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.