Jessy s Story
“Growing up I was constantly surrounded by healthy, athletic people. My dad owns a successful gym and, ever since I was born, my parents would take me at the crack of dawn to spend the day at work. I was always eating healthy and exercising, and I was around beautiful, fit people all the time.
I never got sick, and to this day I have an insane immune system. I got sick so little that when I actually did have a fever, it felt like the end of the world. My mom told me that as a kid I was even terrified of throwing up. Kind of ironic…
It just kind of happened one day. All of my anxious thoughts and emotions built up and I felt completely out of control of myself. Next thing I knew I was by myself in the bathroom thinking ‘What am I doing? Stop this.’ But I didn’t stop.
I rid my body of everything in my stomach. And for a minute, for just one minute, I felt in control. Things felt good. And then I looked in the mirror into my own red, teary eyes. At my flushed face and my running nose. I hated myself for it, but then I did it again.
This went on every day and was a complete secret for a little over a year. I thought about it constantly, and it encompassed every aspect of my life. I stopped drawing and singing for a while, and I would run for three to four miles almost every day.
I became extremely weak and I was always physically hurting. I had horrible cystic acne. My estrogen levels dropped tremendously and I stopped getting my period. I was destroying my body, and even though I would look at myself and know that I needed to stop, I couldn’t.
One night I was babysitting for a neighbor and the little girl asked me to sing her a song to go to sleep, and it hit me. If I kept doing this I might not have a chance to have this for myself one day. I knew that I needed to tell someone.
The hardest thing I have had to do yet in my life was tell my mom. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt and disappoint her. I was getting ready for class one morning and she was home alone with me. I was angry and stressed out, and I knew that I needed to tell her, but I couldn’t say the words.
‘Mom, I need to tell you something, but I can’t.’
‘What is it, I know something is wrong, you can tell me.’
‘I hate myself for it, I can’t tell you.’
Then she hugged me for a long time while I cried into her shoulder, and told her that I was bulimic. That moment was when I realized I really needed help. My mom supported me and helped me more than anyone. I went to the doctor and began some medications for my hormones and acne, and I started strength training and lifting as well. It took a while, but I was determined to come out of this stronger inside and out.
Things are a lot better now. I am more confident than I ever was. I like to stay active and take care of my body, and I began drawing and singing again too. I absolutely love food. I love to bake and cook and try new things.
But, even though things are looking better, that does not mean there aren’t days where I have bad thoughts. It doesn’t just disappear after you have ‘recovered.’ A mental illness is not something external that you have to face whenever it comes around. It is something you have to face every single day with yourself.
However, even though you might feel like you are suffering alone, you are certainly not alone. I wish I knew that sooner, but there are so many people to talk to and get through hard times with.
If there is anything positive that I have learned through having this disorder, it is that for as many bad moments there are in a day, there is more of the day to cherish and be happy. Life can only pull you back so far before it flings you forward again.”