Monday, September 8, 2014

That's What's Up

I was browsing through Spotify the other day when I ran into this song called "That's What's Up" by Lennon and Maisy (originally by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). I must have listened to it at least 50 times since last week. 

My favorite verse: 
"While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind. 
While I was being such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
But you helped me change my mind."
Now that life's calmed down a little, I've had enough time to think back to the beginning of last semester. I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on last year so I searched through my tumblr archive. Turns out I was crying a lot over how happy I was to be a part of something like Phi Mu. I couldn't believe that so many girls would accept me the way just the way I was, broken and all, and actually wanted to be my friend. (Side note: not much has changed, still just as dumbfounded they still like me. #ConfessionsOfAGirlWithLowSelfEsteem)

But a little more digging reminded me that I was falling into a scary place, even though I was feeling so happy. I know I've mentioned my "eating issues," but I never went into much detail about it. 

It was about this time last year when I realized that my occasional binging and purging was becoming more than occasional. I have Phi Mu to thank for one of my best friends. One morning we got to talking over breakfast in the cafeteria (she was only a new sister and still very much a stranger back then). We were still getting to know each other and she said something like "Fun fact: I'm really big into eating disorder awareness stuff."(obvious paraphrasing). Of course I nearly choked on my scrambled eggs. The thoughts started running through my head: "How does she know? Can she tell? I thought I was being careful. No one knows." 

Well it turns out she had no idea that I was struggling (at least that's what she told me when I eventually told the rest of our sisters at retreat last year). I hadn't kept down a full meal in months, and it was becoming so bad really quickly. It sort of snuck up on me; I would be studying and find myself eating until I couldn't anymore and then would try to undo it. Luckily, I was able to talk with her and stop (for the most part) before it got worse. My poor roommate begged me to see a counselor, but I'm stubborn. Even a year later, I'm still just making progress. I don't know if I'll ever be able to deal with stress in a healthy way. Some days are worse than others, and when I'm really stressed out (read: right now), things start getting dark again.  

I guess the point of this post is to remind everyone that when stress is piling on and big changes are happening (like starting college), these things can creep up.

My biggest problem was thinking "Oh, I'm fine. I'm not that bad." 
Newsflash: If you are having eating issues, chances are, you are definitely not fine. There's nothing "normal" about an eating disorder or disordered eating. It is that bad. If you think you might be in trouble, don't wait until it gets worse.  

So today I'm thankful. For the friendships I've made in the last year, for the steps that I've taken to become healthier, and for the sisters who stick by my sides in the good times and the bad. It's easy to get distracted by the stress and excitement that comes with the start of a new school year, but I'm trying to keep things in perspective this time around, and that's what's up.


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