Why can't I be perfect?

I have issues. I have lots of them. How will I survive?
This is the story of Bryony James. A 16 year old girl who is struggling with anorexia and depression.
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8. One Step Forward

I was doing really well and everything seemed to be going forward. I stayed calm over all of my exams in June and this feeling of recovery and peace was with me throughout half of the summer holidays. The first half of the summer holidays. But then I began having the thoughts again. The negative thoughts, the ones I had a tendency to believe due to my low self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. ‘You’re fat’, ‘You’re a failure’, and ‘You do not deserve this new-found freedom.’ These thoughts started to dominate my life. They would not go away, whatever I did they were always present somewhere.

I started to count calories again, I was an expert now, and I stayed awake late. I did lot of extra exercise which would improve my fitness and help me to become thinner. I preoccupied myself with what I could and couldn’t eat and if I should have a hot chocolate or not. It was a constant war in my head over whether I could eat or not and if so, what I could eat without feeling overly guilty. I suppose this was obsessive behaviour but I felt like I had so much control. I loved the fact that I had control over something and my life wasn’t completely falling apart. I could work out my diet and how to live my life but, of course, this was a false sense of security. I knew this I my heart but it didn’t stop me from preventing myself doing what I did.

***

Then I went to Soul Survivor. A Christian summer camp. I was worried that I would have to eat, that I would end up being found out and everyone would hate me and despise me for being stupid and not letting God control my life. I was also scared about leaving the routine I had created, that I just had to follow or else.

When I was there the feeling of being alone was destroyed on the first night and I knew that God wanted me to be healed but I felt like I couldn’t become ‘normal’ and leave my regime behind. It was a safety net for all the bad things that could happen to me. A protection that said that ‘Yes, you weren’t going to do that well anyway. Try again.’ The thought scared me even though I could sense that God would always be there with me. I needed Him and Anna.

As the week progressed, all the issues I was struggling with were discussed and I felt out of place. I knew God was trying to help me and push me to receive help. I didn’t know whether I wanted to though. As I said, this was safe for me. Eventually I went for help and I told one of the church’s youth workers, who seemed to understand what I said. Sometimes, though, I feel as though she has judged me but I am probably still slightly paranoid. I think I always will be.

After the week had ended I told my Mum. It was one of the scariest moments in my entire life but at least it’s over.

***

 I’m back at school again now. I passed all the exams I took with good grades but they could have been better. They weren’t all A*’s. Not yet. I’m still a perfectionist, unfortunately. I keep meeting with the youth leader and I go with Lucy to chat once a week at break. I think things are improving!

I have had some amazing prayer times and have got better at listening to God but I am struggling to believe that He thinks I am beautiful and that He still wants me in Heaven. I’m getting there though. I’m a more positive person now. A new person.

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