With a few months of treatment under my belt, I could see the road to the lacrosse season becoming clearer. I had accepted the fact that I had missed my senior season of winter track and therefore just needed to work ahead towards what mattered most to me. I was becoming more open with my friends about what was going on outside of school and they took notice of how I, physically and emotionally, was getting better.
Color was returning to my face. My pants were becoming a little less baggy, and I was beginning to smile more like that “old Sydney” did. I wasn’t getting cold at school anymore, and I was excited to eat the lunches that my mom had made for me. Honestly, I don’t even want to know the number of grilled chicken and whole wheat wraps that I ate! But anyway, I came to school everyday more excited to see everybody, knowing that I was more focused on my schoolwork than working out and fixating on what was going into my body.
I was doing much better in all my classes, and I was hanging out with my friends during my free time a lot more than I had ever in the beginning of the year. I became even closer with my boyfriend and friends, as I was able to hang out with them without being anxious or worried the entire time. In terms of the status of my health, my weight was getting closer to what the doctors thought as point where my “switch” would turn back on. We, as a medical team, decided that exercise at this point would only be lacrosse practices with no other additional exercise like I used to do. Although the doctors’ goal was to really get me physically and mentally prepared to lead a healthier life again, I was primarily looking to have the okay to join my team for a week spring break lacrosse trip. At this point I wasn’t even in it for the activity but just to be with my teammates.
The time had come for the lacrosse trip, and I was ecstatic that I would be going. However, joining my team came with certain conditions. One of my coaches that I had become extremely close with was in charge of monitoring my food intake, and if she saw that it was not sufficient, I would be taken out of practice. My mom was very worried given we would be exercising upwards of three times a day, and I had not been exposed to this level of activity for a very long time. Although mentally I had some ups and downs, the trip was a success! I was playing better than I had ever before, and I had the best time I could have ever had with my teammates. I came home excited to show my mom how well I had done without her for a week and so excited for my friends to see how far I had come. I was proud to show my coach and teammates how far I had come and how strong I was beginning to become both inside and out.
In addition to lacrosse season, prom was coming up and we know what that means! A time of extreme stress about body image and all around looks. To say I was completely comfortable wearing a tight black dress is definitely not true but I was feeling pretty good in my own skin. Despite a panic attack a week before the event, I was good to go with how I would dress, do my hair, my makeup and everything else that comes with Senior Prom.
The panic attack was much different from what I had experienced before. Given that I was exercising more than I had in the past three months, my body was beginning to feel that sense of hunger again, and therefore I was eating more. Nonetheless, my mind was not fully prepared for this greater intake, and consequently I freaked out a little. Although this was the case, I pacified my feelings after 10 minutes and realized how well I was doing. I was lucky to be wearing this dress and lucky to be going to this once in a life time event with a great boyfriend and supportive friends.
The day of prom had arrived, and all we could think about was getting ready for the big night. I do remember that I did workout the morning of ,because I knew I would not have practice later. (As will be for the rest of my life, certain aspects of the disorder did not go away and will never fade away.) I spent the rest of the day talking with my friends all about how we would do our hair and makeup. I hadn’t had this feeling for a while. I was enjoying something thoroughly with my friends, and I was excited for something other than exercising, playing lacrosse, or restricting my foods. After a few hours of preparation, my entire outfit was complete and my mom and friends looked at me in awe. A girl who was basically skin and bones a couple of months earlier, now was confidently wearing a tight black dress, looking stronger and healthier than ever! I was proud to completely fill out a dress and I really did feel pretty. To say that I was mentally 100% that night is not true. As you can imagine, the food looked amazing and smelled amazing, but I really wasn’t ready to publicly take that step yet. I still went for the un-sauced proteins and vegetables, but I was eating with my friends like I had only done a few times before!
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