Well, hello there! I last left off talking about how there were moments in my life that lead me to seeking help. So, today’s topic will be about the first time I sought counseling for myself. I had been to therapy before, however it wasn’t my choice. I have noticed that if therapy isn’t my choice, it won’t work. Plain and simple. But this time, it was my choice and it was very beneficial for me. At least for the time I sought help.
TW: eating disorder, suicide
So let’s begin…
I don’t know many people who had blissful experiences dating. I was not lucky in the dating department. Not at all! I did not date until I was in college. I think there were many reasons for this, but alas that is a story for another day.
The summer before my last semester of college, I started casually dating a guy. Our first date was to a movie and then we got frozen yogurt afterwards. He was friendly and confident. I listened to him and hardly spoke the whole time. I found him interesting but I wasn’t sure if we were really compatible. But, it was the first date and I was willing to see where things went.
The relationship was strange from the beginning. He worked evenings and I mostly worked during the day. The only time we really spent together was at odd hours at night. In the beginning he seemed really caring and very sweet. He would drive an hour to see me before work and was super romantic. I began to fall for him and loved how he treated me.
After awhile things began to change. He wouldn’t drive out to see me and he would guilt me into driving out to see him. I was scared of being alone so I went along with it. He always wanted me to hang out with his friends, but I never felt comfortable with them. So it continued on this way. I would work during the day, drive out to see him, stay up late with him, get minimal sleep, and then head back to work.
Soon he began pressuring me into doing things that I never wanted to do. I would do what he wanted and then feel so ashamed. Every time I went home feeling empty. I hated what I was doing and I hated how I felt.
One day, he confided in me with a dark secret he had and my world shattered. He told me of an addiction he had and that I was the reason he had stopped. He told me he couldn’t live without me because if he fell back into his addiction, he might end his life. I felt trapped. This addiction was so repulsive to me and it hurt innocent people. I didn’t want him to do it, so I continued doing things to make him happy.
I was extremely miserable. I stopped eating regularly and began to fall back into my unhealthy habits. I exercised constantly and only ate when others were eating. In a way I felt that I needed to punish myself because I was doing things that were against everything I believed.
I headed back to college and only saw him on the weekends. I dreaded the weekends so much. But I had to keep seeing him, for fear that he would fall back into bad habits or hurt himself. I would drive down and spend the weekends in his trashy basement. I was in the process of working on my portfolio for graduation during this time. So, I would drive down, hang out with him until he fell asleep, and then stay up furiously working on my portfolio. It was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting.
I tried to break up with him once and it backfired tremendously. I won’t go into details, because it is not something I wish to share. I kept up with this crazy schedule. On average I was getting about 2-3 hours tops a night. I wasn’t eating anymore and I had lost all of my self respect.
He had no sympathy for me. I would try to tell him that I couldn’t keep up this schedule and would say I need a weekend to catch up on my things. He would get mad at me, tell me he would break up with me and bad things would happen. So I kept on. My friends did not like him at all. I didn’t find out until later that my family wasn’t fond of him. To be honest, I didn’t like him either.
I graduated with two degrees and high honors. He didn’t care and I couldn’t be proud of myself because of everything I had done. I refused to walk for my graduation because there wasn’t anything I did that deserved to be recognized.
I moved back home after I graduated. I was hoping things would get better. Maybe being apart was escalating things. Unfortunately, it only got worse. Because I had just finished school in December, there wasn’t much luck finding teaching positions. He berated me and told me I was lazy for not having a job. I believed him. I told him that I had fallen into some unhealthy eating habits again, and he told me he didn’t have time for my problems. So, I continued to do things to make him happy and forgot myself.
He asked me to marry him. I said yes, because I truly believed I din’t deserve anything better.
The following month I had to get surgery. While in recovery, I asked him if he would come visit me. He refused.
A few days after my surgery he came over to my house, shockingly. He began to blame me for every mistake he had made. He said I was bringing him down and causing him to do things he shouldn’t. That I should have known better not to tempt him. He said I wasn’t good enough for him and that I needed Jesus. And just like that I was dumped.
I believed every word he said to me. I thought that there was no way anyone could love me now. I was tainted and damaged. Unfortunately, this left me in a bad place and I tried to take my own life. Luckily, I failed.
I went to a doctor for a checkup and asked her for help with my eating disorder. I believe I phrased it, “what if someone isn’t eating anymore and doesn’t know how to get help?” She referred me to one of the best therapist I’ve ever worked with. Through her I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphia and my journey of recovery started.
It was a terrible experience and I wish no one has to go through anything similar. However, if it didn’t happen I might never have been able to discover what was behind my body image obsessions and eating disorder. In a way I am thankful for the experience because it taught me that I am way tougher than I thought I ever could be.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. – I want you to know that I tried to file against him for his addiction, but it was impossible to press charges without the right kind of proof. One day, I hope that he is held accountable for his actions.