The Pressure of Succeeding

The Pressure of Succeeding

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer – but as I grew older, the pressure to excel in ballet dancing led to bulimia, an eating disorder.

18 Aug, 2022

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer – but as I grew older, the pressure to excel in ballet dancing led to bulimia, an eating disorder. I'd go days without eating, and when I finally do eat, I consume a lot and force myself to vomit everything I ate. I was so conscious of my weight because, as a ballet dancer, your body is everything. I'd spend hours staring at the mirror looking for any excess fat. My academic performance plummeted because I spent more time practicing for ballet rehearsals, counting calories, and worrying about my weight. I became so dangerously underweight at age 16 that I had to be hospitalized for a while. I hated every minute I spent in the hospital because they kept trying to regulate my weight. By the end of my stay in the hospital, I was told I had to seek therapy—I wasn't well.

I skipped therapy a couple of times because I felt such precious time should be spent practicing. I needed to debut by age eighteen, and I didn't see how therapy would help me with that. So, I kept switching between skipping meals and overeating. As God would have it, I suffered a serious ankle injury during a rehearsal, and I was out for months. During the time I spent recuperating, I had no option but to attend therapy. My therapist was patient enough to listen to me throw tantrums. She related to me as a friend, and by the third month, I began to see the signs I ignored for so long. I had to pick between my health and ballet, so I made the difficult decision of quitting. I won't lie, it was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make, but also the best I've made. I focused more on school and slowly tackled my unhealthy obsession with fame. I won't say I am no longer competitive; that would be a lie, but I now recognize the signs before they start to affect my overall health.

 

Sandra Young

England.