Stopping Anorexia and Bullimia
Most defining moments are made by moving to a different town, the death of a family member, or some great accomplishment or failure. My greatest impacting moment is much different. It all started in 8th grade where everything appeared to be going great, I had made the basketball team, got first place in a cross country competition, had good grades, and was living the perfectly scheduled life. If only people knew what was actually going on behind my smile that lasted all through that year until my recovery at the end of freshman year and still is on my mind everyday.
Like every girl in middle school I was scared for high school and I was haunted by insecurities that I did nothing about. That was the situation until my heart was broken by my parents simply saying, “You might want to watch your weight,” and in that moment my mind went crazy. I've always tried all of my life to impress my parents and I was ashamed to see how I looked next to my extremely thin brother that my parents always admired but I thought that I could easily change my weight.
Days after this incident my parents caught me weighing myself, counting calories, and eating only a salad for dinner which they disapproved of. This just confused me, how was I supposed to lose weight if I couldn't go on a diet, weigh myself, or count calories? I began admiring the models and looking in the mirror at my stomach and comparing it to theirs and I knew what I had to do.
I didn't eat anything but cereal in the morning and a couple bites of dinner, I didn't eat any sweets and I gave my lunch away everyday. Soon I started seeing results and I was beyond happy and everyday I felt better about my weight yet somehow I couldn't stop losing weight. Each pound felt
better and better and it was like I was in a competition with myself and if I gained a pound I just felt like the biggest failure, I felt like that fat little girl from 8th grade again and that was the worst feeling in the world. Somehow no matter how much I lost and no matter how much other people said it was skin, it was still fat to me. I wouldn't stop until I reached perfection.
Losing weight came at a price. I couldn't take a complete shower without laying down at least 3 times because the hot water made me dizzy, I could barely walk down the stairs, I stayed inside more often and stayed away from my friends for fear of looking like the fat, ugly friend, my feet were black constantly because the blood no longer circulated there, my hair was falling out, I cried every night and couldn't sleep because there was pain running up and down my body, and my fingernails couldn't grow out. But the worst part of all is that there were rumors going around school about me and my rapid weight loss and I felt that I could no longer trust anyone.
My parents soon started to take notice when I always said “I'm not hungry,” and after practice went on a beach run just to make sure there was absolutely no fat on me. Luckily, I had become sneaky and I knew how to get the food out of my body. I began throwing up after my meals and now everyone at school thought everything had gone back to normal with me and I felt normal and it became part of my routine. When I was forced to eat I knew that there would be straw waiting for me to shove down my throat and if my mom made me eat I would just tie a belt super tight around my waist so it would be even easier.
I thought I was so smart until one day when suddenly my gag reflex no longer worked. My heart melted and tears poured from my eyes as I tried and tried again. Finally, I accepted the fact that it wasn't going to work and I found my solution. From here on out I drank cups of heated salt water that made me throw up 3 times at once, I was so relieved.
One night I realized that this wasn't normal and I needed to get help. I pulled my mom aside and didn't go into great detail but told her more about my feelings about myself. She kind of shook it
off and just said, “You're perfect the way you are,” but I knew I needed help, I couldn't stand another year of the rumors and the tears. Soon after I woke up to my mom on the phone with the doctor saying I could've died. Apparently the salt water solution I had been drinking almost killed me because it dehydrated my brain.
After having a serious conversation with her I started going to counseling every month. I felt shame in going because I thought that only crazy people went to counselors. My real defining moment came when I was sitting in the office and the counselor diagnosed me with anorexia, bulimia, and anxiety. Emotions that I felt at that exact moment ranged from sorrow to anger to confusion. My main question was how could I be all of those things, I'm not skinny enough? If only I knew that this diagnosis would change my life forever.
Everything got much worse before it got better and through the summer I worked and worked to heal. At the end of a never- ending summer I was recovered for the most part and was able to start eating again and gained a lot of much needed weight because at 5'6” and 95 lbs and playing close to 5 hours of water polo a day, I was unhealthy.
Even today I think about my weight but this process taught me to let my body go through its stages and if the doctor says I'm healthy then take that as a compliment, don't aim for underweight. Most importantly I learned to no longer listen to my friends or my parents and what they say because I will never be perfect to them but I can accept myself and have confidence which will help me immensely. Not worrying so much about my flaws has helped me so much and I have felt more comfortable at social events and have been trying to keep myself busy and give myself no time to criticize myself and instead try to be happy with my appearance even though I know I will never be completely happy with myself because in reality, no one is. Without this important moment in my life I feel that I would be a much different person and I'm glad to have changed for the better.
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