not want me to be involved in their situations, but I still felt I needed to be there to ease the tension. It may have looked on the outside that I was handling their divorce very well, but on the inside I was broken. I felt I had lost control of everything. My sense of belonging felt non-existent. I could not control my parents divorce and it felt as if my whole world was crashing. As a result of feeling broken and worthless, I started focusing on other aspects of my life that I could control, things such as diet and exercise. What started out as simply eating healthy and exercising 20 minutes a day turned into calorie counting, many hours a day in the gym, and weighing myself daily. Food and exercise became all I ever thought about. It was the perfect way to keep my mind off other painful things. It was a pain that I could control. I started losing a lot of weight in a very short period of time. My parents started to notice my weight loss and along with this, they started paying attention to my eating habits. Needless to say, they were not very healthy eating patterns. My dad took me to my doctor who suggested I should go to an eating disorder clinic. My dad was perfectly happy to take me to this clinic, my mom had a bit more resistance to this idea. We went for a consultation to the clinic and I was very scared, as were both of my parents. We talked to the counselor about what treatment would be a good option for me. The counselor recommended individualized therapy. At this moment, I realized the path I was going down was not the path I wanted to go down. From that meeting on I focused on my personal needs. I did not completely disregard others, but I needed to be less of a people pleaser in order to heal. I started moving my body in a way that felt good to me, and also nourishing my body in a healthy and sustainable way. I still have hard days with food, but I encourage myself to “feel” that feeling and let it resonate with what is going on in my day. But, I would not be able to do this on my own, I have had lots of support along the way. My counselors, parents, teachers, and friends have helped me along the way. A quote that has really pushed me through those hard days and I want to end off with is, “You can get through anything because you’ve gotten through everything”. There are many things that one can battle themselves, but there is always support out there. I wish I had known about different online support earlier on.
Written by: Claire, MN High School Student