Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders
Jolted awake from yet another night terror, I turn towards the fluorescent glow of numbers radiating from the clock on an otherwise barren wall. 4:07 A.M. Another day, another restless night of “sleep.”
I begrudgingly arise from my pathetic slumber, irritated and ravenous. I read online the week before my admittance that exercise restriction prevented inpatients from all physical activity. But the clock had just stricken 4 o’clock; surely all of the nurses would be occupied. I lunge across the room. My atrophied leg muscles quiver under my childlike body. 1. 2. 3. I’m exhausted. 4. 5. 6. I feel heat scorching through my calcium-deficient bones. 7. 8. 9. A tear slowly descends down my ghostly gaunt cheek. 10. 11. 12. I hear the heavy thud of a Birkenstock as it strikes the sanitized vinyl floor. What do I do? I could finish this set; I only have three more. Thud. Someone is approaching; time is of the essence. I multitask: my getaway will have to be a sufficient conclusion to my secret workout. I lunge to my bed from the other side of the empty white room. My roommate twitches and mutters something about burgers. I hear the rustling of nurse paperwork advancing. Thud.
The door creaks open. I let out a soft moan and turn onto my side. A nurse calls my name. I hold my breath. The door creaks again. She exits.
I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, PTSD, anxiety, and depression in June of 2013. Even now, in September of 2k19, I do not think that anyone can fully heal themselves from mental illness. But I do think that I have come pretty damn close thanks to this little thing called kindness.
So to all my lovely ladies facing whatever you’re facing, this is a message to you. Here is the sign you have (or haven’t) been waiting for. Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.
“But Al,” you scream into the Her Campus internet void, “I got my sh*t together. All is well.”
Guess what? Congrats. But still. Life is hard. Like, life is really hard, ya know?
The thing about college is that E V E R Y O N E is facing something. (SERIOUSLY!!!)
Your super cute sorority sister who’s Instagram is absolutely spotless? I bet her past isn’t.
The stranger walking down West Pine in a hoodie on a toasty August day? You shouldn’t laugh. Because odds are, if she feels as though she has to wear it, she has a pretty damn good reason.
What about that b*tch of a barista who rolled her eyes when you ordered your trenta extra alpha beta pie half vanilla half pumpkin spice double shot nonfat extra whip coffee milkshake? What if she’s just trying to provide for her kids and her education and a homegirl is PMS-ing? It happens.
The thing is, friends: we never quite know what’s up in people’s heads. Trust me. I’m a psychology major. I have tried and tried and tried ~yet again~ to mindread. Newsflash! It does not work.
But, luckily for us, we don’t have to be able to psychoanalyze a person on first glance to be nice. Let me repeat that again. Just be nice! To everyone! Seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because, come on y’all, we are not in high school anymore. This is not reality TV. Not every single female or male or nonbinary folk you meet should be the target of your inner wrath. It takes all of three seconds to throw a smile or compliment an outfit or just simply shut up a friend who is being non-inclusive.
We are all human beings just trying to do our human being thing. So if you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine. Use your words for kindness. Otherwise shut the f*ck up and say nothing.