Eating disorder: my struggle to stay alive

Eating disorder: my struggle to stay alive

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.


15 Responses to “Eating disorder: my struggle to stay alive”
  1. Alex says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    I’ve be suffering with an ED for 13 years. (I’m 25 now). I wish I’d gotten help sooner. I’m hoping to go inpatient next week b/c I cannot go on like this. Ed WILL ruin your life. If you can go inpatient do it. I recommend it sooner rather than later. You’re worth it!!
    With love,

  2. Lianne Netardus says:

    I will say a little prayer for you.
    If you want people to look at you and think to themselves that that’s what they wish they could look like, there is a way to do it. You don’t need a magical diet pill, who knows what that will do to your body in the long run.
    I may be wrong, but your story sounded like you would beat yourself up after eating, and may still do. The first step to being truly healthy is to NOT feel guilty. One way to do that would be to eat something you know is healthy. If you only eat healthy whole food items, you really could eat all day and weigh in at your healthy weight. Not only that, but your skin will start to look good, your hair will grow strong, and you will feel better than ever. (Plus reduce your risk for cancer in the future.) Best of all, people will wonder how and why you look so amazing.
    Some foods you can get nutrients from and not feel guilty for are any fruit, any vegetable, and white fish. Nuts, like cashews, will give you the protein you need.
    You can do this girl, i know it. live strong.
    -Lianne Netardus

  3. Brandi says:

    I was 15 and also struggling with an eating disorder.I felt fat and hated the way i looked.People started to notice that my body looked better and I got more attention.I tanned up to 3 times a day.I would throw up everytime i ate something,it made me feel better about myself to know that I could get that weight off just like that.I also worked out every day so I lost a lot of weight.I would often feel faint and black out.I hid it for a while but then I got caught throwing up in the bathroom.I would even do it at school when i knew that noone was in the bathroom.My family would make remarks about it too.Sometimes I wouldn’t eat at all.I was a dancer and took weight pills too so that they would help me to maintain energy at practice.It continued for awhile.I had really big boobs and I hated them so much.I tried to loose the weight in my breasts as well but that never worked.My grandmother noticed my hair falling out and my skin color,but I wouldnt stop doing it.I didnt care what anyone said, I liked the attention that I got.I would often try to eat but that just made me sicker.My mother finally took me to the doctor and told her what I had been doing.I was a little underweight but not to that extreme as you were.I finally quit doing it for a while.I realized that if I kept going like the way I was that I would eventually die and I was hurting others around me as well.I am 19 now and still strugle with my weight.I am very unhappy with my body,but im not going back to doing all that again.I started walking a little in the afternoons and I do try to eat healthy.The truth is I will probably never be happy with my body.I wasn’t happy with it back then,I was always trying to find something wrong when I was just fine.You just try to stay positive and eat when your hungry and stop when your full.Your story sounds alot like mine,but I know that you can overcome it and move on with your life.Don’t worry about what other girls look like and dont compare yourself to anybody else.Why would you want to look exactly like somebody else when someone out there probably thinks your perfect just the way you are!!!!!

  4. jano says:

    My heart goes out to you all, that’ve struggled and are still battling their ED’s…I am now 49, and can just now admit having had an eating disorder–Unfortunately for me, the damage has been done, and old habits are hard to break. I still catch myself limiting my food intake or not eating at all…and if I do, I dry heave &/or vomit automatically. Just easy to do with so many years of practice. I was hospitalized at age 22-23, twice, am 6’1″ tall and my weight got down to 117lbs…Might sound heavy to most folks, but not for a person of my height and build.
    Please take care of yourselves, stay active but make sure you’re eating properly, taking vitamins and NOT diet tablets, laxatives, etc… You’ve only been given 1 body, 1 life…Learn to love yourselves & don’t end up paying the consequences later in life as I am now doing.
    At your ages, 15-19…even 28, I wouldn’t have listened either, but now, wish I had.

  5. Kaitlyn says:

    I am 14 now, and for me, its another story. I was a pretty skinny kid growing up. I was very active and very positive. Weight never occurred to me as a problem and I ate whatever I wanted and still remained skinny. But, every since my family moved to another country, I began eating like I normally would and rarely exercised. After three months, I had gained 20 lbs, now at 127. I feel like a fatass. And, I am scared to even go to the mall. Even my “friends” criticize me. My ex.boyfriend called me fat. I hate my life now. It seems like I am suffering from depression. I would try soo hard to lose the weight. But, nothing happens. What should I do? I dont even know who I am anymore….I want to be the “old” me…..but…how?

  6. Sara says:

    Im very proud you shared your story, i went through the same thing expect at the time my boyfriend pass away which made things very hard for me. I’ve fully recovered from it and i feel great, one things about the girls in the magz, is its all air brushed, my mum used to be a model, shes told me all about it , she said it was horrible. Very one is beautiful in der own ways =]

    Take care i hope you get better =]


  7. Elizabeth says:

    I just wanted to say that I also suffered from an eating disorder, and I just recently got over it, though I still struggle occasionally. I’m really proud that you are getting help, because the hardest thing for me was even admitting I had a problem. I feel strength in you, through your words alone, and I know that you can do it. Just keep telling yourself you’re beautiful. You can do it!


