Learning to cope without my eating disorders
My problems with food started when I was 9 years old. I was kinda a bigger girl and started to “diet” but I could never do it, and would end up binging every afternoon. That was the time I also went through puberty, so that didn’t help matters with the weight gain, and since I was so young, none of my friends bodies were changing, which made me feel “different”. I was also bullied around that time.
The ‘trying to diet and binging’ kept going until I was mid way through grade 9. I was getting into lots of trouble at school, and I kept trying to behave but I couldn’t, so I thought ‘If I can’t behave how I want to, then maybe I can be good at something and control my food and weight.’ I dramatically dropped my food intake. After about 6 wks into this new ‘diet’ I knew something was wrong. It was somehow different from the other times. I knew I couldn’t break my ‘dieting plan’ and had no intentions so do so and became really obsessed about food and my weight. In 6 months I lost a great deal of weight and got to my ‘goal weight’.
I started eating healthily again, but something else just bought me back down. Basically I was the cause for a huge family breakdown. My Grandparents wrote me a 3 page letter telling me how much they hated me and had done so since I was 5 yrs old. This was a huge shock to me, and the only way I knew how to deal with it was to continue not eating and lose weight. By concentrating on food and weight I was able to block out everything around me. While I am grateful for my parents and brother for sticking by my side around this issue and stopping contact with my Grandparents it was extremely hard knowing that I was the cause of them losing their relationship with my Grandparents.
I knew something was wrong with my eating though, and so did my Mom. She took me to my GP, who sent me to a counselor. On the second time I saw her she put me in the hospital. I was there for 1 month and spent my 15th Birthday in there. I actually nearly died in there one night when my heart rate got into the low-mid 30s and they called the Doctors in at 2am. When I got out of the hospital things just got worse and I thought I had to ‘make-up’ for what I was forced to eat in the hospital. They strictly concentrated on my food intake and increasing my weight, but none of the mental or emotional issues surrounding it. So I just got worse.
Six months later I was due to go to an Eating Disorder clinic, but I really didn’t want to go. I REALLY thought I was fat and that everyone else there would be so much thinner than I was, and I shouldn’t be there. So I tried to end my life, except I ended up in the hospital and was sent to a different clinic.
This time, in the hospital I was officially diagnosed with anorexia, depression and OCD.I hated it in the hospital. I just didn’t think I should be there. The other patients didn’t allow my recovery to happen so smoothly either. It became a competition who could eat the least, who could put on the smallest amount of weight, who could tamper with their ‘feeds’ the longest without the nurses noticing. I was also subjected to things I had never seen before, surrounding self-harm. This is where I learned ‘ideas’ which were in fact detrimental to my recovery. After 3 months of being medicated, seeing a counselor and dietician every day, and putting on 24 pounds through Tube feeding I was discharged.
When I came home it was hard. By not eating I was ‘dealing’ with everything. But when they made me eat and put on weight I felt they took that away from me, so I used food in the other way and started to binge eat, and ended up putting all of the weight on that I originally lost, plus more within 6 months coming out of the hospital! For the next one and a half years I was in-and-out of the hospital due to depression and suicidality.
I lost all of my friends during that time. And since I was in the hospital so much during grades 11 and 12, I missed a lot of school and had to finish with the people who were a year behind me. I didn’t make any friends. This was a constant reminder that I was sick and that nobody liked me throughout my whole life.
There are a few people who are responsible for my recovery, and ultimately me still being here today: My family, in particular my Mom, my GP who I saw every wk for 3 yrs, my teacher and Reach Out. I also saw a number of counselors during this time but due to seeing so many people for only a short amount of time, I didn’t really get anywhere.
I am currently on to my 8th counselor who I really like and can see we are really going to get somewhere! I think it helps being a bit better when going into counseling as you are more prepared and able to change. I’m off to college next yr to study Psychology, and to start my life over, with people who hopefully won’t hate me (which should be easier, with me not hating myself anymore) and who don’t know anything about me!