The high school years are always the worst. It’s a time where we feel completely judged by those around us. Today, I came across a few Twitter profiles of girls who are suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and depression. Scrolling through their tweets flooded my brain with vague memories from my teen years. I had all types of eating disorders. My biggest issue was cutting myself. I cut myself up until I graduated from college. I wasn’t a persistent cutter in college, but when I felt that sad, I always reached for the scissors.
But this is a difficult post for me to write, and not for the reason you would think. It’s difficult for me because, ten years later, I can’t even remember the pain I felt. I can’t seem to tap into those old memories. I can’t even remember how I managed to get myself out of hell. I just did.
And I did it by myself. I never once saw a therapist. I had to navigate the stupid world of teenage pain in solitude. It was the most enlightening path to take. Dealing with all of these issues alone helped me understand the true reasons why I was cutting, starving myself, and vomiting after each meal. I had to understand that these are all awful coping mechanisms for my internal issues. So I managed to accept my past for what it was and accept the fact that I will never be perfect in the eyes of society.
I am not perfect, nor is my life perfect, but I have grown exponentially since my dreadful high school years. That said, I want to go through five lessons I learned in my teen years, and hopefully I can help some youngsters who are currently struggling with the same issues I once did. And know that I am not judging you for dealing with these issues, I am judging the issues themselves.
Lesson 1: High school is stupid
Trust me, high school is stupid. It’s a time where popularity is more important than being a good human being. But, high school does serve a purpose. It’s a time when we confront our insecurities. High school is a test as to how we overcome the struggles and come out on the other side alive. High school is when you feel incredibly alone and hurt while being surrounded by other people who are way happier than you. It sucks to be reminded on a daily basis that you’re not popular, and no one cares about you. If you’re a high school student, remember this, college is way better! College is where you will truly grow into an adult. High school is just the filler between the shitty now and the amazing future. Also, the ones who are outcasts in high school tend to be the big game changers in the real world.
Lesson 2: Anorexia is stupid
I don’t understand the desire to stop eating because I love hamburgers and what not. But I understand the need to stop eating. I have done it. Then I ate a saltine and gained forty pounds in thirty seconds. It’s not an efficient diet plan. If anything, it will only hurt your self-esteem more. Trust me, right now you’re probably tiny, and you can’t see it. In five years from now, when this all passes, you will look back and go “Gosh darn it! I looked hella skinny then, and I couldn’t even appreciate it.” Anorexia is a mental disorder. I still have that mental issue lingering in the background. I still look back at my pictures from college and say “Motherfucker I looked hella good, and I couldn’t even appreciate it!” Granted, in college I just never looked at myself. I was too busy taking classes, working, partying, and participating in organizations. The point is that anorexia won’t let you accomplish your desired weight. Only discipline and a healthy diet can help you do that. Anorexia won’t give you self-esteem. You must love yourself to gain the confidence you deserve.
Also, I know we all have that desire to be model-thin, but remember this: models are just coat hangers. Might as well put all those clothes on a rack and push that shit out on the runway. No one looks at a model and goes “oh she is so skinny and beautiful.” No. They look at the models and say “those clothes look nice.” So, unless you want to be a professional wire hanger, I would recommend against anorexia.
Lesson 3: Bulimia is stupid
Bulimia is the worst, and it takes a tremendous toll on your health. Anorexia can be fixed because the long-term effects aren’t as dangerous as they are for bulimia. Also, most people can’t detect bulimia but they can detect anorexia. Therefore, people who suffer from bulimia are less likely to have any intervention from the outside world. Not only does it destroy your stomach, throat, and fingernails, but your teeth as well. I still have throat and stomach issues from when I was suffering from bulimia. It’s not a good time. Sure, learning how to vomit was a nice skill to have in college when I drank too much Busch Light, but it’s not good for your body. Also, puking up everything you eat doesn’t help you lose or manage your weight. It just gives you a temporary reassurance that you’re not going to gain weight. You will still gain weight.
Bulimia will leave you with worse body issues than when you started. Not only will your self-esteem continually deteriorate, but it will cause stomach and throat pain. Constantly vomiting is a great way to kill your body and your health. You are bringing acid out of your body, and it tears away at your stomach lining and your throat. Pretty soon, you won’t have any enamel left.
