#TellUsAnything: Having bipolar disorder caused me to purge

I’ve recently started purging. I am a diabetic and have been diagnosed as being bipolar. It all started when I began to gain weight. In my teens I had always been on the thin side. To be quite honest, I had a beautiful figure.

When I was first diagnosed as being bipolar, I was put on meds and a lot of them came with side effects, including weight gain. There was this one med in particular, called seroquel. It definitely made me gain weight.

I remember my sophomore year when I first started taking it, I went from a size 2 to a size 8, and everyone noticed and started making fun of me, especially the girls.

When I told my psychiatrist about it, he took me off of Seroquel immediately and put me on something else called zonigram. I immediately lost all the weight that I had gained, and to me, that was when I looked my best. I was 5’9″ and weighed 135 pounds.

Although I looked great on the outside I was a total mess mentally. I was very manic those years and the pill was making me have tremors. People used to ask me all the time if I was a tweaker.

I did some very horrible things that I am so ashamed of. Whenever I think about it, it makes me cringe. I kept ending up in juvie and finally, I attempted suicide and was locked up at an institution for teens. They took me off of a lot of the meds, including zonigram.

After I got out, I began seeing a new psychiatrist who put me on seroquel once again. I slowly, but gradually, started to gain weight again. It started with a little pot belly. My hunger was so out of control. I was eating like a bulimic, but not throwing it all up.

I would get prank calls from girls telling me that I needed to go to the gym and how disgusting I looked. And the thing is, with the weight I am now, I look back and would do anything to look the way I did when all that was going on.

Well, I finally reached the age of eighteen. Things were not perfect, but better when it came to my mental stability. But then I met this guy and fell fast for him. He turned out to be a real jerk and that’s when I really started to gain weight.

I ate all sorts of junk because it made me feel better. I begged and pleaded with my psychiatrist to take me off seroquel, but she just brushed me off.

By the time I was 20, I weighed about 175 pounds. I could no longer fit into all the cute brand named clothing I had. I no longer liked having my picture taken and I feared running into anyone I knew from high school, especially the ones who had been so cruel to me.

I thought that if they were calling me fat when I was wearing a size 8, then they would definitely make fun of me wearing a size 14. I was envious of all the beautiful models and actresses on television. I became so obsessed with my weight that it was all I ever thought about and my weight was always in the back of my mind.

I remember that as a teen, I would always think to myself how lucky I was to be thin. I never even thought it would be possible for me to get fat. I thought I had good metabolism, but boy was I wrong.

So finally, my mom told me about how the slim fast diet was one of the most successful diets out there. I was determined and I was actually quite successful, losing about 25 pounds. But it still wasn’t good enough, so I started purging.

I would go to the store at odd hours and stock up on junk food, come home, gobble it down, and then gag it all up. I just got back from the store today. I bought three boxes of Little Debbie’s, sugar cookie mix, frosting, and ice cream.

The thought that I can eat whatever I want has made this so addictive. I tell myself that I’m not going to do it ever again but then I find my self doing it again.

Like I said before, I am a diabetic. I also feel very manicky after a purge. I know this is all my fault and I have no one to blame but myself. I am putting my health at major risk, but even though I am aware of this, it is hard not to purge.

I would really like to have someone to talk to, like some kind of support group, where we could help each other.

I want to make one thing clear, though. Although the meds I take have some side effects, they really have helped me at the same time. So, to anyone who takes medication like me, my advice is keep doing what you are doing.

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#TellUsAnything: I was always chunky

So this is my story. I am a lot like 34,394,839 girls out there but somehow, I feel it’s all me. I was always chunky but, for some reason, it never bothered me until 8th grade.

I had made myself purge here and there but was never addicted. At the end of my 10th grade year, someone said that I looked like I had lost a little weight and that clicked motivation right into me.

It all started out healthy, eating the right things and exercising. Then I discovered Slim Fast. At first, I did it the right way but then the next thing I knew, a Slim Fast a day was my meal. When I lost 20 pounds, I decided to eat a little, which made me gain weight because I had lost everything the wrong way.

So when I started eating, I purged. At first, I would say that I would stop tomorrow and just not eat. But you get addicted to feeling the satisfaction of not gaining weight.

Before all this started, I was 130 pounds. I am now 112, and whenever I hit 114, I cry and I hate myself. I look perfectly normal and I’m not even considered the overused phrase “thick,” but for some reason, all I can see are big hips and huge thighs.

Please, don’t ever start. I still struggle with this and it is true, it is a disease. Love yourself for who you are because once you start, you won’t be able to stop. Don’t end up like me. It’s not a place where you want to be. It breaks my mothers heart when she sees vomit on the toilet seat that I forgot to clean up.

Take it from someone who knows. You will be dead before you are skinny enough. I know because I’m on the verge.

