Controlled: A Guest Blog Post by Neesha Arter

When I was fourteen years old, I struggled with anorexia after being sexually assaulted by two people I had no reason to mistrust. My ordinary teenage life went from volleyball practice and sleepovers to an unwanted legal case and loss of identity.

This blog post is written by Neesha Arter, a survivor of an eating disorder as well as sexual abuse.

neesha arter

When I was fourteen years old, I struggled with anorexia after being sexually assaulted by two people I had no reason to mistrust. My ordinary teenage life went from volleyball practice and sleepovers to an unwanted legal case and loss of identity. In my memoir, CONTROLLED, which comes out on August 11th, I write about how these challenges consumed my life.

For me, it was never a matter of being skinny or fat—anorexia was the remnant of my sexual assault and a vehicle to satisfy my wish to simply disappear. Fourteen is already an age where you don’t seem to know anything about the world. In many ways, losing my innocence made me lose my identity entirely. I couldn’t figure out if I was a teenager anymore or an adult. I thought it I could look like a child again, I could be the perfect little girl I used to be before that night happened. However, I learned after months of starvation, numbers, and calories that I had only lost myself more.

I am now 24 years old and after ten years, I have learned that perfection does not exist. But I’ve also learned that you can’t get to the other side on your own. I now know how hard it is on family and friends to watch someone they love suffer and I wish I had confided in them more at the time.

No matter how dark things seem to be, they can always turn around. I believe in second chances and giving them to yourself. I know the hardest thing in the world can be forgiving yourself for whatever it may be, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned in the past decade was how to be my own best friend.

I give a very honest account of my eating disorder in CONTROLLED, which I hope helps anyone who can relate to my story. A dear friend of mine told me during the publication process that I should focus less on it all being perfect and in the end, focus more on liking myself. And the truth is, no one is perfect. I will always be a perfectionist and have flaws but it’s all learning.

I now know that the power doesn’t lie in killing yourself, but it lies in letting yourself live.

If you are interested in reading Neesha Arter’s eye-opening book, you can now order it off Amazon.com. Just click here!

I’m Back Home!

No longer could I eat meals comprised of my “safe” foods, eat at the times I preferred, or isolate myself from others. If I wanted to not only survive during this 6 day challenge, I had to let go of my obsession with control and break free from the chains that have been holding me back for so many years.

Two weeks ago today, I was dropped off at UW-Oshkosh with a suitcase, a fan, and a heart filled with worry. For the next 144 hours I would be one of two delegates representing my high school at Badger Girls State, an intense program meant to immerse young women in the complex science of American government.  The program was both physically and emotionally demanding. Every girl was expected to wake up at the crack of dawn, dress to the nines, and then proceed to drag to their sleep-deprived bodies to meetings that lasted well into the night.  On top all this, I had my own set of challenges I had to overcome. No longer could I eat meals comprised of my “safe” foods, eat at the times I preferred, or isolate myself from others. If I wanted to survive this 6 day challenge, I had to let go of my obsession with control and break free from the chains that have been holding me back for so many years.

With sheer determination, I not only survived Badger Girls State, but I thrived. I meant girls who were nothing short of amazing and who will probably be my friends for many years to come.

In this video, I explain my experience in greater detail and I hope my experience will give you the strength to also overcome your challenges and live the life you were born to live.

Taking selfies with the governor (he's still not getting my vote after what he's done to our schools)
Taking selfies with the governor (he’s still not getting my vote after what he’s done to our schools)
I was chosen to be POPPY PRINCESS!
I was chosen to be POPPY PRINCESS!
Acting silly during a LONG county meeting!
Acting silly during a LONG county meeting!