I do remember my first tryst with bulimia. I was at work, and a guy told me that I had a little pudge, and he grabbed my belly and laughed. I immediately went to the bathroom. After that incident, I suffered from bulimia for three years, and no one knew about it. I placed my self-worth on other people. If someone saw a little pudge on me, that meant that I was unattractive. In reality, I was only unattractive to myself. Turns out, he actually liked more cushion’ for the pushin’.
Lesson 4: Cutting is stupid
Cutting is super stupid. First off, the amount of effort it takes to hide the cut marks almost make it not worth it. Wearing a hoodie year round is very hot and tiring. Plus, if someone sees the scars, then you’ll get a nice old trip to the nurse or mental hospital. Most people cut because they’re reacting to the world around them. It hurts, and the only way we know to feel better is to inflict physical pain on ourselves. Cutting is a temporary release for the internal pain that must be addressed. Cutting won’t make assholes go away. Cutting won’t delete your childhood. Cutting won’t do anything but give you a temporary release. I still want to cut sometimes; then I realize that it’s going to hurt like fucking hell if I try.
However, I do remember and understood how great that temporary release felt. It made me happy for just a few minutes. And that is why people continually cut themselves. They need that few minutes of happiness without emotional pain. But that emotional pain is begging for you to address it, not suppress it. If the emotional pain is over your past, remember that your past cannot be changed. No amount of crying will change what happened. Addressing what happened and learning how it changed you will help you deal with the emotional pain.
After all, you can learn from your past and become an amazing human being, or you can dwell on the past and live a life of misery. The choice is up to you. If you’re emotionally damaged because of society, read a bunch of books. I am 27 and society hasn’t come around yet. It most likely won’t. Adapt to society in the way that you want, but don’t let society dictate how you live. Society doesn’t know jack shit most of the time.
And if you can’t seem to make that emotional pain go away, then get an ear infection. Trust me, emotional pain is a walk in the park compared to the feeling of an ice pick being stabbed into your ear repeatedly.
Lesson 5: College is AMAZING!
And when you get to college, all of these issues will seem petty and stupid. I highly recommend that everyone goes away to college. College is the best time of your life. I promise, when you get to college, you will completely forget all about the stupidness of the teen angst years. College is when you get to live on one floor with fifty other kids who are also your age. It’s the time when you get a completely new start. Most people that go to your school won’t know anything about your past unless you tell them. It’s a time to redefine who you are. You get to go to college with a fresh outlook and an even fresher personality. You will learn how to be responsible while having fun. You will learn from people who have suffered from different issues than you. You will learn how to cope by hearing how they managed their issues. You will have a better understanding of the person who you wish to be.
Whenever high school seems like hell, just remember, the opportunity to go away to college is just around the corner.
So how Do I Deal?
All of these issues are a temporary fix for the internal pain we feel. Eating disorders won’t solve our self-image issues, and cutting won’t make the past go away. We inflict these pains on ourselves because we feel rejected. We feel like no one will ever love us so who cares what happens to our body. Trust me, ten years down the line, you will be thankful for the experience, but beyond ecstatic that you conquered the demons.
It’s ok to feel alone. I felt alone my entire life and still do. But it gets better. You will see, I promise. Going through all of these issues alone helps you become a stronger person. Learning how to handle these issues will make you a stronger person. You’re going to be a strong person because you are chosen to be a warrior. Dealing with the loneliness and rejection on a daily basis helps you understand the world around you. After all, it’s those who are living in the pits of hell that will soon understand the beauties of the surface.
If you’re suffering from any of the issues I listed, feel free to contact me. I understand that it’s not easy to go through it alone. Trust me, I tried. I managed to survive, but it was a long learning process. Remember that acceptance from the outside world isn’t always as glamorous as it appears to be. People will always find flaws because they’re insecure about themselves. But remember, you are in control of your life. You are the one who decides where it goes. You are the one who decides if you’re beautiful or not.
And trust me, outer beauty is a direct reflection of inner beauty. Most people who have ugly exteriors are horrible people on the inside. Those who are kind and caring are the most beautiful. They tell you all the time that looks fade, but personality stays forever. That’s because it’s true.
My best advice to you is this: work on being the best person you can be and give a big middle finger to the world that tries to tear you down.