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#TellUsAnything: My little boy, Nathan

My 10th pregnancy produced my third child, a little boy, Nathan, born 6 weeks early, after spending the previous month in the hospital with high blood pressure.

Nathan started to vomit at about 9 weeks of age, and he was constantly under the care of a pediatrician. He was diagnosed with reflux.

The periods of vomiting increased and Nathan lost head control and muscle tone. He became extremely lethargic and cried a lot. He could not be left alone for a moment, as he would vomit with no warning, both in his sleep and awake.

I was breastfeeding Nathan and was exhausted from feeding him. Nathan would vomit and want me again. I tried to bottle feed him, but he would not even take the expressed milk that I had bought home from the hospital (87 bottles of it). Thank goodness the dog liked it.

At 4.5 months of age, I sought a second opinion for Nathan. After being constantly told there was nothing to worry about by his current pediatrician.

Nathan, by now, was either gray or bright yellow in skin color. He was like a rag doll with no tone at all, and cried all the time. The new pediatrician straight away said, “He looks anemic” and ordered blood tests.

Nathan is now 7, and is developmentally delayed. Because vitamin B12 controls everything neuorological in a baby, without it they regress and lose certain skills. With help, a lot of these skills can be retaught, but there is still an obvious difference.

Doctors now recommend taking folic acid during pregnancy, however, it should never be taken without first testing the patients B12 level, as depleted stores of B12 can be effected by folic acid. The only reason I believe Nathan is here today is because, for this pregnancy, I did not take folic acid.

With more and more mothers seemingly “doing the right thing” by cutting out meat and animal products, they must be made aware that vitamin B12 must be replaced to ensure not only the well being of the mother, but the well being of the child. There is too much ignorance to this and it was realized by a couple in New Zealand, only recently, who lost their child to vitamin B12 deficiency when they refused to allow a bone marrow biopsy to be done.

#TellUsAnything: Never Give Up!

Bulimia started with an idea, Hey! If I only eat one meal a day, and then throw up that one meal, I’ll get super skinny and fast! I did lose weight at first.

I was in high school when this all started and at first, the feeling of loose jeans, a concave stomach and a tiny waist thrilled me to no end. I was high as a kite on that feeling. I really believed my whole life would change, that things would come easier to me, people would like me more, boys would be attracted to me and all the ugly, desperate feelings of ‘not fitting in’ would just disappear. I was thin, after all.

Bulimia has a way of growing, though. It gets larger and larger and more consuming, until it takes over your every waking day. Because I was starving, I soon began to obsess about food. So much energy went into thinking about food. Writing down what I ate, calculating calories, throwing it up, binging some more, throwing it up, eating laxatives, getting sick all the next day. No wonder by the time I was 23, I felt more like 100.

Bulimia took a terrible toll on my spirit, my self esteem, my relationships and of course, my physical body. My teeth needed scales of dental work, to repair what I had done. My skin looked dull and I had puffy cheeks and bloodshot eyes. My hair lay limp and dry against my head. I had no energy.

My stomach and esophagus felt burnt and raw. I had a raspy voice. My stomach was always bloated from the constant abuse. So much for a tiny waist! And worst of all, I no longer was losing weight. Instead, I was gaining and couldn’t seem to stop. Soon, I’d put on all the original weight I’d lost, plus an additional 25 pounds. I looked and felt terrible. And, I wasn’t even 25 years old.

It took me years to get back to health. I finally got up the courage to start therapy. I did both individual and group. I also joined a support group, and read tons of books, and journaled as if my life depended on it.

I took vitamins. I exercised, but not to excessively. I ate fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, chicken, nuts, beans and whatever else seemed healthy. I also started studying nutrition and went on to get my advanced degree. I stopped throwing up for good. I figured I’d just have to let my body settle at it’s ‘normal’ weight and that was that.

Well, at first I did keep gaining. Then it leveled off. Then once my body realized I wasn’t starving it anymore, it started to go back down to its ‘true’ normal weight, which is about a size 6.

I can say, for the past 15 years, I have been free of bulimic behavior. It was a long road, but it was well worth it. I am amazed at the healing capacity of the human spirit and body.

Today, I look and feel better than I did in my early 20’s. To anyone who is suffering from this disease, I can only say that recovery is possible. You must never give up.

#Livingto100: Avoiding Asbestos and Mesothelioma

There are many bumps in the road to good health. Unfortunately, for many that “bump” is cancer. The many types of cancer can be overwhelming – most people have numerous friends and family members that have been impacted by the disease. Of the many types of cancer the spotlight is often shed on just a handful while others remain relatively unknown leaving Americans more vulnerable.

Mesothelioma is one of those rare diseases – there are 3,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States. September 26, on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, is the one day a year that mesothelioma is given the spotlight.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. When inhaled the asbestos dust is embedded in the lining of the organs developing into cancer. The toxin was used widely in construction and building materials into the 1970s. While there are now strict guidelines in the United States surrounding asbestos use it is still legal to use in the country.

