I had shared my story of recovery with some individuals who are struggling with similar issues recently, and saw the positive impact this story had on them. So I decided to share this with you all in an attempt to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. This is my personal story pertaining to dealing with having symptoms of an eating disorder called ‘Bulimia Nervosa’:
“Self hatred is defined as the feeling of extreme hostility towards oneself; a feeling that is affiliated with so much negativity that nothing can measure up to the darkness that begins to emerge. And surprisingly this feeling is what led to my recovery from having symptoms of an eating disorder … it transformed into the most important relationship anyone can ever have.
I believe it was grade 10, the year that I began to walk down the destructive road to developing symptoms of bulimia nervosa. When family and friends who hold expectations pertaining to how you look, act, and feel constantly surround you, it all becomes overwhelming. And you begin to define yourself through these expectations. “Do I look good enough today? If everyone is constantly complimenting me on the way I look, well then this must be what defines who I am. I should be able to live up to these expectations, I SHOULD be happy.”
These thoughts held so much power over me that I slowly began to lose sense of who I was. I began to define myself through the eyes of others. Losing sense of myself and feeling the intense emotions that come along with self hatred triggered the darkest moments of my entire life. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the feeling of self-hatred.
This past summer was by far the worst. The feeling of self-hatred began to manifest and led me to abuse laxatives, engage in intense forms of physical exercise, and undergo extreme detox programs. It was not until the end of the summer when I just could not keep up with my expectations for myself and the expectations of others. “When everything in my life is apparently so ‘picture perfect’, why do I feel so unhappy?” I have amazing friends, the best parents, and shout out to Jamie Kaushal for being the best older brother and best friend I could ask for. So why was I not happy? I finally sat down with myself and faced the issues I was dealing with …. and it hit me. I was allowing myself to feel this way. And for the first time in my entire life, I realized that I had never listened to myself, I had never put myself first. I realized that only I have the power to truly make myself happy, and this happiness stems from self love.
That gut-wrenching feeling of self-hatred and the immense darkness that consumed me for so many years was gone. Through learning to love myself unconditionally, I no longer care for the weight of my body or any other physical attributes of my self; I care about living my life being authentically happy.
I think back to how much I used to hate myself and can never help but tear up at the fact that not only me, but so many of us live our lives without developing a strong relationship with ourselves. We are constantly trying to fill that empty void with external relationships, superficial objects, and strive for that constant reassurance from society.
The feeling of being misunderstood is difficult to cope with. We all want to be understood, we all want to invest in relationships that are authentic, relationships that allow you to grow and become a better person. But you cannot expect others to understand you and be genuine with you if you do not start understanding and being true to yourself first.
We tend to forget that we come into this world alone, and we leave alone. And the one person who will constantly shadow you in this journey of life …. is you.
Sit down with yourself. Face that darkness we all bear. And just for a minute, genuinely connect with the self.”