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The deadliest mental illness EVER, and in remission for over 3yrs!

by Natasha

I was never the "skinniest" girl in jr. High, nor was I the biggest. I was born and raised on a farm with a single mom and one brother, who I pretty much raised due to my mom's illness, Bipolar disorder.

I was 13yrs old and super excited to try out for cheerleading, yet to be told that I did not make it on the team. I was teased for being "chunky, fat" etc. I started to cut down how much I was eating and dropped weight like crazy. Then Mom found out. That's when the purging began.

To make an almost life long story short, I suffered amenorrhea( absence of periods) from the age of 13-17, was hospitalized several times for severe hypokalemia( low potassium), and abuse laxatives to the point where I would be so weak and tired I could not get out of bed. I was 5'2" weighing at X lbs, and this weight stuck for at least a year. I went in for weekly weights, EKG's to check my heart rhythm, and was put on so many different medications. I felt like the only thing I had control over, food, was now controlling me.

I isolated myself from my childhood friends, I would go 3-5 days without eating, then plan one day where I would gorge for at least an hour straight. I would purge in plastic grocery bags hidden in my room, hide my food not eaten in my back pack, you name it, I did it. I did not realize how bad my illness was until my little brother came up to me one day and said," sister you look sick. Can I help you feel better? Mommy and gma said you were dying." I was devastated and so ashamed.

What did I do to myself? How did I let this happen to me? Therapy did NOTHING but make it worse. The more I went, the more I hated my mom and the fact she hid and lied to me about my whole life. I didn't know my biological father at the time and my mom would get so mad at me when I wouldn't eat she would literally "beat the crap out of me."

At age 17, my senior year, things started looking brighter. Freedom from the prison my mom made my life, and I had a boyfriend who supported me with everything. I then started my mensus cycles again, even though I was irregular. In March 2006, still 17, I started bleeding so bad I thought I was dying. I went to the ER only finding out I had a miscarriage. My body was not strong enough to carry another life, let alone mine. I was so sad. My mom then kicked me out of the house because I was a disgrace of a daughter to be X lbs and lose a baby because I wasn't healthy provide for the fetus.

In May 2006, after graduating high school, I decided if I truly wanted to live a life and recover, I would go to college and become a counselor to help other troubled girls, just like myself. Plans changed and I found out I was pregnant again, this time giving birth to a healthy 8.5 lbs baby boy in Feb 2007. Life was perfect. My gift of life helped me to recover my illness! Or so I thought.....

My boyfriend (son's father) and I split up when my baby was 4 months old. I suffered post partum depression and started remembering all the hurtful things my OB doctor told me during my pregnancy. "You're getting too big, gaining too much weight, those stretch marks won't go away you know."( I gained a total of X lbs from X-Xlbs during pregnancy) What effing dr says that to an 18yr old with a severe history of an eating disorder?! Needless to say, I relapsed and began purging after every single thing I ate. Laxative abuse started its viscious cycle again.

I then met my new "dream guy" only to find out I would be trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive realtionship for 2 years of my life. I would steal laxatives and do anything possible to keep food out of my body. I didn't become extremely thin though, maintained X lbs, which I found out that bumilics and laxative abusers will be average size.

I finally received help from some work friends and left that jerk in 2009. I again realized my life and son's life is not worth ruing over my "brain washed, distorted self image." I started to slowly recover, day by day.

I started nursing school in 2010, met the man of my dreams, had my 2nd beautiful baby boy in 2011, and graduated nursing school in Dec 2011 with my RN. I have been in remission since February 2010 and I have never felt any better than I do now. With all the damage I did to my growing body, going 4 yrs without a period, I thank my lucky stars and God that I was given a gift to recover and start a new life with my beautiful boys and husband. I work at a State Hospital and every now and then get a few patients with an eating disorder and assist and educate them of all the potentially negative impacts it could pose to your life.

But it doesn't end there: just because you conquer "the deadliest mental illness" doesn't mean you won't have long term complications. There is ALWAYS an underlying issue of why we develop an eating disorder. Mine was ADHD and physicial abuse. I was impulsive. I meet criteria on all levels for that darn thing only to find out if my attention issue would have been treated sooner, I could have possibly prevented the worst 9-10 yrs of my life. Plus, my mother's controlling and abusiveness played a major role as well.

I still suffer from my teeth breaking off, have absolutely NO enamel on my back teeth, and my front ones are almost that bad. My hair is not as beautiful and thick as it once was from the Kchunks" I lost daily. My wrists still look like toothpicks even though I am healthy! I have blood sugar issues all the time. My heart will race so bad, I feel like its going to explode. (Premature ventricular contractions). I have poor circulation to me toes and hands, Raynauds disease.

I should not be alive today, but I am. Soon to be 25, I only look back to help others. The past has been done. The only way to look at life is the future that lies ahead. My boys are such a gift to me. Not a day goes by that food is not on my mind though. That is something you will live with every day of your life, and that stupid porcelian throne.

Just remember, you are not alone! There is always help. Nothing is impossible in this beautiful life. :)

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program