“Why is your smile fake??” You may ask.
Let me get one thing straight. This smiling, scrawny girl is not me, not anymore. This is her. She’s the girl that wore a watch that counted steps, counted calories, told her what foods to eat and what she couldn’t. She had an app on her phone where she recorded every morsel of food so if she went over 300 calories, she could feel bad about herself.
Everything was terrifying.
Her. She lived in Hell.
Not to say that my reality is much better, but as long as it’s not where she was, then I know I can survive it. Also, disclaimer, this was my own version of Hell, meaning that I’m not claiming to have had the worst experiences. I know others have had it worse.
But for my purposes, she had a bad daily life. I’m not sure if you’ve caught on or not, but one of the main hardships in my life has been Eating Disorders. Namely, Bulimia Nervosa. If this is a foreign concept for you and you just want to know more about a bulimics life, or if this is what you yourself are going through, then I encourage you to continue.
Basically, Bulimia Nervosa is a mental health disorder that stems from numerous catalysts. I’m not really quite sure what mine was, but I remember it beginning at the end of 8th grade and getting progressively more dangerous and severe throughout high school until I began seeking help the end of my senior year.
- Dissatisfaction with body image(Body Dysmorphia)
- Constant fear of weight gain
- Emotional stress/anxiety/depression
- Uncontrollable urge to binge(consume enormous amounts of food in a sitting)
- Followed by guilt, disgust, discomfort and the need to undo the intake of calories
- Done by purging(vomiting), abuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, or a combination of all three.
- This can create a binge/purge cycle that might happen once a week or numerous times a day.(My highest was 17 binge/purge cycles in a day)
Going through this puts a huge toll on the body physically and mentally. I would say that the mental pain is much harder to deal with than the decline of my health. Still, it was a scare from my physical health that drove me to start fighting the cycle. As I started increasing my B/P cycles per day, I began getting secretive, hiding in my room, purging into a bucket or a water glass, so that I was out of hearing range from anyone in the home. I would eat and eat and eat, knowing full well my parents were watching me(though I was too scared/guilty to admit that they probably knew).
It got to a point where I was sickly thin, working out for 3-4 hours a day, fainting, feeling light-headed and weak daily, and I stopped menstruating(for almost two years) After one of the nastiest days I had, I laid in bed and promised myself that if I did it the next day, I would tell my Mom. I thought that this fear would make me stop because I was her baby and I was terrified to know what she thought of me.
Turns out, I wasn’t afraid enough because the next day I was back at the food and the toilet and I just laid in bed crying, silently hating everything about myself. In the morning, before school, I sat on her bed waiting for her to finish getting ready for work and I dropped the bomb.
You know what she told me. She’d known. She’d hated watching me hurting and fighting, but she knew that if she’d tried to stop me or intervene, that I would resent her. So instead, she’d decided to let me come to her when I was ready. Suffice to say we both cried a heck ton and I stayed home from school to sleep the stress away.
And that was the first step in my recovery journey. Now, obviously, it wasn’t as easy as telling my Mom and being suddenly better. But having a support system, having family and friends who loved and cared enough to stand next to me, that was the most important game changer. I’d say it’s the only reason I’m alive writing this today.