So click-baity. Sorry guys, couldn’t help myself.
These past two months have been super stressful for me. Among studying for the GRE and applying for nursing school, my fall semester of classes has started. The pressure is on, and I am totally reminded of why I only applied to two undergrad schools when I was in high school…it’s draining. I’m exhausted and emotionally void. The anxiety of “am I getting in or am I getting rejected” is overwhelming, to say the least, and the prospect of not getting into any schools crowds my mind more than I’d like to admit.
In short, I’m stressed as fuck.
TW: Disordered Eating
Apparently, I am a creature of extremes. As I mentioned before, I am an ambivert, but rarely do I ever feel right in the middle. I’m either in the mood to be SUPER introverted or in a stage to be SUPER extroverted, but never “meh”. With this shit ton of stuff I’m currently dealing with, I’m either SUPER stressed or SUPER calm. Again, never in the middle.
In the process, I’ve let myself a go little.
…okay, a lot. Which should be normal and okay for this particular moment in my life, right? I mean, I’m pursuing my SECOND chance at a career when I majorly screwed up in undergrad. I’m constantly on the edge–what’s my backup plan if I don’t get into school this round? Do I change careers? Do I keep building on my resume and reapply until I get in? What do I do?
And so, in true Rachel fashion, I turn to extremes. Over the summer, I dealt with my stress by overcompensating in exercise. I lost 10 more pounds, I was in the best shape of my life, I never looked more confident, but I was miserable inside. My friends would invite me out and I would turn them down, just to sit in my room and watch movies because think of all of those drinking calories. I would accidentally binge some days and immediately go for a 10 mile run to burn off the excess calories.
In short, I had some serious issues.
But then something happened. One day, I just got sick of it. I got sick of the charade, I got sick of caring too much. So one day, I binged and let myself enjoy the food. I thought to myself, “I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days and get right back into it.” So I did. I binged and I was happy. But I never quite bounced back.
Instead, I rediscovered my love of comfort food. I had spent a year carefully planning what I ate. In contrast, the ability to choose whatever I wanted to eat, whenever I wanted to eat, was satisfying. I’d eat a whole box of oreos and think, “FUCK our media’s beauty standards!” I’d eat half a box of pizza and think, “I don’t care what anyone thinks!”
Sure, I was happy at first. It’s relieving to let go of social pressure to be thin, to not harshly criticize myself under the warm ambience of my bedroom light. It was nice to avoid the scale. Again, true to my extremes, instead of major restriction, I was letting myself revel in gluttony. And it was okay at first. But then it spiraled out of control. I started eating 2000 calories a day….then 3000…then 4000. All the while telling myself it was okay because I was going to exercise and eat better the next day. All while telling myself that it was okay as long as I loved myself.
As long as I love myself.
I really reflected on that one day, as I was feeling major guilt and stuffing my face with 2000 calories of food that I didn’t need. That’s the problem, isn’t it? No matter how fat or skinny I feel, I still haven’t quite learned how to love myself. Maybe those extra 2000 calories made me feel happy for 20 minutes, but I spent the next 20 hours upset at myself. Not because I ate, but because I ate when I didn’t want to and I didn’t know why. I was learning to rely on food to comfort me in the same way that I’d spent so many years relying on someone to comfort me instead of facing my issues head on.
In short, I still have issues. But at least I know what I need to work on.
I started eating better and exercising again two weeks ago. I’m eating healthy but also allowing myself room for mistakes…because it’s all about balance. It’s not about eating 1000 calories and not being good enough, and it’s not about eating 4000 calories and feeling gluttonous. It’s about accepting self-love and the delicate balance that comes with it.
It’s hard work, but I’m getting there, for sure.
** I know there will be some concerned readers and I am so grateful for that. Please know that I have seen a therapist for a year/currently looking for a new therapist. I have not been diagnosed with a specific eating disorder but we are definitely tracking my “disordered eating”. I am aware of a problem and doing what I can to fix my issues. Thanks in advance for your kindness and understanding. <3 **