Beating my eating disorder at 22
I am 22. I have finally begun to beat my eating disorder, seven years after it began.
When it started, I was 15 and it felt like I was constantly high. I was starving myself, and I was already really thin. Not eating for six days made me light-headed and groggy and for some sick reason, that made me happy.
Now, looking back, I can see I was in a lot of pain and looking for something to distract me from my life. I could only keep up the starvation for so long, and when people started to notice I wasn’t eating enough, I began to eat to make them happy, and then I would throw it up.
I didn’t know what a habit it would turn into. Starving had been glamorous in my twisted mind, but bulimia almost killed me and I hated every minute of it. It became an addiction. It controlled my life until very recently.
At 17, I was hospitalized because I was at immediate risk for a heart attack. My electrolytes were so out of balance from the purging. I always thought, it wouldn’t happen to me. I knew how to be careful and keep it in check, but I didn’t. I was near death on several occassions. I didn’t even know how serious it was until the doctors told me how easily I could have died.
I look at young girls now who are starting down that path, and I want to shake them and show them every medical problem I’ve had because I thought I needed to be thinner. The thing is, because I’ve been there, I also know
that no matter what I say, they may still find a way to justify their behavior and believe that nothing bad will happen to them.
I thought that too. I thought I could stop whenever I wanted. When I got to the weight I
wanted, I would stop and just “maintain”. But, that doesn’t happen. You can’t just quit the behaviors.
They start to rule your life and every time I would eat, I would get panicked. It ruined my social life. I didn’t want to hang out with friends because I didn’t want to have to eat with them. I tried to eat normally, my body wasn’t used to it and I would get really sick to my stomach. I would either throw up without even trying because my body started to get used to doing that, or I would get sick and have to run to the bathroom.
I haven’t thrown up in months, but still, every time I eat, I get nauseous and when I bend over, I feel vomit start to come up. It’s gross, I know, but I want people to know that none of this is glamorous.
You may get attention and people will definitely worry and that may feel good because you realize people DO care about you, which is something I desperately needed, but now, I’m stuck with awful side effects. I have cavities, I have constant indigestion, I have problems with my gall bladder from the non-fat diet I ate, and all the purging. I sometimes have to throw up even though I’m trying to stop that habit because my body just does it automatically now.
I have missed out on so many things beacuse I was afraid to eat. I have spent more time hovering over a toilet bowl than
meeting guys or going places with my friends. I would give anything to go back and never have started all of this.
I was afraid to stop the behavior, but with the help of some friends and mentors, I’ve replaced the habit with eating healthy and moderate exercise, and I haven’t gained any extra weight. I’m a healthy weight and size, and I don’t have to throw up to be that way.
Unfortunately, I will deal with the consequences of those disordered years for a long time to come. Please, if you’re in the throes of an eating disorder, please get help. It’s not worth it. I swear to you.