Every Tuesday Mama shares a personal story.
This week’s story was written by Kristen
My name is Kristen, I am 15 years old. If someone were to describe me they would probably say something like she’s nice, funny, and crazy. But people who know me better would not go with those words at all. Maybe that’s what I was two years ago, but now I’m far from those things.
I am suffering with an eating disorder. Over these two years that I have been struggling with this, they have been the most depressing, terrible years of my life. The problems started when I was in the 8th grade, that’s when I started puberty. I would notice things about myself and other girls that normally, I would have never paid attention to.
I was comparing myself to other girls and wishing that I could have what they had. But in 8th grade, I was so thin. I started to question that. I became obsessed with watching what girls around me would eat. I would go online and look up pictures of girls who were thin. I would hang out with my best friend and just admire the great things about her that she had that I didn’t. I would watch her eat, notice how much she would take-in and I would try to control what I ate but I would always out-eat her. But, what I couldn’t see, was that I just had a larger appetite.
As time went on, I would routinely be checking my calories. I didn’t even understand what was too much and what was good for me. I became obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and criticizing myself and tearing myself apart. I began dieting, taking diet pills. Checking my weight many times a day. When I couldn’t lose the weight I started to become really down on myself thinking I couldn’t do anything right. I would hate myself for not being able to lose weight.
That’s when I started making myself throw up, not too much, but at least once a day. I didn’t lose weight, but it gave me a little bit of relief. At some point between the 8th and 9th grade, friends would tell me I was looking really thin. But, that was because I was thin to begin with and loosing three pounds was noticeable.
Towards the end of 9th grade, my best friend and I would start fighting a lot because she hated my boyfriend. I loved him, but this caused a lot of problems with me and her. This put so much stress on my shoulders and I stopped eating. Before summer me and my boyfriend went on a “break” and things were a little better, but things with my best friend were still not the same.
She went away in the summer to go to her beach house. I was alone at home and I started hanging out with different people, because I didn’t really have anyone to hang out with.
One day I was hanging out with one of my old friends, and she looked really thin, she told me that she was taking some new diet pills that had made her lose a lot of weight. I asked her what they were, she told me, and I went out and got them. They worked like magic. I swear I lost a pound every day. I was never hungry. It surprised me so much, because never have I ever been able to restrict food so much.
I went days without food and I felt amazing. I saw the change in my body and I loved it. I lost eight pounds and I thought it was pretty noticeable, but what really bothered me was that my mom didn’t say anything to me. She didn’t care, and she didn’t worry. That’s what I was working on, and I don’t know why, making my mom worry. For some reason I wanted her too. And when she did we began to clash. My mom was so worried, and so were all my friends and family members. I hated it, everyone would try and make me eat and I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. No one could control me, I didn’t eat and everyone knew I wouldn’t.
After about a week of my mom nagging me about eating, my family went on a vacation to New Jersey for a week. It was with my cousins, my family, and family friends. I was so excited, I thought it would be fun. It was a disaster. No one could be around me Everyone was mad at me. People were worried, and crying, hating me, and criticizing me. While in New Jersey, I fainted almost three times. I couldn’t move without everything in my vision going black. My body felt like it was heavy and dying.
When I came back from New Jersey, I immediately went to my best friend’s house, who was now home. One look at me and her eyes filled up with tears, she looked at me with surprise and fright. We sat on her couch and just talked and cried. She could feel my pain, and I could tell. But being with her made me feel comfortable.
We all decided to go out for dinner (me, her, her mom, and her sister) we got there and as I was about to order, I started crying. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t eat. I hadn’t noticed that I had got to the point that I was afraid to eat. I could not force myself to eat anything. I was scared, and I knew that I was in serious trouble.
I slept at her house that night and the next day my mom came over and told me she wanted to take me to the hospital. I laughed in her face and said no way. But, I went because everyone was insisting that I go. On the way there, I knew that this wasn’t going to be good. I knew even thought I denied it, I was not okay. We got to the hospital and they admitted me into the ER.
I had lost over twenty pounds and was less then 80 percent of my recommended body weight. I was 5’5 and I weighed 97 pounds. The doctors told me I almost died, that my pulse was so low that if I hadn’t come to the hospital that day I would have had heart failure.
I was on feeding tubes for three days untill I was moved to the rehab in the hospital. There I stayed for three weeks and I gained 6 pounds. I had to leave because my parents insurance wouldn’t pay for it anymore. I went home and the first meal I had in front of me I cried. I cried and cried for the next month.
School came and I thought people were going to think I was fat, but they didn’t. It’s been a month and a half since summer and I weight 103 pounds.
I go to therapy twice a week and to a nurse practitioner where they weigh me and check my heart and everything else. My eating disorder has almost destroyed me; it has almost killed me and I have lost almost all my friends. It is a battle everyday, but I still fight.