The key to #Livingto100 – avoid asbestos and seek medical attention if you think you may have been exposed. Mesothelioma prognosis is so poor because the disease is often misdiagnosed multiple times before a correct diagnosis is given and treatment can be administered. The disease is most often diagnosed in the third or fourth stage – when patients are given 12 to 21 months to live.

There are four types of mesothelioma – pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. The most common form of the disease in pleural mesothelioma, which occurs when asbestos imbeds in the lining of the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are often mistaken as the flu or pneumonia. Symptoms of the disease include difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Asbestos is often found in buildings constructed up to the 1970s – if you live or work in such a building do not be afraid to ask about the presence of asbestos. Be your own health warrior and increase your chances of #Livingto100.

To learn more about the dangers of asbestos and mesotelioma join the Mesothelioma Awareness Day tweet chat on September 26 at 12 p.m. ET using the hashtag #EndMeso

#TellUsAnything: Losing my husband

My husband, Jim and I, had been married for 28 years. Always a rocky marriage, we divorced this past January.

Neither of us knew he was sick at the time. He started having breathing difficulties and went to his doctor. A scan showed three spots on one lung. He was scheduled for a biopsy.

Before he could report for the biopsy, he had a heart attack. When admitted to the Naval Hospital they had a hard time getting his heart back into rhythm. They did blood tests, and the results was, he had “cancer”.

They moved him to another hospital that was suppose to do more for him. The doctors there refused to admit that Jim had had a heart attack. Even thought the Navy Hospital pointed out to them what had happened.

Jim was in the hospital over a week before they did a biopsy. The anatheologest was against doing it, because he was worried about the fact that Jim hadn’t had any test done, and wasn’t sure what was going to happen when they put him under for the operation. At the doctor’s assistance, they went ahead and did it.

The results were that all the lymph nodes were cancerous. I asked if that meant he was terminal. The doctor said, “I’m not saying that.” But, when we went in to see him, I mentioned to Jim’s sister that I wondered what we should do next. The nurse replied, “All you can do is make him comfortable.”

The doctor told Jim he only had a year to live. We would have liked to have been there when he was told that, to support and comfort him. Jim only lasted two and a half weeks from when he had the heart attack.

I wish the doctor would have been more open. We had no idea we would lose him that soon. I realize that even if the doctor had “been there” for us that Jim still would have died. He had a very aggressive cancer. But it would have helped us be more prepared for what happened.

Jim was a three or more pack a day smoker, and I realized he caused his own death. But I can’t help wishing his doctor had been a lot more compassionate.

–Anonymous in Florida

#TellUsAnything: Confused and Gullible

I began the traitorous road of anorexia 4 years ago when I was in fifth grade. Like all eating disorders it started out as a diet, but it quickly backfired. I started to eat only 600 then 500 then 400 calories a day, while exercising for an hour then 2 hours.

My parents said that my teachers called them to ask why I was constantly running around the playground at recess, though I don’t have any remembrance of this. I do remember being tired, depressed, and cold all the time. Until one day I fainted when I walked down the driveway to get the mail, and reality finally hit me. Not for long though.

A few months later I stopped eating dessert, candy, or snacks. My parents would weigh me every Saturday, but when I found out I was losing weight, I promised to gain it back and told them that I wasn’t trying to lose it.

I maintained my weight without gaining it back, my parents were satisfied, so they stopped weighing me. My same eating patterns started to take place again a few months later, by this time it was November. And soon I started exercising compulsively.

My parents were in disbelief when I wouldn’t eat the things that I had eaten a couple weeks before. They also told me one day that we were going to the store, so I couldn’t exercise. I tried so hard not to, but I broke down into tears anyway. I still did not want to tell them what was wrong or of the battles I had in my head 24/7.

My parents weren’t buying my excuses any longer. They took me to my family physician and he said that I could only exercise 20 minutes. If I continued to lose weight after one week then I couldn’t do any activity. He had no idea that he was only agreeing with my eating disorder. So, I lost weight and stopped exercising, but continued to lose weight.

My parents realized that this doctor wasn’t doing anything. My parents did some research and took me to Hershey’s Outpatient Clinic, specifically for eating disorders. Despite my chest pains, shortness of breath, depression, and my entire lower body falling asleep when I lay down, I DID NOT want help.

I hated the doctor when she weighed me and told me that if I didn’t gain weight by Tuesday, I should go to the hospital. She also told my parents to keep a strict eye on my eating, and if I wasn’t eating more than I had been then she would admit me into the hospital.

She also made me drink 2% milk instead of skim. I had to get an EKG and a blood test. I remember fainting when she took my blood at the lab even though it was the smallest needle. She just couldn’t find a vein, and it was too much for me to handle. She finally got some blood, and 30 minutes later I would leave.

