Megan: Stuck in Neutral. (A girl’s struggle w/ depression and anorexia)

An excerpt from my book, Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image

I see self-esteem as how I perceive myself in relation to others and if I see myself as pretty or fat or smart. It has to do with whether I’m confident or not.

For me, my biggest issue is weight. I was obese, clinically. I also struggled with depression and went to a therapist who gave me medication. It didn’t help that I was teased throughout school. Like in sixth grade this guy I thought was my friend asked me out, but then on the bus he told everybody it was a big joke. He told them that he thought it was funny I said yes. Can you imagine how much that crushed me? You don’t just get over something like that.

I lost like 40 pounds the summer between eighth and ninth grade. I started swimming and ate healthier, but then I began to exhibit all the textbook symptoms of anorexia. I mostly ate trail mix. I would eat those all-natural bars – Think Thin bars – but I would eat them as a whole meal. For dinner I would have an apple with peanut butter. I would count calories and keep a food journal. At the end of the day I’d look through it and be like, “Oh, I had too many of this.”

I don’t do that anymore. I know I can’t go back there, but I think about it every time I eat. Can you imagine struggling every single time you’re hungry? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – wanting food so badly, but not wanting it at the same time? Now I have healthy eating patterns, but people have to talk to me or distract me so I don’t know how much I’m taking in. The hard part is as I gain the weight back, I see myself as I was before. Even though I’m a healthy weight now, when I look in the mirror I feel like I’m obese compared to where I was when I was anorexic.

I think about body image a lot subconsciously, and I shouldn’t. Hopefully when I get older I won’t be surrounded by people who talk about stuff like that all the time. I feel like if they wouldn’t talk about it then I wouldn’t fixate on it so much.

When I think of what makes me happy, eating is the first thing that comes to mind. Isn’t that sad? In fact, during this whole conversation, the mention of food is the only thing that will make me smile.

Literally.

Unfortunately, I’m the person who loves food but it doesn’t love me. Then I have no choice but to hate it back. Food helped me through some difficult times though. When I was younger, I would “eat my feelings” if I was sad. Now instead of eating a lot I just have like a spoonful and dip it in ice cream, just to taste it. But there’s still this fat child within me that has that feeling, that longing. It’s the fat child that just ate and ate whenever her parents fought.

My mom and I are close but I don’t have a relationship with my dad at all. He leaves early for work, gets home late and eats dinner in a separate room. We just never really had a good relationship.

I guess he never really cared.

I don’t know.

I just accept it now.

For more from this article click here.

Event: Fireside Chat with Dr Carol Langlois- Nov 17th.

This event is sponsored by Girls Innovate and is part of their TEEN BRUNCH SERIES for girls (12+) who would like to be more involved in the Girls Innovate! community. After a brief Teen Committee meeting, the girls enjoy brunch and a fireside chat with a special guest who is an inspiring female entrepreneur/ innovator.

Goals for this series are to:
Build a supportive community for teen girls to take leadership and be inspired for social impact and innovation.
Provide girls the opportunity to be project leaders: organize and plan brunches, curate talks, meet inspiring professionals and practice communicating effectively.
Create a space for girls to meet each other and be introduced to female professionals who have taken brave and inspiring journeys.
This event is free of charge (bring a brunch item to share) and open to girls (age 12+). Parents are invited to join.

Dr Carol will talk about education, self-esteem and her upcoming book Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image.”

To get your tickets, click HERE.

Waking up with a Positive Attitude Every Day

Waking up with a positive attitude really can make or break your day. But not all is lost if you wake up feeling nervous, anxious, or sad for no reason. You just need to know how to turn it around. Similar to how you dealt with a saboteur in an earlier post, practice positive thinking for three to five minutes before you get out of bed.  Keep your eyes closed and remain calm– breathing in and out. You need to tell yourself, “Today is going to be a good day. I am going to have fun with my friends. School is going to be okay,” and so forth.  You have to consistently manage the negative attitude, get out of bed with a clear head, and start the day in a positive space (or at least moving in that direction).  I know this may sound strange, but don’t think too much. Stop constantly second-guessing, questioning, and wondering.  I know blocking out the negative can be exhausting, but what’s the alternative? Being depressed, sad, or angry?  Think of all the energy you waste dwelling on those feelings.

Set yourself up for success before you go to bed.  Have your alarm set to play your favorite song so you wake up in a comfortable space. Or, have a photo of you and your best friends by the bed, something that makes you feel warm or happy. (I’d rather wake up looking at that instead of a bunch of schoolbooks sprawled across the floor.)  Look to that photo first thing in the morning when you wake up. Or maybe it’s a trophy in your room that makes you feel confident or a special ribbon on your wall. Anything that reminds you that you are talented, confident, appreciated and loved will work.