Summer was a time for camping, and I always made sure to take advantage of the lack of light pollution in the sky to gaze at the galaxies watching over Lake Michigan. To my surprise, this summer was unique compared to the summers in years past. Even though I gazed upon the same stars each year, this time I strolled off of the beach and into my tent with a new perspective.
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This perspective was inspired by someone important to me, who once said, “One of the most interesting thing about someone is what they extract from their subconscious.” In this complex part of the mind, one can enlighten themselves with concepts, opinions, and conclusions, by lifting thoughts created in the subconscious into the conscious mind.
With my new eyes staring in awe at the stars I thought to myself, “You are so insignificant in the greater scope of things. The least you could do is be thankful and loving to everyone, including yourself.” Never had I said, heard, or read this out loud, but my subconscious had just spit out something important. So, as Warren Buffet advised, I followed my gut, and finally my recovery reached a climax.
For two years I starved. Before any help, I lost thirty-five percent of my weight, half of my head hair, and my body took on a wolverine look, uselessly trying to fight to keep my body warm. With the statistics I had, it would be obvious to diagnose me with anorexia-nervosa. Therapy was not optional, and I went to the edge to convince my parents and therapist that I was “all cured up”, desperately trying to avoid the rooms that reeked of artificial flower odors and was filled with trying-too-hard-to-be-comfortable chairs. After the long hours of studying for school and Science Olympiad, I used the minimal energy that I had available to finally tell my therapist that I felt being thin and restricting my diet made me feel more superior than everyone else. Later I realized that me owning up to my thoughts was essentially my subconscious seeking help.
Even though the therapist could tell me all sort of things about accepting myself, I was the one that had to do the mental work at the end of the day. Initially I was resistant, going to the weigh in sessions with hidden weights, lying about my food log, and reinforcing my chemical imbalance. However, keeping my notes neat and grades high became more difficult than ever; there seemed to be no mercy; the burden on my shoulders grew heavier every meal I skipped and every hour I studied on an empty stomach. I was not any fun to be around anymore, not the bubbly person that my teachers used to see bouncing into the classroom, greeting everyone I saw. Two Lindsays fought inside of me, and I was sick of it all.
Life is about finding happiness in what one does, maintaining personal balance, accepting one’s unique qualities, and enhancing those talents. I have made peace with the fact that body image will be an ongoing struggle for me, however, in the future I want to better understand what factors contribute to how someone sees him or herself. Looking forward, I think that going to a great college will help me enter the medical world and present me with opportunities to analyze hormones, nutrition, neurochemicals, and environmental factors that may be responsible for why people have the perspectives that they have. In the end, I hope to find a way to lessen judgmental thoughts, encourage selflessness, bring out the inert accepting human nature from the subconscious to the conscious mind, and make positive change.
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