When seeking acceptance through making herself thinner didn’t work, it was facing death that became Spela’s saving grace to self- acceptance. Here Spela shares some of her 9 year battle with her body in order to give others who might be struggling HOPE…
YOU HAVE A PIECE OF CAKE AND FEEL AWESOME – PRICELESS!
I used to love food. I looked forward to all social events because I knew there would be food. I enjoyed food so much that I was a sight to behold. And I wasn’t at all concerned what others thought about me or my behind getting bigger because I ate so much of all this excellent food. I admit, I was a bit overweight, but I was confident, I knew how to stand up for myself, and I laughed almost every day.
And then something, somewhere, went wrong. I became a teenager. I grew up and those extra pounds on my behind were gone. Everyone noticed! All of a sudden, I was ‘beautiful’! Unfortunately, I lost my confidence and the simple, carefree life. It’s true that I was more attractive, but I was really useless. No one could see me as a person that longs for spending time with friends and going to parties, as there was nothing left of me but sadness. Nothing. Emptiness!
And from this emptiness came a lie. I became convinced that I was not beautiful enough. I obviously did not meet the criteria of my peers, since I kept being pushed away. I had to change that somehow. I had to somehow fit it, as the isolation was too painful! So I started aiming for ‘perfection’. “Somewhere on this path to perfection I’ll certainly become good enough, and that’s when I’ll stop. That’s when I’ll start enjoying life.” In this misguided belief I doomed myself to several horrible years…
Others only needed to look at me briefly to see that horror. All they could see what a pile of bones, moving about the world without expression. Even though I was not aware of it at the time, I kept moving further and further away from being accepted by my peers. And despite needing nine years to really come to terms with it, I actually had anorexia.
When I look back now, I am truly shocked that the human mind can become so motivated to achieve a certain goal that it is willing to give up its own life. Because, at that time, I really didn’t care about my own life. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. All that mattered was that I look beautiful. Even if I had to give up all food that I used to love so much, abusing laxatives behind closed doors, and having nightmares about my intestines failing. I didn’t care about the pain I felt while doing jumping jacks, spinning the hula hoop, and doing crunches over and over, even though the room was spinning and my lips were completely dry and longing for a sip of water. All the tears I shed in secret, yearning for a hug, didn’t really matter. I truly did not care if I lived or died, the only thing I cared about was losing weight. Or rather, I longed for the acceptance I thought I would finally achieve once I lost enough weight. I kept wondering why I was different from others and why I can’t be like all the ‘normal’ people. Why couldn’t I walk up to someone, start talking to him , dance at a party like no one was watching, and to be attracted to some hunk and act like a schoolgirl!?
After a few months of this self-inflicted torture, when I was truly nothing but skin and bones, and my body could hardly keep me conscious, I was driving somewhere and for the first time asked myself if there was any point to all this. I tried, I really did, but there were no results. I was still alone, and I did not want to live another day with this feeling of loneliness. I couldn’t do it anymore. And because of this question I almost gave up that day.
Or rather, I did. I was ready to end it all.
But something stopped me. Despite all this horror I lived in, my body still wouldn’t let me finish it. It wanted to fight. Even today, I don’t know where it found this strength – where I found this strength whilst hugging my blanket that day, yelling through tears that I can’t do it anymore. I literally starved myself to my limits. That day was a turning point. I only had two options. There was no middle ground. It was beyond obvious that my life can not remain the same. And I was either going to die or regain some weight.
As I wasn’t able to die, it became obvious: all the pain I made myself suffer through would soon become meaningless, as it will take me just a few short months to become what I was years ago, when I still knew that feeling of happiness, eating with enjoyment and having something to smile about during the day. Accepting this fact at that time was hard. Very hard. It required that I change my behavior and personality, which meant a lot of soul-searching, visits to physicians, and talks with psychiatrists.
It was hard. But it was worth it! Can you even imagine how insanely good it feels that I can have a slice of delicious cake and not feel bad about it?! I’m laughing once again and in the evening I fall asleep in the arms of someone I love dearly. The world is beautiful once again and I feel like I can have it all!
So I can say with absolute certainty that it was all worth it. Of course, the entire experience demanded a lot from me, but I believe it has made me who I am today – and I am proud of who I am.
With this feeling of pride, I wrote a book – Notice Me: My 9-Year Struggle against Anorexia – and I hope my story will inspire many others.
Everyone can do it! ❤