Teen Essay: How Mindfulness Helped My Eating Disorder
A 17-year-old from one of our high schools shared this inspiring essay about how our Mindful Studies class helped her eating disorder and changed her life.
I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for this class. Before coming into this class I struggled every day with inner battles that I felt I could never win. This has changed though. With the help of this class I now have a more positive look at life and take things moment by moment.
Before this class I struggled with high anxiety, depression, and poor body image. Unfortunately all of these aspects combined caused me to develop an eating disorder. I felt as though I needed one aspect in my life that I could control and that became eating. In the beginning I always struggled with the [mindfulness exercises] because I found myself constantly worrying about what I was eating or going to eat.
Throughout the course of this year, I slowly was able to move my mind to the present moment and get some moments of silence from these distressing thoughts. With this class, I also started to pay attention and listen to my body more. Beforehand I would only eat foods that I had deemed as safe and never actually listened to what my body wanted. As I became more in touch with my body, I learned to trust it and give it what it was wanting. This class was a big aspect in my recovering from my eating disorder and has helped me deal with the intense feelings that come on when I am anxious or depressed.
Along with my mental health, the quality of my social life has become more positive. For as long as I can remember I hardly ever told people how I truly felt because I was scared I would scare them away if they knew how emotional I could be. Because of this, I would find myself miserable without anyone knowing, with everyone thinking I was fine and okay. This class taught me about unconditional love and made me more open to telling people how I felt. I learned that many people out there will love me no matter how I am feeling. I also learned that one of my coping mechanisms is to withdraw myself from people to just stop feeling. Once I was able to notice this I started to challenge myself to stick around those who cared about me and tell them how I felt instead of just hiding away. This has strengthened my connection with my parents and now has made it easier for me to share with them.
Lastly this class has helped me tremendously with my racing and competing. At the beginning of the year, I would get so worked up and stressed about my races that I would either cry before, during, or after my race. All I wanted was to live up to the expectations of my parents and be as good as my sister was. I put so much pressure on myself to perform well that it was in turn hurting me. All through my race negative self-talk would scream in my head. I always felt as though I had done terribly. After I started to disidentify and give myself unconditional love, I stopped crying during and after my races. Now after a race that I feel I didn’t do well on instead of putting myself down I tell myself that I tried my hardest that day and there will always be another race. This has made racing so much more enjoyable.
Honestly, I feel like I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having taken this class. I now have so much more love for myself and less negative self-talk. I have learned to take refuge from my anxiety-ridden mind by becoming present to the present moment. I am so thankful for how supportive you were within this class. I found myself opening up about stuff I had never told anyone because you made the environment feel so safe and caring. You have helped me become comfortable in sharing with others and become so aware of all that goes on in my mind. I truly believe this class helped save my life. Thank you.