My eating disorder journey starts over 10 years ago. I was a sophomore in college when I was officially diagnosed, but my story starts a few years before that. I remember crying in the doctors office at my annual physical right before senior year of high school started. I was at my highest weight and honestly it was a number I never expected to see (granted, it wasn’t even that high of a number). I immediately broke down and started to think of ways to lose weight and get back down to a number I was comfortable seeing on the scale.
What started out as an innocent diet to lose a couple pounds, spiraled into a battle for control and eventually an eating disorder I never thought I’d have. I was the girl who always said “I could never have an eating disorder, I love food too much” – which was (and still is) true – I LOVE FOOD. But that’s the thing. An eating disorder isn’t about THE FOOD, it’s a MENTAL disorder that completely overwhelms your thoughts, which then overtakes your actions.
My first episode of anorexia happened during my sophomore year of college. I had been dieting since my senior year of high school, and each year, and eventually each month, the amount of calories I consumed daily dropped lower and lower and lower. I had become addicted to the control, to the restraint I was able to have and to the results I was getting from dropping the weight. And yes, I was losing weight, which most people consider “healthy”, until it goes too far. Until it leads to sleeping 15 out of the 24 hours a day, being too weak to exercise, but pushing through it anyway because you’d gain weight if you stopped. At this point, my weight loss was extremely UNHEALTHY and something needed to be done. I finally spoke up (the most important thing you can do when you’re suffering) and notified my parents that something was wrong, and I NEEDED HELP! I worked with a psychologist and dietitian for the next 8 months to reverse the damage I had done – to my body and to my brain. It was hard as hell to work through, and every single part of my body was resistant at first – but I eventually “recovered” and was back to normal – or so I thought.
Fast forward a few years – I’m out of college, living in Houston (where my boyfriend, now husband also lived) and working full time. I was 23 years old when my husband proposed and when the second episode of my anorexia began. The pressures of the wedding, family drama that surrounded the wedding, as well as trying to navigate adulthood had me craving the control that my eating disorder once gave me. And of course, I needed to diet to fit into my wedding dress and look my “best” on the big day. So – the cycle began again – what started out as a way to lose just a few pounds eventually led to losing 25-30 pounds and myself. I was addicted to exercise, I counted the calories of every single bite of food that went into my body, I pinched and pulled at every little ounce of fat I could find and was never satisfied with the way I looked. The obsession was affecting my relationship with my husband, my friends, my family and almost every aspect of my life. But I just couldn’t let go – I had to be the thinnest one in the room, the girl who ate the least amount at dinner and the one who could exercise the longest and the hardest.
After stepping on a scale one morning (as I did every single morning) I saw a number I, again, had never seen before. However, this time, I was at the other end of the spectrum. My weight had dropped to the lowest I had ever seen it. The logical, non ED side of my brain SCREAMED at me and said its time to get help again! I knew that part of me was right – and I took the GIANT step to call my psychologist (who I hadn’t seen in years since my frist episode) and schedule an appointment to start the recovery journey again.
I’ve been seeing her and a dietitian for the last 3 years and taking that step to recovery a few years ago was the best decision I could have made. My recovery journey has been anything but linear, and certainly has not been easy – but it has been WORTH IT! All the ups and downs, all of the almost relapses, all of the work I’ve put in to change the way my mind works around control, food and exercise – they’ve led me to where I am today. I am on the road to being 100% recovered from this horrible disorder and I AM LOVING LIFE! I have rediscovered my passions, I’ve been able to work towards my goals and have loved my family and friends deeper than I ever have! Life without ED is so much more beautiful and life with ED is something I NEVER want to go back to!
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