Avoid Avoiding

Jessica - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 3, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I used to think that if I lost weight, I would feel happier. So, I tried everything: self-deprivation, laxatives, even induced vomiting. Nothing worked, at least not as much as I would have liked it to. In a matter of months, I became four-fifths of my healthy self. My waist measured twenty-three inches; my weight, 95 pounds. I was small, and I was miserable.

No matter how little I ate or how much weight I lost, whatever happiness I earned was short-lived. Soon after I experienced the initial high of feeling “skinny”, I returned to the static pits of depression and anxiety. Five years into this cycle, I had an epiphany: there was nothing wrong with my body; instead, there was something wrong with the way I dealt with my emotions.

I believe that an unhealthy body image signifies an unhealthy mind. I believe that when a woman says “I’m fat”, she means “I’m flawed. There’s something wrong with me and the way I’m feeling.” As women, we have learned to attack our bodies before our problems. Instead of paying tribute to our feelings, we focus our attention to our figures and their flaws. The time we lose in obsessing equals the opportunity we have lost for building our accomplishments, coming to terms with our emotions, and -consequently- boosting our self esteems.

Almost one year after treatment, I am completely recovered. I have removed all of the scales from my house (I realized that the time I spent focusing on my weight was the time I spent avoiding schoolwork); I have overcome my fear of meeting and being judged by new people (I am now comfortable enough with myself to withstand criticism); I have learned to deal with my unhappiness and not to prolong it. In short, I have become much happier.