  8. kyra says:

    hii. you are so brave to share your story, i am 15 and currently suffering from a severe eating disorder i have lost nearly 4 stone now. i am 5ft 2″ and i weigh 6stone. i feel so bad all the time and everypne around me is suffering too. i didnt want anyone to get involved because i didnt want it to be blown out of proportion but my mum got involved and i was admitted to hospital where i lost futher weigh, i have been out of hospital since september and have lost about 2kg every week. i have the same symtoms – seeing myself and judging and exercising extensively. i know its wrong but i cant stop, i just want to be normal and not have interfering doctors ruling my life. i have 1 week left then i go to an eating disorder unit im so frightened but i have no one to talk to because no one understands and whoever i speak to says its my own fault and that i should be admitted, i want to help myself not have doctors do it for me.
    If people didnt judge others about their weight or shape this wouldnt happen. it may be too late for me but anyone reading this who is suffering or who wants to extreme diet please dont its really not worth it as you may feel fine at first but it takes over and destroys everything and everyone you love.
    Keep up the good work and we all have faith in you, wish u all the health, happiness and luck in the world. love kyra xx

  9. Marc says:

    The media and consumer culture has infected most of us with the desire to look a certain way. This the same culture which promotes fast food and excessive alcohol consumption.
    It’s great to be lean and fit, and in good shape, whatever that shape may be. Sometimes though you just have to accept things about yourself that are ‘you’ and make you an individual. I will exercise and try to eat right to take care of myself, but I know I’ll never have that ‘perfect’ body. The image of perfection is not real, and if everybody looked the same then we couldn’t even begin to talk about beauty

  10. Ninah says:

    Hi! Thanx alot for sharing your story. I have a problem too and it’s reached a point am feeling too weak, tired and dizzy. I will see a doc soon about it.

  11. Megan says:

    Hi. As all of you know, it takes alot of courage to share your story. So here it goes…i am currently recovering from anorexia, something i battled with for about a year. i began to restrict my eating, but when i started college, everything spiraled out of control. the ironic part is that control is the one thing i was seeking. i didn’t feel super weak and i felt happy, not as carefree as before, but certainly far from depressed. i never wanted to lose weight…i’d always been thin, but i was strong, too. I was an athlete and a dancer. My parents were worried, but i couldnt admit that i had a problem because my motive wasnt that of a “typical anorexic”. i wasnt trying to lose weight, but my control disorder was apparently more serious than i realized. Only when the doctors told me my heart was barely beating and that i was going to die if i wasnt hospitalized immediately, did i realize that things had to change. It was like someone flicked on a light switch…i suddenly saw my 83 pound, dying body for what it truly was. God guided me through my hospital stay and he helps me with my recovery each day. i’m developing a healthy relationship with food and im finally loving my body again. and I’M HAPPY! imagine that?! i pray for the other kids with EDs that i met in the hospital and i will do the same for the girls that i read about on this site. God bless you all for sharing your stories! Your life is worth living…so live it! 🙂

  12. Melissa says:

    Kristen, you are very brave to come out and share your story. What an inspiration you are to other girls who may be in your shoes. Eating Disorders are not physical illness, but a mental illness that needs treatment and support. It sounds like you have a lot of support with your family. Lean on them. They’re there to help.

    Prayers for you and your family as you struggle with this disease. You can overcome it, but it will take time and a lot of faith in yourself, your family, and most of all God.

  13. dayna says:

    , i just read your story. && i am going through the same exact thing, i have anorexia and my parents dont even know. everyone thinks i need help , but i like fitting in a size 2 from hollister, not a size 11.
    well your story really inspired me as a 15 year old., and im going to try to seek help,

  14. Cindy says:

    Hello Kristen,
    I hear and understand where you are coming from. I am 50 years old this year and have suffered with ED since I was 16 years old. I have never been happy with my body and my looks and even started cigarette smoking to lead the way of further distruction. I reached my all time low at 22, when I was in the worst shape. I was 5’3 and 93 llbs, I even thought I looked great! Wow! I was not in reality then, but over time I became a great binge and purger, sometimes I would throw up and it felt like my throat was being torn out and I was so scared! I didn’t tell anyone for years, but I never tell myself I am cured, because I am not. Occasionally I will still throw up, but the episodes are few. My trigger was and still is stress. You are a wonderful person and I wish you all the best Kristen. I hope all will seek help and learn to love life and all that is out there to enjoy.

  15. Ana says:

    This is truly sad. When I was a teen, I had 2 friends that went through this terrible thing. As hard as it was to see them, it was even harder for them. We cried a lot as one friend really wanted to eat. She desperately wanted to eat but she could not force herself to do it. I am glad you got help and I hope you continue to get the help you need.

    By the way, both friends are fine now as adults. It took them years, but they both finally got over it and are living happy healthy lives with kids.