I was born November 2, 1996 at 4:22 a.m.
At age 3, my parents were on the edge of splitting up, and I had no idea what was going on.
Around this time period, I was enrolled in a Catholic school, I was living with my mom, and our house was just down the street from a place, also known as my school for 10 years, where I had met my first friend ever. Her name was Mackenzie, and I absolutely adored her and her family. We had the best play dates, but sadly she moved to a different school and we lost touch. My second friend, who I had met in grade 1, was named Cassandra. She and I were inseparable for the length of our friendship, and we were overly obsessed with Hilary Duff, until one day, she also had switched schools.
To back things up a bit, I had an abundance of important people whom I was introduced to, who I now call my soon-to-be step dad, my step mom, step-sister, and step brother. All who are which I am incredibly blessed and thankful for, I don’t really consider them “step” figures.
I can still remember each of my elementary school teachers so well. I felt like I had a strong connection with each one of them. All the teacher’s report card comments would say were things like “Sara is a wonderful addition to the classroom, she is quiet, respectful, a hard worker, etc”. But the one thing that I wasn’t strong in was class participation, because I was very shy.
Now when I say shy, I mean, I was shy around adults, and big crowds. I was never shy around my close friends, or family members. In fact, I was quite the extrovert around my friends and family. I would always be singing, and making up dances, and trying to come up with ways to make people laugh. I was happy, and comfortable around the people I loved.
In third grade, I met a friend named Maggie. Maggie is the softest, most kind friend I’ve met. She and I both had similar interests and enjoyed art, and creating things, so we bonded a lot over artistic things, but sadly Maggie moved to a different school.
In fourth grade, I met yet another friend who I became really close with. She is a sweetheart, and we’d always have a fun time together. One day, I went to her house for a playdate, and she introduced me to one her neighbours who happened to be one of her best friends. For some reason, I felt like this girl didn’t like me. I could not understand why, because I didn’t think I did anything wrong to upset her or to make her dislike me, and it came to my attention that she thought I was fat.
This was the first time in my childhood that I was labeled as fat by somebody. I knew that I had more body fat on me than my friends, but I had never considered that I was characterized as “fat”. At that age, I couldn’t even comprehend why being fat was a bad thing, until i heard it from somebody else.
Those words really got to me. From that age and beyond, I was self conscious of my body. It slowly progressed as the years went on, and started to really effect me when I was in grade 7/8. I was still a very positive person, and didn’t let my weight take over my life, but from time to time I would like the “fat” one out of my friends.
In grade 9, I met a lot of new people. It was so exciting, because it was the first “new” school experience I’ve ever had, since I was never transferred into a separate school for middle school. I came across some really nice, welcoming people. One person, who I had started to talk to more and more as the beginning of school was going on, was a boy who happened to also become my first boyfriend.
Boys + me in elementary were nothing more than an innocent friendship. The boys considered me as the friendly, nice girl. Not the “she’s hot, I’m gonna ask her out tomorrow” girl.
Our relationship in my eyes, was fantastic. It got rocky towards the end, where we decided to call it quits.
Just a few weeks leading up to the break-up, I was suspicious about him and a new girl to the school, mainly because of twitter and from people talking at school.I started to worry a lot, I was so fearful of losing him because he was pretty much the centre of my world. We dated for 11 months, and had really grown in those 11 months, so hearing up someone new who he might be interested in posed a threat towards our relationship and myself.
The night of our break-up, I was a worried wreck. That night, I decided it would be best if we’d just end things, because I knew that we both felt different about each other.
I was heart broken, I was jealous, I was fearful, and I was upset. I was mentally unstable, and felt out of control in a lot of areas of my life.
What was I going to do without this boy? How was I going to measure up to this girl who is gorgeous, and athletic?! I was, and still believe I am the opposite of athletic, so it was hard to accept what I was not.
But, I knew that I had good friends to support me through everything, or so I thought.
Grade 10 was probably one of the best years of my life, despite all the triumphs I had gone through, that year taught me so much. It taught me about love, and how to love myself. It taught me about friends, and who is a true friend and who are not true friends. It taught me how to become more mature, and more of woman than a little girl. I was slowly drifting from immaturity, and became more serious with my health.
I would always tell myself, “tomorrow I am going to start eating healthy, I am going to work-out!” I started to sound like a broken record in my own head, because I was constantly repeating this to myself at every start of each month leading up to semiformal which took place in the winter/spring.
After semi of grade 10, is when I really got into a steady work-out routine. I would run on the treadmill at my house every other day, and some days I’d go to the gym with my friend which I really enjoyed. I started noticing a difference, and suddenly working out became my new hobby.
I joined track and field with my friends shortly after this, and in the summer, my weight was dropping almost everyday.
