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My Story

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sometimes I feel the life that I have been living is a lie. It seems perfect from the outside looking in. I am an honours student who competes on a varsity team at university. I volunteer each week with para- and quadriplegics and aspire to practice medicine. However, I and a few others, know the truth.
It all started back when I was in a fourth grade. I grew faster than all the other kids, and as a result went through puberty early. I was told that I was 'too big' to wear jeans by a family member. I remember being confused when I saw girls much larger than me wearing denim. That was the first time it dawned on me that I must be 'very big'. To this day, I dread shopping for jeans.
I transformed into an athlete at some point between grades five and ten. It was a long process marked by countless hours of cardio and weight-lifting. I played every sport imaginable - basketball, hockey, cross country, curling, nordic skiing, track and field, rugby, soccer and paddling. I competed on five sports teams for my high school each year. In addition to that, I was a focused competitive club basketball player in the winter and paddler in the summer.
I was no stranger to injury during this time. The list of injuries is endless: patellofemoral syndrome, ACL sprain, broken ankle, 3rd degree ankle sprain, stress fracture, iliotibial band syndrome...the list goes on and on. I was a victim of over-training and had an uncanny ability to push through my injuries until they escalated into major problems. My biggest enemy was myself. My weight fluctuated during this time, and I did not like it. My body image and self-perception deprecated. I started experiencing bouts of depression.
I thought that university would 'cure' me, and at first it did. I was distracted with the new atmosphere, a new varsity sport, and new courses. In fact, on the outside it seems that I have handled the transition to university well. I am almost finished my second year. I have excellent grades and have proven myself as a force to be reckoned with on the varsity rowing team.
What people do not see is the girl who goes home each night, locks herself in her room, and weeps silently. People do not see the girl who is preoccupied with her body image and food. People do not see the girl who struggles to get out of bed each morning. People do not see the imperfections that seem blindingly apparent when I look in the mirror. Truth be told, I am tired. I am mentally and physically beat. Sometimes I wish I could just take a break from reality.
Be careful what you wish for. I recently sustained a stress fracture to my rib because of over-training on the indoor rowing machine. I have been forced to put my life on hold. I have been instructed to stop rowing, runing, weight-lifting, or anything that causes pain. The problem is that EVERYTHING causes pain, except spinning. I have started spinning 10-12 hours a week. However, this is not enough compared to what I was doing prior to my injury. I have been gaining weight, and suffering more than ever from depression.
I have recently discovered the root of my problems regarding body-image and depression. I am a people-pleaser. For some unknown reason I feel that each person has certain expectations for me, and that I must fulfill them to be successful. However, it has become blatantly clear to me that I have set these unrealistic goals for myself. I am literally driving myself crazy in my quest for success.
So here I am, on February 21st 2013, declaring a change for the better. I will learn to love my body. I will learn to have a positive outlook on life. Most of all, I will find my place in this world, and learn how to enjoy each and every minute of my life. Join me in my journey, one step at a time.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow--You are good to begin again--Ypour story sounds like all of us on here--and we have come a long way--for the good!! Enjoy the journey-Lynda emoticon
    1907 days ago
    You sound exactly like me when I was your age....I am almost 50 and the best thing I did for myself was to go to my doctor and tell him what I was feeling. He recommended a therapist and it was a life saver. It really isn't about the exercise per say....this OCD sports behaviour is only symptimatic of something deeper.

    Please do not try to handle this on your own. Go to your doctor. Look if the worst thing in the world is you go to a shrink, sports psycologist etc. for a while then you will be miles ahead in the end.

    I still do Half Ironmans etc. but after therapy and medication for OCD, I have learned not to be so obessive about my excersing.....which cut down on injury, changed my behaviour about how I felt about myself etc.

    Please let me know how it is going.

    Take care
    1907 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your story. Its really good that you've been able to get that out and now what you need. Take it - as easy - as you can on yourself, you deserve it.
    Hang in there.
    1919 days ago
    Bless your heart! Quit trying to please others. REalize you are One of a Kind, Special Designed By Your Creator, Loved As your Are, and Our God is strong enough, willing enough, and loves you enough to help you through all this.
    Please visit my sparks page to see how He has Anchored me with the atttude of being a winner on his time table.
    Please don't grow discouraged. You can do this.
    Here for you to cheer you on if you need a sparks friend.
    1919 days ago
    Oh, honey... I feel for you. Don't worry about having a positive outlook on life. First, learn to LOVE yourself and everything else will come. You said, "Sometimes I wish I could just take a break from reality." What is reality to you? Does that mean it is the only reality? What will happen if you're not a "people pleaser"? I'm not saying go be mean to others. But, first, be kind to yourself. If you find yourself mentally beating yourself up, ask yourself if you would talk to the people you love this way. I recommend checking out Martha Beck and Meadow Devor if you're not already familiar with them.

    I wish you the best.
    1919 days ago
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