College Doesn't Feel Like the 'Best 4 Years' of My Life When I'm Struggling With Bulimia
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
“These are the best four years of your life.”
The cliché rings in my ears as I lean my head back against the cold stall door of the community bathrooms, trying to slow my ragged breathing. From the hall I can hear the muffled laughter of other girls, the ones who are actually fulfilling the college cliché. Wiping my mouth, I peer down into the toilet. I never feel like enough. I will still drag my feet back to my room. I will still stare into the mirror, eyes fixated on every bump and squish and roll as I contort my body in a desperate attempt to find an angle that doesn’t make me feel sick.
Every morning the mirror is my first order of business. Do I deserve happiness today? The mirror says no. Throughout the day it mocks me. Washing my hands in the bathroom is a struggle when there it is, reminding me I am unworthy. Every chance I get, I lift my shirt in front of the mirror, frantically scanning my stomach for a sign of change. Girls gab on about the calories in their salad dressing and squeezing in extra workouts before spring break. Their words ring in my ears like gunshots.
Like the Rain Man, I calculate my calorie intake. At dinner, all of a sudden my mouth is full and my plate is clean and my stomach is aching. Back to the bathroom stall I go. Yet somehow, back in my bedroom I feel no more beautiful, no more fulfilled, no more feminine or deserving of love. In that mirror is the same repulsive reflection, just now with a blotchy face, red eyes and watering nose from the purge.
If college is supposed to be the best four years of my life, it feels like I don’t have too much to look forward to. When every day is a battle against my body, how am I supposed to focus on classes, clubs and parties? It seems as though I am trapped, watching my own college experience slip through my fingers. While others are making lifelong friends and figuring out their post-grad plans of action, I am counting calories and pinching at my body. I know that someday, somehow, I will be able to smile in the mirror and accept the love I deserve, but I suppose that time will have to come later. It’s hard not to feel the “the best years of my life” are turning out to be the worst.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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