This blog post is Part 2 of Sam's Story. We are really privlidged to have the opportunity to share her honest and open experiences with you over this Easter weekend! x
Sam's Story: Part 2
One evening I was standing in front of our heater and my Mum said to me, “You’ve lost weight Sam, you’re looking nice!”. I remember thinking that my new ‘healthy’ lifestyle was actually working! I felt so elated in that moment... In my head my Mum’s words only reinforced my belief that I was overweight and unlovable and that the only way to change was to loose more weight.
It wasn’t long before I was getting a lot of comments about how much weight I had lost. Hearing those words, which I had desperately longed for, had a very different effect on me than what I had anticipated. After first hearing them from my Mum, these words now came from a place of deep concern rather than people admiring me for the way that I looked. It came to the point that I didn’t want people to notice anymore. I denied that they had any reason to be concerned, assuring everyone that I was just fine. I didn’t want their help. Couldn't they understand that this was the way things had to be – if I put weight on then who would love and accept me?
And so I continued down the dangerous and deceiving road of anorexia. Every single moment of my life was spent thinking about food and exercise and what people were thinking of me. I lived inside my own head where my thoughts kept me captive. The fear was overwhelming and crept into every area of my life; I couldn’t even go out with my friends because I was fearful of what I might have to eat and I needed to be in control. I would avoid eating dinner at the same time as my family just in case what they cooked wasn’t in my list of ‘safe’ foods to eat. If I ate after them then at least I could throw the food out without them noticing. My rules, fuelled by my fear and my need to be in control, dictated every single little thing I did. I could never eat cereal unless there was a measuring cup in the kitchen, I had to drink at least 3 litres of water a day, I had to halve whatever portion was served to me and only eat that, I had to exercise every single day without fail, I could drink nothing else other than water and I weighed myself constantly, telling myself that I was never allowed to get over a certain number that I had decided was an acceptable weight. If I did do something that fell even slightly outside of my rules than there would be some sort of compensation the next day. I was always counting, always measuring, always obsessing, and always weighing things up in my mind. It was never ending.
I started on this ‘healthy’ path because I thought that if I was just that little bit thinner I would have more confidence. But in reality the decisions I had made had left me in a place where all I wanted to do was shrink away from the world. What little confidence I had to begin with had been completely destroyed. I remember standing at church about 6 years ago amongst a group of girls who were talking about the upcoming camp. I don’t remember the conversation but I do remember the words “look at skinny minny over here”, directed towards me. I was wearing black beach pants and a pink top and I had my arms crossed over my stomach. I don’t think I have ever felt as small and insignificant as I did in that moment. What had I done to myself? I thought I wanted to be noticed as a ‘skinny minny’ but instead the words made me feel hollow inside, a mere shell of a person.
Elissa Booker (one of my best friends at the time) was the first person to confront me about my dramatic weight loss. But in the next few months, she gave me a confrontation that no one could anticipate.
Part 3 of Sam's Story will be published tomorrow.