Eating Disorder Awareness

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Hi! My name is Julia Schemmer - I am sixteen participate in several clubs as well as volunteer actively four days a week. I consider myself a "Surplus Striver" because everyday I am learning more and more about what it takes to have excellence in every area of my life. Follow my blog for insights into my daily life, my journey into surplus, and my preparation to become an international human rights lawyer in India and the Middle East.

Eating Disorder Awareness

This week, it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Many feel uncomfortable about this issue, and would rather speak about a ‘safer’ topic like the weather or the newest episode of New Girl. Quite frankly, it makes people feel threatened, and cornered into hearing about something they do not want to.

But it’s time to speak out. We’ve been silent for too long, and the voices of girls struggling with eating disorders deserves to be heard.

You know how I know? I went through it myself. It was something I never wanted to admit to anyone. It was my secret sin, something I felt so comfortable concealing. I was scared to bring people into what was my struggle, to have people weighed down by my insecurity and downward spiral.

Like many survivors of eating disorders, I can attest that it didn’t begin with a single event, but with an accumulation of small, hurtful times in my life that catalyzed my conclusion that I wasn’t good enough the way I was. Every insult, every dirty look, every disappointed frown was something that I remembered. I would stay up and think about the people that gave them to me, and what I could do to impress them. And at that time, becoming ‘skinnier’ and ‘prettier’ were the only options I could see. I was lost, hopeless, depressed and desperate for someone to accept me. I equated worth with weight, and wanted to be called beautiful by somebody. My first instinct was to stop eating.  I would make myself so busy that I would ‘forget’ to eat, and I became very skinny, very sick. 

There came a point where I was so fed up of feeling inferior that I gave up. While I considered myself a good Christian my whole life, my heart knew I was only piling emotional alchemy and my own desire to feel loved. I didn’t make it real until May 2013. Heck, prior to that, I didn’t even remember the last time I spoke to God. Finally, in May 2013, my older sister invited me to Crossroads Church, and I surrendered my hurts, pains, and doubts to God. The next step was to get help. After receiving help from my counselors, family, and friends, I knew that I was on my way to recovery and a life of inspiring others. I got rid of the negative influences in my life, and instead was lead to positive and uplifting messages. My whole world was changed upside down, and I can’t completely describe how it happened.  I went from a girl who hated the world, who hated her life, and who didn’t see a future, to a girl who is now striving for excellence with a future full of goodwill and positivity.

Today, I am at what is considered a healthy weight for my age. I freaking love cheeseburgers and slurpees and I know that I don’t have to equate my worth with what I weigh anymore. I’m living proof that recovery is possible.

However, even though I am blessed to consider my story a victory, a miracle; for the twenty four million people in the United States struggling with an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder), this is not the case. Twenty four million people. Sometimes when we read a statistic like this, its easy to think that they are just a faceless crowd, but I beg you for a moment to look inside the statistic. Twenty four million people with hopes and dreams. Twenty four million people with a story to tell, and a future beyond their circumstances. Twenty four million people searching for love, acceptance, and assurance that they are beautiful the way they are. Twenty four million people, both boys and girls, of all religions, all backgrounds, rich and poor, from all different languages, ethnicities, cultures, practices. The one thing about eating disorders is that they don’t discriminate, it hits whoever no matter what their background is.

While the subject of eating disorders IS sad and people don’t like talking about it, if we don’t, this sad disease will continue. As long as ignorance and indifference reign in this world, so will their disastrous fruits like eating disorders and depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder of ANY kind, or are having depressed/suicidal thoughts, get help immediately. It could be the life saving decision. Call 1-800-931-2237 for a confidential helpline.

You are BEAUTIFUL, and no scale can project the good that you have to show the world.