I’ve started this blog about 26 times.
Each time I start, I delete it because it doesn’t feel right. Usually when I write, I know what direction I want to go in or I know what’s been on my mind lately and I have somewhat of a plan as to what I want to talk about. For the past week, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve had several thoughts come and go and I’ve tried to form THIS thought several times and it hasn’t worked out. I guess part of me just doesn’t understand why I want to blog about this - it isn’t supposed to be talked about. But, alas, here I am.
The first time I remember trying to lose weight, I was 12 years old. I remember weighing myself and realizing I had lost 12 pounds. I was down to 122 pounds and I was thrilled. I was in the store with my dad and I told him how much weight I had lost. He congratulated me, and then told me to keep at it so I could lose more. I think that was the first time I felt like there was something wrong with me. For 12-year-old me, 12 pounds was a lot and weighing 122 pounds was incredible. I was proud. But, my father was right. 12 pounds wasn’t enough and 122 pounds wasn’t small enough for his 12-year-old, 5’3” daughter.
I didn’t hold on to that though. I didn’t obsess on it or change my life because of it. I didn’t do anything to try harder to lose weight, but I never forgot what he said. After all, my younger sister was 5’7” and weighed less than me. She’s always been tall with a slim frame and a confidence I’ve never had. She’s always been the pretty one. As I got older, I realized that I was being surpassed by my younger sister. More boys were interested in her and she had more friends than me. My dad liked her more because she was thin and was a good representation of the family. I wasn’t. I was a disappointment because I’m shorter and I’m bigger than she is. I probably always will be.
When I was about 15, I started restricting calories. For me, it was more so that I would fast and not eat anything for as long as I could. I didn’t REALLY calorie count, I just tried to not eat. That would work for a while but eventually I would get too hungry and I would submerge myself in piles of unhealthy food and sugar. There was no balance. I would either eat everything in sight, or I would eat nothing at all. So, guess what happened? The scale didn’t budge. I would also forget to weigh so my check-ins would be sporadic. I was never pleased with the results.
It was around this time that I met someone in an online community that was bulimic. I had never tried to make myself throw up and it was something I never DREAMED that I would do. I hated throwing up – why would I MAKE myself do that intentionally? Exactly. I wouldn’t. But the more I talked to the girl, the more curious I got. The deeper I dove into the community of disordered eating, the more intrigued I was. I didn’t know that my curiosity would lead me to a slippery slope that I would not come back from.
I remember one day in particular. At this point, I had tried to purge a few times with no success. I couldn’t get any food up. I would just gag and spit until I was tired. I knew the friend I had made knew how to do it, so I asked her. I told her I was having no success and I needed her help. For the life of me, I don’t know why she helped me. Maybe we were too young to think about damaging each other? Maybe she didn’t want to be alone in it? I don’t know. But she helped me. She told me how to do it. I was going to type out what she told me, but in the interest of not teaching a reader how to purge, I’ve decided not to.
That day, we went to Chick-fil-A. As I was trying to lose weight, I got a grilled chicken wrap instead of a sandwich and fries. I ate it and decided I was going to use the new tricks I learned to get rid of it after eating. It worked. It hurt, I didn’t get it all up, and I had scratched the back of my throat in the process. Was it really worth it? No. Did I keep doing it? Absolutely. This went on for a while and I eventually stopped. I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I kept up with that for maybe a year or two with just a few relapses in between.
The next time it got bad, I was 17 – almost 18. Each time I went back to these behaviors, the worse it got. This time, it was a mixture of both restricting and purging. I would go as long as I could without eating, then, when I had to, I would eat and throw it up. During this time, I once went 3 days without eating. I was sitting in my first class for the day and I knew I was about to pass out. I started to panic and I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I didn’t want to pass out in class. I walked to the teacher’s desk and asked if I could go see the nurse and told her I felt like I was going to pass out. I made my way to the nurse’s office and by the time I got there, most of my symptoms had died down. I went ahead and told her how I was feeling and they did some tests. I offered up the information about not eating because I knew I needed to eat or this would happen again. That was the first time I was lectured about eating.
The nurse threatened to call my mother and I asked her not to. I told her I had just been busy with the school musical and had been forgetting to eat. I told her I wasn’t thinking about it. She made me stay there and eat yogurt with berries and granola. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone that long without eating, but the first time eating after 3 days is very hard. It’s hard to stomach much of anything. I ate less than half of the yogurt and told her I was done. I physically couldn’t eat any more. She told me I needed to keep eating and I told her I couldn’t. She eventually let me go without finishing it. I knew from then on that I had to be more careful.
When I returned to class, my teacher asked what happened and I told her. She had protein bars in her desk and gave me one. She told me to eat it in my next class and to keep eating small amounts throughout the day. I took the protein bar, but I didn’t eat it in my next class. I shoved it in my bag to save it for the next time I felt like I was going to pass out so I wouldn’t have to go see the nurse again. I had to keep this a secret if I was going to keep going.