When we got home that night we had nachos for dinner. I refused to eat. My dad said that if I didn’t eat he would call the doctor and she would admit me into the hospital. I was strongly against going to the hospital, so after 90 minutes, constant crying, and listening to my parents’ pleas, I ate. But it didn’t end up mattering anyway.

The day I went to Hershey was a Wednesday, and I was supposed to go back on Tuesday. But the doctor called Friday to say that I should be admitted because my lab results were bad. I remember her saying that I had lost weight. I was proud of myself, while everyone else was stressed and worried. When I found out that I had to go to the hospital for 2-3 weeks I started crying, begging and promising that I would do much better out of a hospital. But obviously my parents took the doctor’s side.

By March of my seventh grade, I dropped to 80% of my body weight, my heart was beating 35 times a minute, and only 75 when I ran, my chest pains and shortness of breath were getting so bad that it was hard for me to stand, and instead of falling asleep when I laid down, my legs would go numb within 20 minutes.

I literally remember waking up every morning and looking under the covers to see if my lower body was still there. I couldn’t get over the shock of pinching myself and not feeling it. The whole time I was losing weight, I kept thinking that I was getting fatter and fatter, so I exercised more than I had the day before, while eating less and less. Despite what everyone was telling me the only one I trusted even more than myself was my eating disorder. And up until 1 year and a half later that is the only one I trusted.

I hated everything in that hospital, but I did everything they told me to do so I could get out sooner. In the end, I ended up staying for 2 1/2 weeks anyway. Shortly after I went home, I started lying about what I ate. I exercised secretively, because I still wasn’t allowed to. I didn’t lose any weight however, I just didn’t gain any. Everyone else thought I gained weight, because I started drinking and eating tons of stuff before my appointments each week. Pretty soon I was drinking 4 pounds of water and I was allowed to exercise again. It was like this for a year after I was discharged.

My parents thought I was doing so well that I didn’t need to go to Hershey’s anymore. So, we transferred to a team of doctors here in Bethlehem. After about 6 months of these new doctors I began to understand and I gained weight.

Now, I have the opposite problem of binge eating, regardless of my efforts to avoid it. I am now 25 pounds heavier than I need to be, while I’m still at a healthy weight. I still struggle, but not as much. A lot of times I wish I still had anorexia so I could be pretty and get lots of comments. And even though I hate the hospital so much, I wish I could go back, because you don’t have to go to school, and there are no worries or stress. Which is how I developed the eating disorder in the first place. But every day I am trying to gain my health back mentally and physically.

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#TellMeAnything: Words That Haunt Me

“Don’t eat that! That is tones of fat and you don’t need that ice cream right now! I told you no candy, it will get you even fatter!” That’s pretty much what my mother used to tell me ever since I was around the age of 8.

I can still remember the exact things my mom used to say, but back then I was to small to understand. Now, those words haunt me whenever I look in the mirror.

I’m 13 now, and I grew up in a village where no one really cared about their weight, but as I turned 10, I moved into the city and started understanding what my mother had been telling me all those years.

I started regretting all those sweets I ate at night, once my mother went to bed. So, I thought I had to take an end to this (although I was only chubby). I am 1.60 cm(5.4ft) tall and I weigh 49 kilos(100-110 pounds). I cant even remember the last time I weighed that less.

Last summer I weighed 60 kilos. I have been dealing with a lot of eating problems and the main one is BULIMIA.    About a year ago, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I just stopped eating or putting myself on strict diets, but that never really worked out.

One day I was in a Pharmacy and I saw a box saying “loose 9 kilos in one month”! those where some amazing pills which then slowly led me to addiction. I started off taking one a day, just before dinner, but it then slowly turned into five a day, making them my main daily dish.

My mom started getting suspicious about my weight, because nothing in my closet could fit me anymore. So, then I started eating again, but I would go to the bathroom and throw up everything. No one ever knew about my Bulimic problem until last Sunday, as I collapsed on the running track of my school.

I wanted to stop, but I soon started noticing it was too late, because whatever I ate, it always came back up. So, I just let it take over my life. I had no hope that it would end some day.

Day by day, I ended up becoming even weaker. I was unable to concentrate, and my blood pressure shot way up. I was so depressed, that I started cutting myself. I was killing myself more and more on the inside. My parents where to blind to notice, and my once so called “friends” didn’t care, because I was messed up anyway.

Now, I am sitting in a white room with my tray of food laying there since this morning. I just can’t do it, and I really regret ever starting this, because it is impossible for me to ever think, it is possible, that I will ever be able to eat normally again.

If you are also a bulimic victim, stop now before it’s too late, because no one can get rid of this disease except you. Do it for yourself! I know it seems impossible! Believe me I know…

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