I know all of you are probably wondering why I’m still here since 2 days ago I said I was leaving on a trip. Well the car broke down so our travel plans went basically out the window. Which I wasn’t TOO crushed about, because the weather here is gorgeous and sunshine = happy Leelu. So in the end it all turns out ok.
I’m going to be continuing on with my story. I’m sorry this isn’t a very positive topic, but as they say the darkest hour is just before dawn and sometimes it helps to look back – both to see how far you’ve come and to know where you never want to go back to.
As my weight dropped and my eating habits got more and more erratic. The people around me kept commenting, but I pushed everyone away. Weight loss was now my addiction, my little secret – one that I guarded feircly.
Finally my family had enough of watching me hurt myself. They decided to do an intervention. I remember that night all to well. I was finishing my 2nd hour of cardio on my stationary bike and my dad asked if we could talk. He and my mom sat down with me and told me they realized I had an ED and I needed help. I remember I cried – more with relief then anything else. Deep inside I was miserable and I wanted things to go back to the way they were. I didn’t want to live in isolation anymore. I didn’t want to put up with the fatigue, the lack of energy and the pain any longer. I wanted to be free.
However I don’t think any of us really knew how deeply rooted eating disorders habits were. Although I wanted to be free of my ED, another part of me wanted to hold onto what I had accomplished – my weight loss. Surprisingly my weight loss wasn’t drastic – I was underweight but not strikingly so. So I ate – but kept on exercising 2 hours a day. Of course I didn’t fuel my body properly for that kind of exertion, so I would often end up overeating. Then the guilt would set in, and I would restrict the next few days to make up for it. This began a vicious cycle – one that actually caused me to gain weight rather then lose it. Still I maintained some facade of normalcy with my eating habits so no one ever really realized that there was something still wrong with me.
I went on a vacation to France during that time and although the cycle continued – I had a good time. I was still addicted to the scale and exercise, but there were times I would forget about it and just enjoy myself. There was so much to see and experience, and that caused my ED to be pushed to the side. Then there were bad days, days the scale told me I had gained. I would be in a bad mood all day, and no one could figure out why. Still, I will look back on that time as a fond memory.
But after coming home things somehow went down hill. There were too many triggers – the familiar surroundings reminded me old habits and as the painful memories flooded back, I slowly slipped back into my old ways. At first it was gradual, hardly noticeable to anyone, but like a rolling snowball it spiraled out of control faster and faster. I became a vegetarian – but the main reason was so that I could use that as a excuse to severely restrict. My family stepped in and tried to stop me – they banned me from exercising and tried to supervise me at meal times. I became defiant and the more they pushed me the more unhealthy behaviors I adopted. I would wake up at midnight to exercise, purge the food they forced me to eat, water load before weigh ins and fight any attempts of “help”. I started purging as a way to control my weight – sometimes more then 5 times a day. Any time anything I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with something I ate – it never stayed in me. But by this time I knew I needed help. I was depressed most of the time, and occasionally engaged in forms of SI. Life had no meaning, no point, no purpose. I spent the most miserable Christmas of my life that year. I ate hardly anything and ended the day fighting with my parents over a piece of chocolate. All I wanted was to end the hell I was living in, I wanted a change. But I had given up hope, I didn’t think it was possible. As sad as it is I had resigned myself to never being happy again and to dying from this illness. I knew I was heading in that direction, but I felt powerless to stop it.
Two of my dearest friends visited me at new years. They didn’t say anything, but I could see the concern written in their eyes as they looked at me. New Years Eve I reached breaking point. I spend the new years countdown over the toilet – crying because I couldn’t purge the few appetizers I had consumed that night. By the time I reached my room I was hystarical. My mom walked in and I didn’t stop. I was in too much pain to hide it any longer. In between sobs I told her I couldn’t live like this any more, I wasn’t strong enough to face another day. Then I went down to rejoin the party. Everyone was dancing while I sat on the sidelines - strangely disconnected from reality. The next day my friends and family talked to me again. They expressed their unconditional love for me, and assured me they were there to support me. At the same time they expressed their concern and the pain it caused them to watch me kill myself. One of my friends told me she had to leave the room once after looking at me, because she couldn’t hold back the tears. The next day I went to the hospital to see if I needed an impatient or out patient form of treatment. I didn’t pack, I was sure I wasn’t nearly sick enough to stay in a hospital. The doctor took one look at me and handed my parents the admittance forms.
I feel compelled to mention here that it is mostly due to my friends support that I was able to find it within myself to even try recovery. Without them I can safely say I would have killed myself – either through my eating disorder or a more direct means. They gave me the assurance of unconditional love when all I felt was guilt at what I had done. They supported me and held me in times I was too weak to walk forward alone. For those of them that are reading this or will ever read this – thank you! You’ll never know how much your support and love meant to me.
(I’m sorry if this story keeps getting worse and worse. But I’m trying to show the brutal side of eating disorders – not the “romanticized” idea of them. What I came from was sheer hell and I hope reading this will discourage me and other from ever wanting to go down that road again.)