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23.05.19

I Didn't Want To Be Skinny Anymore, I Wanted To Be Strong

Lou Delaney

By Lou Delaney, Guest Blogger


I couldn’t become a statistic.

But I also couldn’t live a life where I was, ‘going through the motions’ or just ‘surviving’.

That’s what I was doing for 7 years. Depression, controlled every aspect of my life.

In 2012, at the tender age of 18, just finishing my A-Levels, I had my whole life ahead of me. I could go in any direction I wanted. I was the girl who was ‘care-free’ and ‘always smiling’, the one that looked like she had it together.

Until, my very first ‘trigger’.

My way of coping was starving myself of friendships and social gatherings. Neglecting my body of life-functioning nutrients and happy endorphins. Shutting myself from every emotion possible in order to not feel pain. I was physically and mentally fatigued but still managed to hold a persona that showed everyone, looking from the outside in, that I was ‘fine’.

Because I was so fixated on people’s opinions of me.

I started to seek help, not for my benefit but for other people around me because I had to be the best version of myself to feel accepted. After turning down anti-depressants twice, talking to numerous counsellors and referrals to specialised therapists, I was taught that the basics of your own happiness comes from yourself. Throughout my life, I’d never made decisions for myself. Controlling relationships took my choices from me. I wasn't allowed to look after myself before looking after others around me. I wasn't allowed to go to the gym without feeling guilty for doing something to better myself, so I never went. I couldn't eat without thinking someone was more deserving of food than I was. Getting down to 300 MAX calories per day, I physically couldn't get out of bed, never mind work my full-time job as a Speech and Language Assistant, in charge of teaching our next generation language skills for their future.

I went through stages of euphoric happiness (about 2 days of normal happiness actually! But because these days were so scarce they would feel out of this world) then, long periods of deep depression. I was so determined to understand my own mind and figure out what was going on that my GP referred me to a psychologist, where I had 10 weeks of psycho dynamic therapy.

IT WAS INTENSE.

This might sound weird but I went through years of incredible guilt for doing things for myself. So getting a gym membership in 2017 and 'treating' myself for an hour a day where I was 'bettering' myself was an incredible change that was hard to get used to. I'd never looked at myself in the mirror and praised myself. In the beginning I would stand, EVERYDAY, looking in the mirror, criticising every part of my body. Counting every rib, punching my stomach and wishing my legs were thinner.

At the same time, I had to learn to trust food. Slowly upping my calories. But I'd learnt that food is fuel (AND TASTES SOOO GOOD). I needed food in order to perform in the gym.

I didn't want to be the skinny girl anymore. The depressed girl who was lost and controlled, who only ever looked out for others and cared about their feelings. I wanted to be a strong woman. I wanted to lift heavy and feel empowered.

THE GYM MADE ME WANT TO LIVE.

7 years I held other people’s views of me as more important than my own. I had to learn that you haven’t got to make everyone understand you, your insecurities, your habits or your weaknesses.

Now, 2019. I still have down days but everyday is so much brighter than before. I feel deserving of the love and happiness I have now.

It isn’t your job to convince people you’re a good person, It’s their job to realise.

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