Hello and welcome to Threads of Well Being! My name is Melissa and I started ToWB to share my experience of getting healthy mind, body, and soul.
When I was growing up, I was always considered big boned. My sister and friends were always a bit smaller than me and I didn’t really notice or care about it until I was in middle school and was being teased. At the early age of 13, I became bulimic. I would binge eat a huge meal and then feel horrible about myself and go throw up. Thank goodness this only lasted about 3 months.
It was around that time when I developed PTSD from a very traumatic event, that no girl should have to go through. I was date raped by a much older teenaged boy. It took me 2 years to muster up the courage to tell my family. It went unreported and I still kick myself to this day for not doing something about it. I started what became years of therapy and when I was going through high school, I absolutely hated every second of it.
In high school I slowly started packing on pounds. I was active in cheerleading and dance so the weight didn’t show until my senior year when I weighed 200 pounds. My mood and
behavior was all over the place. I lost a lot of my friends due to erratic and inconstant moods. At that time I didn’t believe in anything and I was hopeless. I was admitted into a mental health hospital to help with some of my erratic behavior issues and from there I learned to love therapy.
I graduated high school and couldn’t wait to get out of my suburb and start my life over at Texas Christian University. I made a promise to my family that I would study
hard and really take care of myself by going to the gym. My family knew how much I hated how I looked and tried to empower me to make a lifestyle change. My freshman year I broke that promise to my family, decided to stop taking my medicine I was prescribed, and slept everyday instead of going to class. I also gained the “freshman 15” but in my case was the “freshman 50”.
I started sophomore year realizing that I would pay for my freshman year by tacking on a 5th year to an already expensive school. My parents were not thrilled at all. That year I heard the statistic that 1 and 4 rape victims would be raped again. That scared me to the point where I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food.
I was majorly depressed again and was contemplating dropping out of college. I decided to admit myself to a mental hospital and turn things around. I was prescribed new medicine, was diagnosed with bipolar II, gained new tools to help me when the going was tough, and finally had a better grasp on my depression. I however still had a very intense relationship with food and was eating more and more everyday.
My junior year started and I finally made some good friends that I knew I could rely on when I was feeling down. They became my support system and are now some of my best friends. I was living in my sorority’s house for the second year and turned 21.
I ordered a large pizza almost every night and ate it by myself. That year also started my unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I would drink heavily, but because I weighed so much I wouldn’t get drunk. It took about a full bottle of hard liquor for me to feel tipsy. That didn’t stop me from drinking a ton almost every other weekend.
My drinking only got worse. It was my first senior year and I lived in an apartment with two of my sorority sisters. I also finally had a car so I could drive to school and get to and from clinical. It got to the point where I was drinking a whole bottle of wine by myself about 2-3 times a week. For awhile I would throw the bottles away to hide my alcohol problem from my roommates. I also was able to drive to fast food. I would order at least 20 dollars of fast food per meal. I was getting bigger and bigger.
At my final senior year I started to go to therapy again and really worked on myself and my triggers for my mood swings and depression. I still had a very unhealthy diet and drank a lot. I thought I was fine but in the inside I knew my body was screaming for help. My final semester of TCU I was going out to drink and eat bar food almost
every night. I still ate fast food for lunch everyday and was still trying to hide my unhealthy eating habits from my roommates. But who was I kidding, they knew. I reached a point in my mental health where I was happy, and to me my mental health was all that mattered. I finally graduated feeling very accomplished that I finished college and moved back home. At my graduation I weighed about 285 pounds.
The next year I spent trying to find a job and became the unemployed graduate with a bachelors degree statistic. I was so down on myself and I had become so lazy, careless, and ungrateful. It was at home where I weighed my heaviest at 292 pounds. I quickly started therapy, found a new psychiatrist and worked on my mental health again. It wasn’t until I took a trip to India to visit a school started by a great non-profit that I had found my first big girl job.
I worked for the non-profit and moved to India in June of 2015. I learned a lot about myself and developed an unhealthy relationship with food again. Instead of eating too much, I wasn’t eating at all. I went from one extreme to another. I was so unhealthy that I was passing out and I eventually was sent home. I was supposed to be there for a year, but only ended up being there for 5 months. I came home was forced into a career path I wasn’t passionate about, living at my parent’s house, and was miserable.
During one of my session with my therapist, she suggested that I work with kids who have been through similar issues. She thought I had a lot to offer kids who were put into traumatic events. I applied to a few places in San Diego and ended up at a group home being a child care worker. I was working with foster youth and loving every second of my job. I had found my passion and my niche. I always knew I wanted to work with kids, and I finally found the right medium and population.
My whole life had become my work and my students. I had a hard work schedule of weekends on the PM swing shift. Because I moved back to San Diego after college, I found that I missed my friends I left and the friends I had in San Diego had all moved on. I had my lifelong friends who I could get together with every once in awhile, but that wasn’t enough. I was missing my friends in Texas.
After being with my company for 9 months, I found a job to be a live in youth care specialist at a company in Fort Worth, TX. I applied, interviewed, and was offered the job. I had enough experience, I knew I loved working with foster youth, and I knew I wanted to live closer to my friends I left behind. I left San Diego on October 19th with my car packed to the brim and took the 2 day drive. I will start training on November 1st and I am really excited about this new chapter.