A lot of people know and have read the long, long story that I wrote a while back about my eating disorder, but I never got into the graphic details about it. I was asked to summarize my eating disorder for my friend who is doing a project on anorexia/bulimia and I’d like to share it on here. It’s shorter, more concise (I’m a lot older now and can . . . write a little bit better) and pretty detailed. I want to share this story because it illustrates how eating disorder patients are always still suffering, no matter how physically healthy they are.
I want to spread awareness. I want to show people why I have this tattooed on my body. Most of all, I want you to love the body you’re in and recognize all of the incredible things it can do for you.
I developed anorexia/bulimia when I was 17. One day I wanted to see how long I could go without eating and I felt so proud of myself after I did that. Eventually it turned into a habit and I went from 135 pounds to 105 pounds. I just hate (and still hate) my body type. I wanted —and still sort of want —to be skeletal. I wanted my clavicle and ribs to jut out and once it started doing that, I became so “happy.” I remember sitting with my friends at lunch and thinking I had so much will power because I was better than them for not eating. I ruined relationships with my family and turned into a liar. Anorexia turns you into a huge liar because you have to constantly lie about eating and purging. I remember purging in the shower and in the woods in my backyard. I would bring a toothbrush to school and purge there in the bathroom after lunch. My family didn’t live with me anymore. They lived with an eating disorder.
I stole laxatives from my mom and abused them all the time. I took so many laxatives every day. I only ate soft foods (ice cream, jello) so that they would come up easier. I was so thin and I felt high from starvation. It literally gave me so much euphoria. Temporary euphoria, that is. I would always go home to a brokenhearted family who watched their daughter wither away. I remember my dad, my stoic, unemotional, callous correctional officer of a father came up to my room, hugged me as I laid in bed, and just bawled his eyes out.
But that didn’t stop me from starvation.
I was obsessed with myself. I loved my new body. I threw out all of my clothes so my mom would buy me smaller clothes. She drove me two hours to therapy and the doctors every day and I always lied to them. Always told them I would get better and that I wanted to get better, but I wouldn’t.
So my starving and purging went on for two years, on and off. I finally started to make real improvement when I got to college and joined cross country. When you run as much as I do, you’re forced to feed yourself, and running pretty much saved me and my body. Running forced me to eat and I remembered how much I loved food. College and running, and an incredible support system out at college really saved me.
But did I recover? Well . . . physically I have. Mentally, no. I don’t think eating disorder patients ever fully recover. I will always hate my body. I try crazy diets all the time and sometimes go days where I starve myself because I miss the “high” that I get. I drink and eat too much fiber on purpose because I miss what laxatives did for me. I binge and sometimes I even make myself throw up. I still hate my body and think I am morbidly obese, and a lot of it has to do with the pressure society has put on me. I wish I didn’t hate my body and it breaks my parents’ hearts to see their daughter hate the way she looks and I wish I didn’t but I do.
And a lot of people feel exactly like I do.