"I thought that 5th grade would be better, that the teachers would notice. That anyone would notice. But nothing. I just wanted to feel."

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Ivana's experiences happened between 11 and 12 years old.
I've always been an anxious girl, never dared to do anything outside my comfort zone. Which, for the record was quite small. I've always been quiet and kind of in the background of everything. And in 4th grade that got even worse. I was really lonely and only really had one friend, but she was in the grade above me and we didn't have breaks at the same time. I was also the ''class nerd'', and that label was only more imprinted when I found joy in reading books. I was more and more pushed out of my class until it was me, my books and my one friend. I got depressed. I didn't feel like living, what did I even have to live for? My books? The year went on and I just got more and more lonely, more and more sad, more and more, empty. At this point I just wanted to feel. I thought that 5th grade would be better, that the teachers would notice. That anyone would notice. But nothing. I just wanted to feel. And I did, it wasn't healthy in any way. It wasn't a good self medication. Instead of telling someone how I felt, I told my skin through a blade. It became an obsession. Everyday without skipping I would come home and explain to my skin how I felt. How terrible I felt. How terrible I felt about myself. How the amount of fat on my body determined my worth. I had daydreams of cutting off all the fat off my body with the razorblade. My mind was -that- twisted. Then it got practical, the anorexia started. The anorexia started and it's still going on. Not as extreme, but it's still going. I found a diet called the skinny diet back then. I remember one particular day, where I stayed home from school because it was a fasting day. I ate 4 strawberries that day, and I thought it was too much because it wasn't 0 calories. 4 strawberries are 12 calories, and I thought it was too much, so I threw it up. And then went on a run. My way to recovery was started by me changing schools to my current one. Where the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed, you're also more seen. The teachers know you more and see if something's wrong. I'm surrounded by genuine, positive friends. I still have anxiety at times, it's life. You can't know how far you've come if you don't relapse. It's also a reminder that you never want to go back, just look forward.
Written by Ivana Westberg
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