Mental Illness: Breaking Down the Walls One Truth at a Time

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by MELISSA DOSS

“I Wanted to Live”

"I Wanted to Live"

Through the years, I tried counseling, seeing a nutritionist, and seeing a doctor regularly — yet nothing worked. Nothing worked because I didn’t want it to.
So back to my story. My senior year of high school, I developed anorexia. I’m 5’7 and was a healthy 135 pounds and a size 4. Looking back now, I looked healthy and happy. I had light in my eyes. I loved life. I rapidly lost weight by starving myself and my weight hovered around 100 pounds at my lowest. My anorexia slowly turned into a combination of anorexia and bulimia. I remember thinking to myself, “I can stop whenever I want. I’m in control.” I was far from being in control. In fact, I was so out of control that once my eating disorder locked me in, I was trapped. A switch in my mind flipped and no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop it.

I remember planning my days around food. I didn’t want to eat out with family or friends. I didn’t want to travel. I didn’t want to take off my clothes. I didn’t want people to know I was sick. I hated my body. My eating disorder turned me into everything that I didn’t want to be. I lied to everyone. I lost the light in my eyes. I lost my joy. I lost my smile. I hated who I was. I remember lying in bed at night wondering if it would be my last. I feared my heart would stop beating. I feared my body would give out on me. I also feared that if it didn’t, I would spend my entire life trapped by this awful disease. That terrified me. I prayed to God every night asking for forgiveness for what I was doing to not only myself but to those around me who love me so much. I was destroying myself. I was destroying those who meant everything to me. Thinking of the pain I caused to others still makes my heart ache to this day. While it’s something I can never get back, I spend everyday trying to make up the pain I caused to my loved ones. Luckily, I have the best support system in the entire world, and their love for me is unconditional.

Through the years, I tried counseling, seeing a nutritionist, and seeing a doctor regularly — yet nothing worked. Nothing worked because I didn’t want it to. You have to want to get better in order to do so. You have to be open and honest with people. You have to ask for help. I did none of these. I lied to my doctors. I told them I was fine, when clearly I was dying inside. You have to want to get better. You have to want it more than you want anything else in this world. And I did. I wanted it. I wanted to be free. I wanted to be healthy and happy again. I wanted to live. I remember praying one day begging God to heal me. He gave me signs but made me take the first step. I vowed to go one day eating normally and keeping all of my food down. It was so hard. Then I vowed to go two. Then three. Then a week. Then a month. Baby steps.

Fitness — and especially CrossFit — saved my life. I’m sharing my story today in hopes that others will read it and no longer be ashamed of their mental illness.
I also started taking up fitness again, which helped clear my head and it gave me a reason to be healthy. I wanted to be strong. I started with running and lifting at a globo gym. I then tried doing a few mini triathlons with my now-husband, Daniel, and finally, I found CrossFit. My passion. I can honestly say from the day I vowed to get better, which was years and years ago, I haven’t had one single slip up. Of course I’ve had thoughts and urges, but I think back to who I was and what I went through and the pain that I caused to myself and my family. I never want to go back to that life. I never want to be that sick girl again. That’s enough motivation to stay healthy for me. I will NEVER go back to that life.

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