Downward Spiral Into Overflowing Joy. An Eating Disorder College Essay Example



Failure is inevitable. Challenges are unavoidable. Setbacks are inescapable. But what I’ve learned is that it’s about the growth and lessons that come from those mistakes that shape people into what they were meant to be. I have encounter millions, if not billions, of failures, challenges, and setbacks in my fifteen years of life, but today I have decided to write about the one that has changed me most. The one that has made me realize my worth. 

Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with otherwise ‘healthy’ eating. For me, my disorder all started in the summer of eighth grade. It stemmed from society’s unrealistic pressures to obtain the perfect body and the narrow definition of ‘beauty’. It also stemmed from wanting to be the greatest athlete my body had the ability to obtain. I thought being ‘healthy’ would make me prettier, faster, stronger; overall ‘better’. But I have now learned that those thoughts are completely false in every way possible.  

It was a slow progression that wasn’t obvious until I became so fixated on being healthy that it tore apart my whole life. I was compulsively checking ingredients lists and nutritional values of everything I ate. My brain was constantly consumed with thoughts of what I ate yesterday, what I would eat today, and what I couldn't eat. I lost an overwhelming amount of friendship and family relationships because food became more important. I was hungry all of the time from restricting myself so much. I had no energy or motivation because I spent it all on thinking about food. I would not go out to eat with my family because I would become so distressed if a ‘healthy’ option was not available. I would compensate for eating what I deemed an ‘unhealthy’ food with hours of exercise, thinking that was a normal and healthy thing to do. I became incredibly moody and irritable because of how tired I had become. Overall, food was controlling me in an extremely unhealthy way!

The anxiety building up inside me was so insurmountable and it led to my downward spiral of depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. I shut out all of the happiness in my life and spent many nights crying. I became so lonely and let so many holiday gatherings, birthday parties, and social events pass by because I wouldn’t let myself enjoy anything. It got to the point where I eventually started to question life because I thought that I would never find a solution or any sort of normalcy again. Luckily, my parents noticed and intervened before it was too late. They got me into therapy, where I developed new strategies to better handle eating, exercising, and thinking. 

From this setback, I learned an unbelievable amount of lessons that have made me into the person I am today. Firstly, I learned that it’s not about what on the outside but rather what’s on the inside that makes a beautiful person. It sounds very cliche but it's true! During my struggle, I was so fixated on the wrong things that I didn’t realize how many people I was hurting. I became so irritable and emotionless that shut out everyone who loved me and wanted to help me. Secondly, I learned that some days are going to be harder than others. Recovery doesn’t mean I am completely out of the woods. 

It's a fight to stay in recovery, but the more I fight, the less likely I am to experience those dark days. Thirdly, I learned that past struggles don’t define a person. With hard work, perseverance, and determination, people can change for the better. Lastly, I learned to embrace my eating disorder. As much as I wish this never happened, I will never forget my struggle because of how much I’ve learned from it. I found my voice; I learned to take back my power; I realized how precious each day is; I have discovered how strong I am, and I have learned how to be optimistic in all sorts of situations. In conclusion, I have learned to truly enjoy life because I was only given one chance, and I am done wasting it!