From Self-Destruction to Self-Love
All I ever wanted was to be truly happy, surrounded by people that made me feel loved, and to like what I saw in the mirror. My pursuit of happiness led me to seek gratification in all of the wrong places. I believed that the varying forms of artificial feelings of happiness, love, and self-esteem that I was chasing were my ticket to life-long success - I was wrong.
Body Dysmorphia & The Places It Took Me
Ever since I can remember, I hated the way my body looked. I can recall spending hours at clothing stores, only to leave empty-handed and sobbing hysterically. Anytime I tried on an article of clothing, I would see flaws that others could not see. At the time, I figured people were just lying to me in order to make me feel better about myself. I felt like I was looking at a stranger every time I looked in the mirror. The reality of it was, my perception of myself was extremely skewed.
My family and friends eventually grew annoyed by my constant self-deprecation, so anytime I would say something negative about my body they would let out an exasperated sigh. In my mind, this just meant that they ran out of lies. Eventually, my self-hatred progressed and I began to seek out ways to alter my body and my mind. My mental state began to deteriorate as I delved deeper into substance my addiction. My moral compass had disappeared as well as any sense of self I had left. I still hated myself. I decided to confide in a friend, who suggested I seek out treatment. At first, I didn’t think that I needed treatment. I was in complete denial that I was an addict or suffered from any sort of eating disorder.
Self-Intimacy & Recovery
What led me to realize the severity of my behavior, was waking up in a hospital completely unaware of what was going on or what events had even led me there. Eventually, my doctor and my mother sat me down and explained that I had attempted to overdose and I was lucky that my mom had found me when she did. I was in total disbelief until memories started to flood back into my mind, piece by piece. I realized that something big needed to happen if I ever wanted to achieve true happiness. As soon as I was medically stable, I agreed to go to treatment for my eating disorder and substance abuse.
“This decision was the hardest yet, but also the best one I have ever made. I never treated myself as a priority because I didn’t know how to.”
While in treatment, I was provided the healthcare, emotional support, and knowledge I needed in order to begin recovery. My therapist told me that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy would be the best option in order to treat both my eating disorder and my addiction. I started to gain a sense of hope, which was something I never had for myself. In therapy, I learned who I truly was, on the inside.
“I learned how to recognize the beauty within me, how to love the body I was born with, and began to feel a sense of happiness for the first time.”
Making the steps to become open to trying new things saved my life. I had been seeking happiness from all of the wrong sources when there was a simple way right in front of me. Making the decision to change was hard, but the steps I had to take afterward were significantly more simple than the way I had been living before. I finally got to know the real me, which allowed me to look at myself in a positive light. Today, I know the person looking back at me in the mirror and I am slowly becoming more comfortable with who she is each day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MAYA KELLEY
Maya Kelley is an avid writer in the recovery community. Her life’s passion is to spread awareness and breaking stigmas in relation to mental health and substance abuse recovery.