Some days I still don’t believe that I have an eating disorder. I still remember sitting in the room at the eating disorder clinic, explaining myself and being told I have the ‘characteristics’ of the most common ones. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating. Learning about them more made me realize that I’ve had these all throughout my life which have caused me physical and emotional symptoms that I still deal with to this day. The almost monthly hospital vists, the constant feelings of worthlessness and hatred for my own body and how I looked. All stemed from an eating disorder I didn’t even know I had.
I remember the first time I purged was in grade 7. I would ‘fake sick’ to stay home from school and eat anything I could. Random things. Combinations I knew would make me throw up. I thought that if I was skinnier people would like me more or that I would fit in. I remember wanting to be skinny, but then hating how skinny I was or became. I hated my rib bones, my hip bones that stuck out. I felt weak and ugly but I still wanted to be skinner.
This continued until I became pregnant with Alison. I felt I finally had a reason to eat healthy and not worry about my weight or my body. Even though it would be growing and changing within the coming months. The hardest part about being pregnant was the constant talk about your body changing. This didn’t really impact me during my pregnancy, because I knew that would happen. I liked that. I documented it and took many pictures of Ali growing inside me. It was so exciting to me until I had her and the talk about my body continued. Little things that you think would have made me feel better like “she doesn’t even look like she had a baby” or talk about weight loss or my belly being “gone.” To me I didn’t notice any of those things, nor did I want to focus on them, but with them constantly being talked about in my life and in the media I felt trapped again by my eating disorder. I almost felt a need to be skinny again to live up to what everyone was saying I was.
Alison was five months old when I started to purge again but it wasn’t until she was nine months I was hospitalized for it. I know the constant stomach pain, cramping, body aches stem from my eating order. Back then I lied about everything. I lied about making myself throw up. I lied about the thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough. I simply had the flu and that was what I wanted to believe.
Since then I’ve been to the hospital three times and hospitalized (stayed overnight) once. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been to the hospital for stomach pain and puking in my life. Last summer was probably the most difficult time in my life. I was admitted in the psych ward for my depression and the eating disorder I started to learn about and realize I had. I finally told someone that I made myself throw up and I was scared to be home alone because I knew I would do it again. I finally stopped hiding the fact that I wasn’t sick from the flu I was purging and I didn’t know how to stop.
It was the scariest but most revealing feeling I’ve ever felt. Sometimes, to this day I still feel the guilt, the shame, and the disappointment I felt by some people in my life. It was impossible for them to know how I felt and what was necessarily ‘wrong’ with me. Even though I sometimes feel that way the feelings of hope, courage, and strength are greater than all of them. Realizing I have an eating order was probably the most freeing thing I felt last summer and do this day. It helps me understand why I felt the way I did and sometimes still feel. It helps me move on from my past and focus on a healthier me for my body, my mind, and most importantly my daughter Alison.
For the first time in my life I’m learning how to be healthy. Before the only way I knew how to be skinny or what I thought was healthy was to not eat. To eat too much and purge. It was so hard to get out of that habit, but I’m happy to say I haven’t purged since the summer. Things aren’t perfect, I still have a terrible relationship with food. I constantly think about it and try to plan about what I will be eating. I still do binge eat occasionally and feel extremely guilty for it but now I don’t purge. I like to look at the little steps and accomplishes I make because they will all lead up to greater and bigger things. Today, I don’t hide the feelings I have. I know they are there and I work through them. I still worry about my weight and my body, but now I am finally taking care of it. Fueling my body with healthy foods and working out to live a strong happy life.
I’ve had an eating disorder I didn’t know I had since I was twelve years old. I will probably still have it for the rest of my life and deal with the symptoms or thoughts of them, but now I’m not letting them win. They don’t control me or own me anymore. I’m not my eating disorder and I am simply just me.
If you struggle with eating disorders please know you aren’t alone and your feelings are valid. I’m here for you if you need to find the strength to pull through. I know you can get through this. If I can, I know anything is possible ✨❤️