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2024 – Awardee – Zadie Kimball Maple Mtn HS

Mar 26, 2024

My Eating Disorde

Somebody in the world dies every 52 minutes from an eating disorder. I started my eating disorder in 2017 when I was twelve years old. The signs were significant early on. I started competitive dancing when I was five years old. I started noticing my body at eight years old. I quit dancing for a year at that age. I said it was because I was tired of it, I wasn’t interested anymore. I quit dancing that year because my body didn’t look like the other girls I was dancing with. I loved my sport but hated the mental drain. I came back the following year and my New Years resolution started with “I am going to lose weight.” I didn’t care how, I didn’t care if it was safe or not – I would lose weight. So I started restricting myself. While my friends were eating lunch I would throw mine away. I went off sugar, and I had grown women applauding my “self-control.” When do you have so much self-control that you start losing control within yourself?

In eighth grade, my uncle died because of suicide. I was angry, sad, and mourning. I had never experienced a loss this impactful. I didn’t know how to handle my emotions. I started becoming extremely depressed. I started finding “coping skills” These quote-unquote “skills” started making me feel a little better but extremely anxious. I started self-harming, using marijuana,  and most harmfully, I started to seriously restrict myself.

I went to the doctor. I told him about my serious depression and anxiety, I told him that my stomach was constantly in pain and that I was always tired. When will our doctors start to notice the warning signs? I got on antidepressants, and I began to have control over my depression, but my anxiety was at an all-time high. I didn’t understand my feelings.

I had been out of dance for a couple of years at this point and decided to try out for my high school cheer team. I made it! I was so excited until I started to notice my body again. I compared myself to every single person I saw. I was comparing my 15-year-old body to my 12-year-old body. I became uncontrollably self-aware. When cheer started, we had our uniforms fitting. A uniform that fit me perfectly two weeks ago and I was currently swimming in. My mother had to sew all of my uniforms so they wouldn’t fall off. Coach Niki called me in after practice, she said “Zadie I think you need help. None of your uniforms fit you. You have almost passed out every single practice, and you’re covered in bruises.” I said, “I’m okay, thank you for your concern, but I promise you I am okay.”

I refused to admit I had a problem until three years later – my senior year. I started finding different coping strategies and became extremely reliant on marijuana. I started to really lose my appetite. My meals consisted of Redbull and nicotine – both appetite suppressants. I relied on self-harm to make sure I could still feel. This was what my days consisted of until the end of September 2023.

My mother called me while I was at school demanding I get home instantly. I was terrified. My mother had never done this before. With my friends in the car, I had said “Well if I just got caught, maybe they can fix my eating too.” I came home to my mom sitting in our unfinished house and asking if I needed to tell her anything. I sat there and told her everything except the obvious – my dependency on marijuana which she clearly knew of. Eventually, she said, “What about the pot?” I said, “Yeah”. She continued to ask me if I needed help. All I could muster was “Yes”.

One week later, I was admitted to the Center For Change. I was a patient for four weeks. I went to therapy all day, every day. When I wasn’t in therapy I was eating or having a panic attack. These four weeks were the hardest and most difficult, but my biggest success. I have slowly started to overcome my biggest trial in life. I have found healthy ways of coping. I have made the greatest friends and created trusting beautiful relationships with my family. I have learned so much in the last five months. Please be aware of the warning signs with yourself and people around you. It is possible.

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