My sophomore year of high school was interesting, to say the least. I remember being happy that I was no longer a freshmen, but I didn't have much else to be happy about.
I was still counting calories at this point in time in an app on my iPod; however, I was also adding looking at and saving thinspo images to my phone and iPod into the mix of things. For those of you unfamiliar with what thinspo is, it is images of emaciated or extremely thin people to inspire others to lose weight. I found hundreds of these images on pro-eating disorder websites. Let me make it clear though that I did not think I had an eating disorder at this point in time. I found the content on the websites that I do not remember how I came across to be helpful to me simply because I thought I was fat and some of the websites offered rules or advice on how to restrict your food intake without others, like parents, noticing, how to sneak in extra exercise, what type of foods to avoid, and even how to fast completely and get away with it.
I looked at thinspo daily, it just became part of my daily routine. Any time I wanted to eat because I was hungry, I would pull up my secret file of thinspo and look at the images to remind me that if I ate, I could never look like the thin girls in the pictures. Keep in mind here that I was not by any means overweight; in fact, according to the growth charts at the doctor's office, I weighed less than most other 15-year-old girls that were my height.
Then came my 16th birthday, January 29, 2012. I remember worrying about every bite of food I took, but I didn't want to give away that I had been restricting, so I ate "normally" but vowed to myself that from that day on I would diet and restrict more than I had been before in order to lose a visible amount of weight.
After my 16th birthday I stuck to my vow to lose weight. Sure enough, my efforts worked. It look me just three weeks to lose more than ten pounds by practically starving myself, and by over-exercising. I was constantly cold; my feet would turn a blue-purple color without socks on. My mind was foggy most of the time, yet I still managed to do well in classes. I had a constant headache, my hair was falling out, my heart was skipping beats, and my skin was always dry. I also passed out twice after over-exercising.
This is when I started to get scared. I was tired of feeling so tired all of the time and was starting to come to the realization that if I kept doing the things I was, I could potentially die. The scariest part was that sometimes I actually wanted to die. Sometimes I found myself praying to God to take my life. I was exhausted and couldn't keep up with the crazy thoughts any longer.
The first person I contacted and told about what I had been doing was a former teacher from the art school I attended in 7th and 8th grade. She convinced me to talk to my high school counselor the next day.
From here, everything seemed to spiral, and very quickly. After telling my school counselor about my dieting, within a matter of a few weeks, I had told my mother, my mother then told my dad, and before I had time to digest what was happening, I was in therapy for anorexia. That's when I began self-harming. Two weeks after I had begun therapy for my eating disorder that I didn't think I had, I was packing up my things and being admitted into a treatment center for people with eating disorders.
In the picture above, you can see that my hair by my face was dry and falling out; I took some "good-bye" pictures with my dog and took them with me to the center to hang onto the wall by my bed.
Stay tuned for Amanda vs "Ana" Part 4 where I go into detail about living in a treatment center for seven weeks.