Things were going really well for me around this time frame. I finally felt like things were falling back into place. I was losing weight, I got my first job at McDonald’s, I was surrounded by good friends, and life was good.
I would be checking the scale every single day, and it would usually show me that I had lost a pound or 2. I knew that there was something wrong with that, because I shouldn’t be losing weight that fast, but I wasn’t hating it.
I ended up being at a weight, about 20 lbs less than what I was at the beginning of my work-out journey. My size 7/8 became a 2 in a matter of weeks.
I returned back to school in the fall for grade 11. My math teacher from grade 10 noticed me as I walked by and she gave me hug. She sounded worried though and said “Sara, what happened to you? Are you okay? You’re so skinny, too skinny. You’ve lost your pretties”
When I heard those words, it hurt me for a few moments, but I told myself she’s just exaggerating, that I don’t look that skinny (I was very thin).
She wasn’t the only one who had spoke to me about. I had friends and family comments, even the hall monitor at my school said something about it. I kept telling myself that these people are nuts for thinking I look unhealthy. “Why can;t they be happy for me? Proud of me?” I would think to myself.
Finally one day, my friend was really concerned with me because she knew my social life was starting to be effected by my exercise routines and eating habits. I would avoid social functions, especially if there was food involved. This was hard because this was a really common thing my friends would par take in.
She mentioned me to her guidance counsellor at school, where I was approached and asked to sit down and talk about my issues. They were helpful and suggested I go and get help from eating disorder professionals, and I was willing to get the help I needed.
The help I received from them were not 100% helpful. For starters, the first day I was admitted and was diagnosed with anorexia, I was told that I was going to die of a heart attack if I continued to run for even just 5 more minutes. This was a scary thought of course, so I was open to their ideas of treatment. When they told me I had to cut off every kind of exercise, I was about to go insane. They said I had to cancel my gym membership, had to get picked up from school, had to take away the treadmill in my home, and I had to eat more than what I was eating because I was at my lowest weight of 99 lbs, with a low heart rate, dry hands and a low internal body temperature. I had also lost my period for 7 months. I was terrified I was never going to get it back, but one day I did and I will never let it leave me again. Treatment was focused on weight gain, nothing about the mental aspects of what I was going through, which is why I decided to leave professional treatment and self-recover.
Grade 12 was one of the hardest years I’ve had. I made the decision to recover, so I was eating way more than what I was in grade 11. I would a lot of food, I would consider”binges”. It was the first time that I remember eating bread and cereal after almost a year, where I ate almost a whole loaf and whole box, and then tried to throw it up afterwards. It was a really horrible experience, and started to become a cycle. Binge, stress, run. (or try to throw up which I’ve never done because of how my reflexes are). Not only was this hard, but I felt like a lot of my friendships were starting to fade because of the social withdrawals I would face during recovery. I became friends with the girl I mentioned earlier who I was suspicious about with my first boyfriend. She’s a wonderful person, and I’m so glad that I was able to know her for the short time period I did, but I struggled a lot on a daily basis with eating and it prevented me from wanting to hangout with people, and so she began to think I was making a poor effort in our friendship. As much as I wish I could go back and explain this to her, I also feel like it’s over and done with, and we’re off living our seperate lives. I think it is easier for both of us to remain where we are now.
After a year of this, and not having a single clue of what direction I wanted to go in after high school, I decided to take a year off. I ended up going back to school to take a few courses just so that I was learning things, but I ended up leaving and working for the rest of first semester.
I kind of had the idea of becoming a nurse because I had that idea in grade 11, before dropping my healthcare course so that I’d have a spare first period to run on the treadmill at home. Once I had my heart set on nursing, I decided to go to college in January to take some pre-requisite courses to gain admission to nursing.
I am now attending college in a different city for similar courses I was taking in January because it opens more doors.
The past 2 years have been nothing but trial and error. I have been trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone with food and refraining from exercise. My days were spent exercising any chance i could get, I wouldn’t allow myself to “sit down” without convincing myself of getting fat.
I have also recently became more in tune with God, and my faith this year and it has helped me so much in realizing why things happen. I can now use my experience to help others who go through similar struggles, I can now consider myself a survivor.
I have come so far since the day, Ed (eating disorder) came into my life. Ed’s are mental illness’, and are not by any means a “choice”. The stigma around eating disorders are very much about thinking you need to look sick, or thin to have an eating disorder. This is false, because even though my weight is restored as well as many others who have had eating disorders, know that this is a daily mental battle that still takes over our brains and makes us believe we need to starve ourselves from food or eat to the point of sickness. You don’t need to look “sick” to be mentally ill.
Thank you guys for reading,
Until next time,