My ED Story
Because I’ve never really gone into it on here & I know I’ve got a large group of people who have an ED / are recovering from one that follow me. Plus, I’m trying this awesome thing called not being ashamed of my past anymore. It’s hard, but I think it’s worth it. (& I’m sick of people creeping me online to find out this stuff, so you might as well hear it from me straight instead of assuming everything.) I guess you could say this will just be a slightly longer version of what I had submitted to Stop Hating Your Body.
[Could Trigger, general numbers, behaivours, ect - just to be safe]
Growing up I never had a great body image. When I was in kindergarten other parents would comment on how tiny I was, & one of my fathers favourite nicknames for me was stick legs - but I never remember agreeing with it. I always thought they were lying to me just to make me feel better about myself. When my father died a few weeks before I turned eight, I stopped eating for a few days, then on the day of his funeral I started purging for the first time. I would puke, eat, puke some more - it made me feel better, if just a little bit. I didn’t have to go to the funeral because I was ‘sick’, & the day after I started eating again as if nothing ever happened.
When I was twelve I came down with mono - hell, basically. For nearly a month my throat was too swollen to eat anything solid. The only things I could drink were gatorade & my mother frozen slimfast shakes, so my just over 100lb frame dropped nearly twenty pounds. I started literally dreaming of food, & when I finally could eat again I went crazy & started overeating. (Starvation will do that to you!) Looking back it, I might have been diagnosed as having binge eating disorder because I was always depressed too, but who knows now. By the time I was fourteen I had added nearly 70lbs to my post-mono body. Around the same time my body always came up for family debate, always being put down for my body, always being called this-&-that.. even though I actually liked my body despite the weight. But all the put downs started making me doubt, & even hate it.
I went on my first diet when I was thirteen, amidst all the overeating. My mother started Atkins & asked if I wanted to try it too, so I did. & it worked, but then I started overeating again. Then the slimfast diet followed, followed by my own self-imposed salad diet. None of it stuck. At fourteen, after going to a shopping mall & buying a new tshirt, I came home to put the shirt on & it didn’t fit. It was tight & uncomfortable, & for the first time I started crying & berating myself for my body. I ripped off the shirt, & threw myself into bed crying myself to sleep, refusing dinner.
After that I started restricting meals here & there. The summer I turned sixteen I upped the restricting, eating part of a meal a day - never a full meal. A few months later I started fasting for a few days at a time, but then it would normally be followed by a few ‘normal’ eating days. Once I got the stomach flu, & I actually cried from excitement at all the weight I’d lose.
The summer I turned seventeen I was only eating a day or two a week, & even then I was staying below 300 calories most of the time. That summer I went to Warped Tour after not eating for four days, & I ended up passing out. It was the first of manymany wake up calls - but as much as it scared me, I didn’t care.
My senior year of high school started off with me never eating in front of anyone - I’d only drink water at lunch, & I made it a point for no one to see my actually eat food, refusing anything that was put in front of me. I started dating a guy pretty soon into the year, & he didn’t even see me eat until we had been together for two months - & even then it was only a couple of crackers. He was the first boyfriend I had that knew about the ED, & he encouraged me constantly & actually made me feel like I didn’t need to starve because for the first time in my life someone actually made me feel beautiful. For awhile even though I still had periods of restricting, I was finally eating more normally than I had in a few years. (I like to think of this as my first semi-recovery period.)
As graduation came up & I got my first job, I stopped caring. The week before prom I fasted, making my prom dress too big for me when it had previously fit perfect, & I did the same before graduation making my pants slide down the entire graduation walk. (Thank God for those robes!) For the first time in nearly a year I had no one to hold me accountable everyday & I took advantage of it - the only time I would eat was when I was with my boyfriend, & even then it wasn’t much. That August I started binging, although I kept it secret. It became a running joke with people that I wouldn’t eat out with everyone, but on my way home I’d go to the gas station & buy a huge bag of ‘junk’ foods - but it was because I would binge / purge as soon as I got home. As soon as I started b/p’ing my depression got worse, & I even started self-injuring.
On our one year, my boyfriend told me how worried he was getting because of all the weight I was losing, & even told me that I was looking fragile - such a horrible thing to say because it fed into what I wanted. I lived & breathed that word for months afterwards, using it as motivation to lose even more. Shortly after that, we broke up & I stopped eating. It was easy. I went back to only eating a couple of days a week & the weight kept falling off. My depression got even worse, so I decided to start seeing a T again (I had gone through periods of seeing them off & on) & get put on anti-depressants / anti-anxieties. They helped pull me out of my depression, but I think that also helped put me back into b/p’ing. Eventually I started taking laxatives, diuretics, & diet pills to help purge, too. But it still wasn’t enough.
At my worst point when it came to all the pills, I was tripling the doses of anti-anxieties I was supposed to take, doubling the anti-depressants most nights, & taking up to twenty laxatives, 10 diuretics, & five diet pills.. nightly. I was taking over fourty pills most nights & I’m suprised I didn’t end up dead.. but I did OD twice. The shakes, puking, hot flashes, nearly blacking out.. those two nights I thought I really fcked up & was going to end up dead. But when morning came & I was still alive, I did my nightly routine all over again. My T after noticing the weightloss, told me to start drinking Ensure even if that’s all I would take in, but she was VERY detrimental to my ED & always fed into it. She had no idea what she was doing.
Then in March ‘09 I ended up in the ER from what I was told was a ‘possible but no proven’ heart attack. (How they couldn’t prove that is beyond me!) It was the final wakeup call that I needed & I started looking into treatment not long afterwards. A couple weeks later I spent a week having incredibly horrible joint pain, & when it came to the point where I couldn’t even bend my joints without wanting to cry I went back to the ER to a VERY unsympathetic doctor & found out that my potassium levels were low (low potassium = heart attack risk) & that I had arthritis on top of it all. Things kept going downhill, & I ended up hitting my lowest weight - my original ‘goal’ weight. (& it still wasn’t good enough.)
The first week of June I admitted myself into the River Centre Clinic & stayed there until October. I didn’t do as great as everyone there thought I was doing because I wasn’t as honest as I should have been, but I wasn’t doing bad either. After leaving I was fine for a few months, but I relapsed on Christmas & got even worse than I had been right before I went to treatment. I struggled until the end of March ‘10 - & I can say I’ve been symptom free since!
I know that in reality, even though I’ve been symptom free for 16 months, that there’s always the chance for a relapse. I know that the reality is that I’m going to have to worry about relapse for the rest of my life. Even though that’s scary, all I can do is keep trying my best everysingleday, & remind myself that even if I do end up caving in to ED at some point, that I’ve made it this far & I can always start again & make it even longer next time.
Recovery is all about learning to trust your body & yourself. I’m so glad that I’ve learned to do both.