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2023 – Aaralyn Gifford – HWRA – Syracuse HS

Mar 22, 2023


Everyone has their own story to share. The trials they face that have shaped who they have become. I have learn to become thankful for those hardships that have been in my life. Those lessons i have learned are ones i will take with me throughout my life and hopefully help others who are going through the same problems as i did.
My story starts in elementary school. I went to a small school in California. I was a big kid. I didn’t think much of it until i started being bullied for it. I was called names and publicly humiliated by a specific girl. I tried to not let it bother me and so i kept the bullying to myself. When i turned 12 my family and i moved to Utah. That was difficult for me because i had to start all over. All during middle school i would go through different FADS and try to change my appearance. I kept a happy face on the outside but i was truly disappointed in myself and how i looked. As the years went on my fear of how i appeared on the outside grew everyday.
Then tenth grade hit. I was nervous about starting Highschool just like every other kid, but i started developing very unhealthy habits. Everything got worse when school shut down because of Covid-19. All of this alone time made me separate myself from the world. I would lock myself in my bedroom for hours at a time. When i went back to regular school I had to learn how to adjust and make friends. While adjusting, my mental issues got worse. It was the start of the darkest era of my life. I fell into a deep depression. The only way i could learn to handle my emotions would be through slitting my arms and wrist with a razor blade and burning my thighs with fire. I was screaming for help with a smile on my face. I didn’t want anyone to worry about me but i didn’t feel the reason to live on this earth. I would avoid hangouts and got to the point where i could not feel any emotion. It got to the point where the only thing on my mind was death, my death.
One day my mom noticed a cut on my arm and questioned it. I got very nervous but she pushed the truth out of me. I had never cried so hard in my life. The next day she took me to the doctors and got me into a therapy session. I received some medications and had weekly appointments with a therapist. I finally began to feel better during the summer. Though i didn’t hangout with friends, i didn’t have to worry about how i looked because i never saw anyone.
When junior year started it began to get worse again. I hated everything about myself, but it was mostly my body. I would avoid eating in social settings and when i did eat i would throw up my food when nobody was around. This happened for about a month and i didnt tell anyone. Then one day one of my closest friends pulled me to the side and asked me about my eating habits. She had noticed that i never ate and if i did i would obsess over the amount of calories everything had. My friend talked to me and told me her story, she suggested i got help and that she would be here for me all the way through. I took her advice and slowly started healing.
After many therapy sessions and me wanting to change, i got better. My senior year, this year, i grew to love myself. I now eat what i want without worry, i talk about my feelings, go to the gym for fun, and not obsess about everybody’s opinions. Because of how i know i felt about myself in the past, i did not want anyone to have to go through what i went through. So now i try to live my life as an influence to theirs. I want to share my story so they know they are not alone. I applied for a modeling company and got accepted. I know that if i didn’t go through what i went through i wouldn’t be where i am today. At the end of the day i am so thankful for the trials i faced in the past because i know that they helped me grow into the strong confident person that i am today!

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