“You are what you eat” was my mantra. It circulated around in my head as I trekked to Latin on that brisk November day. I reflected on the calories I had consumed that day, and thought about how I could lower that number tomorrow. A three-digit number was scribbled on my hand to remind me of how much of a “pig” I had been that day. The skirt that barely zipped up when I bought it in July was now hanging loosely on my hips. I passed by a friend who was carrying a tray of food, and I wondered how she ate all of that. It did not matter, I concluded; all that mattered was I did not eat half as much in an entire day. I was stronger than her.
As the semester progressed these thoughts accompanied me every waking hour of the day. I even had nightmares about binges, and I would wake up, frantically searching my bed for wrappers, only to realize that I was only dreaming. During class, I would compare my body to my peers, and feel triumphant if I was skinnier, but devastated if I was fatter. My entire existence depended on my diet, exercise routine, and waist size. Each day, I measured my self-worth on how much I ate. At the time, I fooled myself into thinking I was successful, when in reality I was avoiding life. If I could succeed at starving, I told myself I did not need friendships, good grades, extracurriculars, or even a personality. If I could get lower, I would be perfect, and I did get lower. My food journals slowly required less ink, but still I wanted to lower my intake.
For a while, I was satisfied. I convinced myself that I could keep going; just a little less food, and I would be happy or so I thought. Each day was like a little game, but suddenly that game spiraled into a war. 10 calories “too many” translated into deprivation. This deprivation meant no friends, no TV, no sleep, no water, and eventually long cuts that decorated my thighs after I had sliced them with scissors. But still, the next day I would find a way to lower my caloric intake.
One day, I hit my lowest. After gloating for about five minutes, I felt like I had lowered myself to the bottom of the ocean. Besides my caloric intake, my energy was low, my mood was low, and my social life was nonexistent. These facts washed over my head and tossed my undernourished body about. Suddenly, I felt as if I could not get any lower; I finally reached what was the lowest of lows from my perspective. I felt lonely, unsuccessful, exhausted, and empty. I doubted that I would ever resurface, so in a split second, I decided death was the only solution.
Not long after, I regretted my decision, and I reached out for help. Maybe noone could save me, but it was worth a try.