Learning to loosen the vines


Bailey Vydareny, Managing Editor

I have always been an independent person and have never liked asking for help. As a kid, I always wanted to solve the math problem on my own. And my parents were never allowed anywhere near the kitchen so that I could make my pb&j free of assistance. I even have a vague memory of using a pair of scissors to remove a tangled hair tie because I refused to let my mom touch the knotted mess my hair had become. This independence became what others expected of me, and eventually what I expected from myself. 

Last March, my stubborn independence landed me in a dark place. I became caught in an obsessive cycle of restricting calories and types of food I allowed myself to consume. I convinced myself that I was in control, when in reality I was blind to the fact that a nasty eating disorder was slowly wrapping its constricting vines around me.

It took a long time to admit to myself that what I was doing wasn’t healthy. I feared losing control I was convinced that I had finally found and it felt like a huge secret that I couldn’t tell others. The demons in my head were scary yet I simultaneously felt embarrassed by their presence. I was determined that I could get through this on my own, no one needed to know I was struggling.

The negative voices that occupied a large part of my mind continually became louder and louder. Simultaneously, the ever-tightening vines squeezed tighter and tighter. At last, I reached my breaking point and I finally asked for help.

I always thought that admitting I needed help meant I was weak, that I wasn’t strong enough to handle something on my own. I have learned though, that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Admitting that I needed help meant that I was strong enough to be vulnerable with others, something that in my opinion takes much more strength than ignoring the tough stuff. Everyone needs help sometimes, it doesn’t make you weak, it means you are human. 

Recovery has loosened the vines that held me hostage for too long and allowed me to gain something even better than control, freedom. I am continually becoming the most authentic version of myself, flaws and all.

To those who are currently struggling: life isn’t a competition of who can suffer in silence the longest, you deserve to be happy. Asking for help can be difficult, but living a life suffocated by the vines of your struggles is much harder. Let people in, and with them a way out.