"Hey Medusa, I've been following your blogs for quite some time now through my ups and downs with my eating disorder and now I feel like I am in the right mentality to send you in my story.
My name is Alexis and I'm 16 years old. Everything began in year 5 when I was being teased about my weight. I wasn't eating unhealthily, it was just puppy fat. I mean come on, not everyone grew up rake thin.
So I got to year 7 when I first hopped onto the bus to school, and lo and behold all of the older guys were sitting on the back seat, and here I am this little chubster on her first day hearing the whispers from the back at how fat I was...
That was when it really hit me. I began to throw up after meals, satisfied with myself for a few weeks where I would stop, and then the cycle would begin again.
This went on until year 8 (14 yrs old) even when I had lost all of the puppy fat and was at a healthy average weight, but from all the years of teasing and self-loathing I couldn't see what everyone else could. It was Easter afternoon after eating my fair share of chocolate when I decided I was going to change, but this time for good.
I would vomit, exercise, and make my intake increasingly smaller. At the time I had been playing soccer for 7 years and was just accepted into a rep team, which meant two 2-hour training sessions a week with a game on the weekend, which at the time it didn't occur to me my torture to my body would eventually take its toll.
There hadn't been a day for a year after Easter that I didn't stick my fingers down my throat.
I began to get acid reflux, dizzy spells, and all along with that compliments on how beautiful and amazing I now looked!
You see, my mum and I have an amazingly close relationship, but at the time she didn't know any different. She put the weight loss down to all of the exercise I had been doing with soccer. A few weeks later and my mum said for me not to lose any more weight and that I looked great as I was.
Unfortunately all of these comments off everyone just pushed me further and further. 6 months after Easter I broke down, I hated myself, and everyone else for some reason and it had been so long since I'd been the outgoing girl everyone once knew me as. I ended up telling my mum, and that week we went to go see someone.
Too bad that the psychologist didn't specialise in eating disorders, as with the visits, my weight got steadily worse because she didn't weigh me, and my eating disorder decided to cover everything up even more.
I was lying to my family, my friends and most importantly myself. "Just one more kg, one more sit-up, no more eating" It's all lies! You're never going to be happy with yourself when you have an eating disorder!
So this went on for a while and then my mum took me to another psychologist, this time specialising in eating disorders. She was great, but my ED didn't want ANY help whatsoever. No matter how hard I fought to implement the things she was teaching me, I couldn't let myself.
All of a sudden she began talking about hospital, you see; she used to weigh me. "One more kilogram and I'm booking you an appointment with the paediatrics doctor at Westmead".
Slowly I fell into a cycle of binging and purging, to the point where my eating disorder would wake me up at 4 am to drag me into the kitchen only to feed myself like a robot and then bring it all back out again.
I had to get out of the cycle, so I told my psychologist. She suggested putting locks on the cupboards but even that didn't stop me. I'd find the keys when no one was home, or I'd shovel food in my face at a party then come home and... you get the point, it was HORRIBLE. It was literally dragging me away from my friends. I couldn't go out? Why? BECAUSE I HAD TO BINGE. Oh wow, heaps fun.. Not.
It got to the stage where I was begging to go to hospital, just in the hope that I would get relief from this stupid thing inside my head. So we booked the meeting with one of the doctors, and even though I wasn't unstable, the next day I was in the car on the way to the hospital.
I step into the ward and the first thing one of the girls asks me is how much I weigh. I told her and she just laughed at me, which was really great as well, kind of just implementing how fat I thought I was.
Looking back I think of how screwed her head was... I was 46 kg at the point and had come from 60 kg. Hospital is just a big competition filled with eating disordered girls. If you didn't have an NG tube, lose weight on your gatepass, eat slow enough, exercise in privacy, use laxatives/purge they'd look at you as though you were fat.
I was in the hospital for a month and got back up to 50 kg but when I got home things worsened and I was now on weekly weigh-ins at the hospital, and my head was throttling me. I plummeted over the next two months with the pressure of summer and looking skinny for my birthday.
I weighed in a week before New Year's at 43 kg, because I'd gotten sick of water-loading and wearing weights equivalent to 5 kg under my clothes. But even with my silent cry of help, the doctor let me stay out in hope that I'd help myself, which of course was reallllly smart of him.
It got to the stage where I refused anything on offer to me. In my head I wanted to be as skinny as possible for hospital because I knew that was where I was going. A few blackouts later and I was in emergency a week after my appointment, at the Children's Hospital, sitting under a heater with nurses trying to get my temperature above 34 degrees.
I was admitted with an NG tube at 40 kg and all I did was cry. My parents cried and the tears wouldn't stop coming.
I missed out on summer, a whole summer spent inside the hospital while my friends were at the beach with 40-degree heat. I missed out on parties, Australia day, my best friend's birthday, school photos and the beginning of year 10.
Three months later I was discharged at 51 kg, the minimum healthy weight for my height, and determined to make the most of my life. Those three months were a constant struggle, but my family supported me and I tried as hard as I ever could.
Recovery isn't about going brilliantly all the way through, it's about going high up, and then tripping and stumbling but having the will to be honest with everyone and get back up on your feet and start climbing.
It's now December, nearly a whole year later, and the only reason I cry now is because I regret wasting so much time. Of course my eating disorder is still on my back, whispering in my ear, and I've just pulled myself out of 2 short-lived relapses which I couldn't let continue any longer.
I'm currently sitting here typing this at 55 kg, the highest I've been since after the beginning of all of this, and guess what... I'm happy and I love myself! Each day is still a fight, but it really does get easier :).
Medusa, thank-you for taking the time to read my story, and if you could please share the message that you CAN and WILL recover if you put your mind to it. It's not anyone else's decision, it's yours and even if you have the greatest support in the world, none of it will matter unless you want to recover and live a life free from eating disordered thinking.
Thank you again :).
Alexis, I am so happy for you. What a journey you had to recovery. You are so beautiful, and looking so healthy in your "after" picture.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Alexis. You are such an inspiration to those who are struggling. You have given them something precious: Hope.