A friend of mine in my single's ward mentioned today that "you never realize how fragile life is until it is broken".

After hearing this, it caused me to look back on moments in my life when the very ground I stood on seemed to collapse below me. The winter of my Junior year was definitely one of the darkest and hopeless times of my life. My reality of being 129 lbs. and "beautiful" was completely gone. I had focused my life, my goals, and happiness around a number; once it changed, who I thought I was shattered before my eyes.

I attempted to piece my emotions back together by using food as "glue" to contain my inner-self. For brief moments during binges, I felt happy. I was carefree. Of course my insecurities never left, but for a moment I was distracted from who I was and what I was doing. I was a broken individual for a long time. I tried my hardest to keep up appearances and to plaster a smile on my face. I guess I didn't want to shatter whatever image those around me had of who I was or used to be either.

Harder times came whenever I would relapse and go back into my self-destructive habits. My vision of progress would disappear and the ugly reality I had been living would resurface. One experience that almost crushed the remaining shards of my existence happened during a choir trip to San Francisco this past spring.

I thought that I had finally reached a level point in my life. I knew I was still walking a tightrope, but I felt I was finally balancing my cravings and the disorder.  On one of the last nights of our trip, my choir friends decided to go swimming in the hotel pool. I was so ashamed of my body that I didn't even bring a swimsuit with me on the trip. So, while everyone was out having fun, I locked myself in a room. I ended eating not only my food, but the food of my roommates as well. I felt so sick afterwards, spiritually and physically. I was embarrassed that I had stooped so low as to steal other people's food. I was mad that I was so weak after all of the progress I had made. I was lost on what I should do, and how I should feel. I eventually broke down and left our hotel room to cry on the outside staircase. It was terrible night.

I called my mom for help, and I think that if I hadn't I would still be in a mess today. As I was sobbing to her over the phone, she listen to my fears, my complaints and my tears. One thing she said still sticks out to me to this day. After I finished telling her what had happened, she said, "Alyson, this isn't you". Although I was still upset over what had happened, that comment had been an answer to my silent prayers that night. I was scared that I had become an eating disorder. However, I knew my mom was right. I was person, I had values, and I had worth; an eating disorder wouldn't ever be able to change my soul.

I wish I could say this instance was my last bingeing episode, but it wasn't. It took months after my trip to San Francisco to pick myself up and feel confident in my progress again.  Although I haven't had a "true" binge since June of this year, I'm still fragile and I'm still broken.

I've decided that this is one of the hardest battles I am ever going to face in my life.

But in the end, I won't be the damsel in distress...I'm going to be the hero.

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