"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)


Melanie's Story

by Melanie Neergard
(Australia)

This is a long story, but it's worth the reading. It's a story of troubled beginnings and their consequences; of how the beginning does not determine the end.


STORY THEME: The Power of Thinking!

My Story

Growing up wasn't easy so easy. I grew up as an overweight child and my parents were drug addicts.

My mum was born in Denmark in Europe and my dad was born in Australia but they moved a lot before they had my sister and me. My parents had to feed their addiction; so even at a young age money was always tight.

Despite this, my parents never stopped loving us and food was always on the table.

In The Beginning...

I was born on September 29th 1992 at queen Elizabeth hospital. I was born with my feet twisted together. The nurses said physio would help and it did, so luckily I didn't end up in a wheelchair or anything.

I was a little wild child. I was labelled by doctors as having ADHD and I was always roaming getting into mischief. As a young girl I loved to perform and put on shoes and sing. I knew at this age this was something I wanted to do.


When I started school I was classified as someone with a low needs disability. So you could say at a young age I developed a sense of identity of how it is growing up with a disability and how society treats people with a disability.

I never thought I was good enough. I remember at the age of 4 at my pre school I thought I was the ugliest and dumbest person so I became anti social and ended up having no friends.

At four years old I already had low self esteem and developed anxiety. Also I believed if I had a disability, I wouldn't get anywhere in life. Also I was listening what society was telling me.


I was never popular at school. I was tall for my age and still had baby fat on me. I remember being physically and verbally bullied at a young age. I felt trapped and I didn't have the confidence to stick up for myself. I felt like I had no one to talk to. I didn't think my parents would understand because they had there own problems.

The bullying got worse and I became petrieved of going outside.

I stayed home a lot to hide my emotions. I became an emotional eater.
My weight got bigger and bigger in year six my weight ballooned to 138 kg and I was a size 26 to 28.

I was crowned as the biggest girl in my year. My clothes could fit anyone.
The bullies called me names like spastic, fat, whale... this has stigmatized me and the words still run around in my head today.

I felt they wanted to destroy my happiness I just couldn't understand how cruel they actually were.

By the end of high school I was an emotional wreck I tried suicide on so many occasions.


High school was the same: I had no friends; I was shy and insecure. I got pushed to the ground and attacked and ridiculed. I just wanted to run away and never come back but I knew I wanted an education.

I remember in PE, I always got sore knees and felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack.

School is supposed to be safe place, not a place where you feel trapped and feel scared of walking in your own footsteps, school was my worst nightmare.

My Teenage Years...

I remember at fourteen going into a fashionable clothes store and wanting to try something on.

When I entered the store I got told please leave the store, we don't cater for big people like you and sorry you stink. This really hurt my feelings. All I wanted to do was cry. I haven't been back to the store since.


Every year I was in and out of hospital with stomach issues. My weight was a huge problem and the way I was going I knew I was going to die.

When I turned fifteen I decided that today is the day I change my life around. So I joined the gym and dramatically changed my diet. When I first started I was so unfit, always despising myself, but the trainer's were so motivating.

For me losing weight is not just about looking healthy. It helps your mind and makes you feel positive about yourself. Before, I would look in the mirror, words running through my head "you're fat and ugly!", "you don't have the right to exist on this planet!". I knew I had to change this negative talk into positive talk like, "You can do this! I will do this! Its mind over matter!"


It was may 2007, I remember being weighed and dropped twenty kilos. I was so happy I only wanted to celebrate.

I could see my skin was improving and my brain function was improving. I was determined to become a happier healthier version of myself.

I started getting positive compliments, I could walk into a store and pick out a nice dress and it actually fitted me. I started to feel a million dollars, I knew I had to keep it up.

My sister no longer felt embarrassed of me. She could take me out and say this is my sister. So many years she couldn't do this she was embarrassed by me but now she was proud of me.


My YoYo Weight...

In a year, I went down to my goal weight 60 kg and down to a size 10, happy and healthy.

But this quickly changed. I started getting thoughts like was I beautiful and slim - if I could lose more weight.

In my head I thought I needed to lose more weight so I kept exercising harder and hardly eating anything. As I got more compliments about shedding weight I thought I would be more popular. I thought this was a good thing.

I set my goal weight at 45 kg which I know now this was really unrealistic. I wanted to be the skinniest girl in school. So I started exercising to exhaustion. I started throwing up my food and also started to self harm.
I would self harm in any way like cutting my arms with raisers, taking pills such as diet pills and Aspirin.


My life was a cycle of exercise, diet, calories, weighing myself, vomiting and self-harm - I had lost my value and identity.

After that, I moved on to purging. This stopped my periods for a year, my hair started falling out - I started getting mouth ulcers and complications with my stomach.

At school my teachers could see how thin I was. Once again I was getting attention for the wrong things. Not something a person should be proud about.

When my parents found out my Mum couldn't stop crying. All she could say is, "I'm going to lose my baby!"

Dad couldn't understand how this could happen.
  • I was in a black whole. Scared of anything I put in my mouth. When I ate an apple, I literally thought that I has put weight on from that.

  • I spent hours on the treadmill, beating myself up inside and out. I was in a big black whole that nobody could understood.

  • When I looked in the mirror, all I could see was a fat and ugly girl trapped inside a starving tortured woman.

I remember my dad cooking me a special meal. I was so anxious I knew it was going to be a battle.

When he served me the meal, I couldn't help it. I threw it on the ground. I could see the sadness in his eyes. That day, he lost his bright intelligent girl to someone who was nothing but the devil.

I didn't care what I was doing. Around me, I saw celebrities and models starving themselves to look thin. I knew it was killing me but I was afraid to give into temptation.


In The End... Hospital!

I remember in late 2011, taking a overdose on Aspirins and Mum rushed me to the hospital - I was lucky to be alive. I was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia and depression.

I was put into a clinic that specializes in mental health it was pretty scary at first, coming from a small town like Ballina there is only one place that helps people with mental health issues unlike places like Brisbane.

The nurse told me If I lost another 5 kg I would be dead.

I knew from that day I needed to change my life from there I made a agreement to recover.

It was so hard to start eating. I needed to care for myself - I started making a diary about motivation, positive quotes by others and myself.

I knew recovery could take a long time - sadly I have relapsed 6 times, and I never want to go back.


I now can go out with my friends and eat - I'm back to a healthy weight. My friends have stuck by me and love me for who I am.

There's day were I am like "I'm so ugly!" but I know this is not true - the devil likes to attack and destroy.

Today I am studying and I'm loving it. I have become an advocate for people with disabilities and mental health issues - everyone has the right to live life to the best of their abilities.


We Are ALL Beautiful Creatures...


We are destined for great things; we are beautiful and valued; we have a reason to live life.


I hope my story may help another who may be going through this to speak out about the issue you're going through. There is a better life waiting for you. I am a living proof.

I would like to go around to schools and help others.

We all are far more precious than gems, and our value is far above rubies and pearls. So believe it beautiful.

Melanie



STEVE NOTE:
The issue of eating disorders (discussed above) is beautifully discussed (by an ex-sufferer) on this page: Eating Disorders Explained

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