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*trigger warning* I struggled with bulimia for years. I had a tangled mix of self esteem, body, and control issues. I remember comments from my school friends and coworkers about how skinny I was, despite the fact that I would eat anything offered to me. I am/was blessed with a great metabolism - genetically predisposed to being a "healthy" weight without really having to try. But then I also added on not eating much in the way of breakfast and rarely packing myself a lunch for during school, and on days I worked after school, I rarely had dinner... I was thin. I remember eating literally anything my friends would have leftover from their lunches, sometimes getting hot lunch from school when I was willing to spend the money, and stealing teddy grams from the concessions at the pool that I worked at to call "dinner". My family wasn't well off, but we always had food available. Always. But, I just sank into this habit of not eating until I was ravenous. And that's when I'd mow down on snacks and leftovers from others. Needless to say, that was a vicious cycle of starving and binging that became increasingly harder to break the longer it went on. However, that food cycle had nothing to do with the vomiting part of bulimia. Vomiting was a control thing for me-- mentally/emotionally fueled, rather than physically fueled. It stemmed from the less-than-ideal eating habits I had, but in no way was birthed from the same demons. No... vomiting was a evil creature unto itself. It was fear. anger. frantic thoughts. and anxiety brought on by a need for a control. Vomiting was, in a way, a form of panic attack. What I feel like people in my life have struggled most to understand about my mental illnesses is that looking good on the outside does not always translate to feeling good inside. Yes, wealth, health, notoriety, and physical beauty play a role in one's mental/emotional health, but there's always more to the story than what meets the eye. Even the most gorgeous, rich, well-known and well-loved person can be plagued by mental health issues. Don't make assumptions about people's wellbeing based on surface impressions. Don't assume that someone who's thin can't have body issues. Don't assume someone who likes cracking jokes isn't depressed. And most of all, if someone tells you they are struggling....believe them. Even if how they look or act contradicts what they say.

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