Dealing with Anorexia Ten Years On
Can people with an eating disorder ever be truly better?
Hello, first of all, thank you for taking the time and reading my story. It's one of the first times I have told it to people I don't know, but over the last ten years of pain and embarrassment, I am no longer afraid to discuss something that has impacted my life so greatly. In fact, my illness has become a huge part of who I am and changed how I view the world for the better I feel. It's taught me about compassion and to understand illness you can not see.
Okay, let's begin... here's my story;
When I was 14, a month shy of 15, I started to lose weight, stay away from food, and at the worst point, be completely scared of food. I would dress myself in the biggest hoodies I could find along with multiple tops underneath. I was completely unaware what was wrong with me or why, I was just putting it down to being a teenager and assumed it was like a mood swing, as silly as that sounds now.
On the eve of my 15th birthday, my mother took me shopping and bought me an XS jumper. When I tried it on it hung off me, this was the first time anyone but me noticed. Still nothing was done I managed to talk everyone out of it, somehow.
Then a few months later came the time to buy a dress for prom, this was my give away. The smalles t dress in the shop didn't fit me so they took my measurements to take it in. The issue arose when they kept having to take my dress in three times before prom started.
This change in my prom dress lead to my mother telling me I should put some weight on and be around 9 stone for my height, 5 foot 6. I balled my eyes out screaming that I didn't want to be fat. I see now how crazy that is. What most people never understood was I never thought anyone that was 9 stone or above was fat at all, it just wasn't the weight for me.
I was weighed and this is when I realised over the course of 7 months I had gone from 11st 2 pounds to 6 stone 5 pounds. These numbers will forever be burnt into my brain. The lowest I got was 5 stone.
Over the next year, it was a battle. One I was determined to win. Constant arguments, hiding food, and hiding my waist line. Tears over the fear of my death whilst I had no feelings towards the doomed fact. In fact, I remember thinking "at least I'll die thin." This illness has somehow managed to divide the family and I was under constant supervision until one day my mother could take no more. With a heavy heart, she took me to the doctors and I was sent to a specialised hospital in Riverdale.
I was one of the youngest there and after seeing the other patients, I refused to accept how far I had come. I wasn't like them. I was fine.
Only after a few months in the hospital when I was finally put on body image therapy did I start to see. One of the main exercises was to out pine how big you thought a body part was with string and then to place the string around the body part. I couldn't deny any sort of trick to this. It was after this I realised I was missing my childhood, school, and all of my friends. I tried to get better. After only two sessions of body therapy, I was told I was fine.
After going to a specialised hospital and having years of therapy on and off I was classed as "cured;" they told me it was due to the death of my grandma, my idol when I was 13. That's when I learned to accept then I would be "normal" again.
Ten years on I still have constant, periodical battles with food, weight, and self-image and have constantly yoyoed in weight. However never to be as low as 6 stone luckily, I say luckily a little bitter. This is what makes me question, can we ever be cured, or is it hard wired into people?
Any thoughts or similar experiences please let me know.
I have grown up to find a lot more people suffer from an eating disorder and mental illness than I first thought. People who I look at and wonder why did they ever dislike themselves. It's a strange thing looking in from the outside.