I don’t remember how long that cycle went on for. I don’t know when I started eating normally again. I do know that when I was 19, it happened again. Another cycle of the same thing. Restricting and purging. Only this time, it was even worse. I wasn’t keeping any food down and I barely ate anything outside of protein shakes and smoothies. I was dropping weight too. I was down to the smallest size I had been in years. This time I didn’t stop on my own accord – I was forced. It was also during this time that I was diagnosed with Bulimia. I never thought I was “sick enough” to have an eating disorder. I thought I was just trying to lose weight. It was normal. The time following my diagnosis, I was in denial.
I stayed in denial for a long time. Even now, I don’t really think I’ve ever been sick enough to have an eating disorder. I know what my doctor and therapist said, I just don’t agree. I could’ve stopped if I wanted to. But that time, I was FORCED to stop.
I had opened up to someone I was close to and she knew about my eating habits. She would check in on me all the time. I got texts all throughout the week from her asking if I had eaten, if I had purged, telling me to drink water or eat a snack. Truth is, if she told me to eat something and not purge it, I would do as she said. I don’t know why, but I listened to her. Eventually, I stopped purging altogether. I had gone over a month eating regularly and not purging my food. This is when she decided to tell my mother what was going on.
Yes, I was 19, but I still lived at home and still followed their rules. When she told my mom, I was so heartbroken. I had trusted her with my most intimate secrets, and she helped me to get better, and then when I was doing fine, she ruined my life. My mother cared, but not in the way you think. She was angry. She said that I was lying - that I was making it all up for attention. She didn’t believe that anything was wrong. She yelled and got mad because I had ruined the image of our perfect family. I was an embarrassment. After that, I had to stop purging. I knew my mom might be paying more attention now and I couldn’t chance it.
Since then, I’ve struggled and relapsed, but never to that extent. Not until now.
Even now, it’s different. I’m not purging anymore, and I AM eating. I’m just counting calories. People count calories all the time to lose weight so this is nothing out of the ordinary. Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway.
The problem here is that I’m limiting myself to an average of about 500 calories per day. When I started, I just wanted to keep it under 1000, but as this has progressed, I’ve dropped it down to where I want to stay around the 500 mark. Some days are higher, some are lower, but it averages out to be right about 500. Apparently, that’s not healthy.
I think part of me KNOWS this isn’t healthy and I KNOW it’s wrong. The side effects suck and I WANT to eat, I really do. I just can’t. Any time I get close, there’s something that stops me. The longer I go doing this, the easier it gets. I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s true.
As I sit here typing this, my stomach is empty and demanding food. I just don’t know what to give it. I daydream about eating a nice warm meal and feeling full, but when I think about the reality of it – the thought that I could actually eat – I suddenly don’t want those things.
I feel like I’ve disappointed so many people already because of this. I’ve ruined relationships because I just can’t eat. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s true. My own therapist doesn’t even know how to help me. She’s just throwing her hands up. She cut my last session short because she didn’t know what to say or how to help and now, I’m not seeing her this week. Why? Because she doesn’t know how to help me. I’m BEYOND repair. I’m hopeless.
Another one… I have a friend that won’t talk to me about food anymore. I understand her reasoning – I’m not listening to her. She tells me that I don’t need to do it, that it’s not healthy. She gives me fact after fact about how dangerous this is, but I don’t listen. No one can change my mind at this point. So, I know why she won’t talk to me about it. It just sucks because the food consumes my thoughts and that’s what’s going on in my life right now and I can’t talk to anyone about it. I’m completely alone in this and it’s my own fault.
My other T made me sign a paper that said I would eat 1500 calories per day and I haven’t done it. I haven’t even gotten close. I think I’m seeing him again this weekend and he will probably ask to see my food long and I don’t know what he’s going to do. He might give up on me too. I wouldn’t blame him if he did. I know it has to be frustrating for me to never listen to what I’m being told…this is just SO hard for me. It’s to the point that food is actually scary to me. How crazy does that sound?
I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve gotten myself stuck here and I don’t know the way out.
I don’t know why I’m writing this blog. I don’t see the point, really. I guess I just wanted to get it out in the open. It seems that the more I keep this stuff secret, the worse it gets. Maybe writing this all out will help me to realize how bad things are getting and maybe I can convince myself to stop before it’s too late. I don’t know… maybe it’s already too late.
Anyway, I suppose I’ll close this out by saying that I’m okay. I’m doing just fine! I’m just a bit overwhelmed, but I’m going to be okay. I appreciate all the love and support I have received here – you are all truly a blessing.
It’s nice and snowy here so I’m going to bundle up and get cozy! I’ll be back soon, I’m sure.
Loves and hugs,