"I have been looking at your website for the past month in hopes that I could share my story (or at least the not-so-painfully-personal parts) with someone.
I had anorexia-nervosa, bulimia-nervosa, and anorexia-athletica-nervosa for almost three years. I suffered amenorrhea, thinning hair, skin problems, a swollen face and bloating. I had a very bad experience one night at around 3 am that led me to attempt a change. I was alone and had to force myself to get better.
My supposed 'friends' from 'pro-ana' sites were angry and felt I was weak. They told me that I was not 'embracing' the life-style...What they don't tell you when you start this sort of thing is that IT is actually starting YOU. I wasn't embracing it? I wasn't embracing this 'glamorous' lifestyle? This life-style of retching until your teeth begin to decay and your throat is sore and swollen, of using laxatives that induce uncomfortable bloating and disgusting diarrhea? No, at this point I was NOT embracing the lifestyle...IT was embracing ME!
After seemingly endless months of effort, I managed to 'recover' as much as one can from this disease. And I have been doing fairly good, really, I have. I healthily gained back the weight I'd lost, and doubled my calcium intake in hopes of improving bone density.
Unfortunately, I have been experiencing symptoms again as of late: distorted body image, the signs of food obsession, and severe weight loss. I am certain that this has been brought on by two major things.
Although the disorder subsided and nearly disappeared for the past two years, the depression and pathetic self-loathing that accompanied it, unfortunately, didn't. I was put on a generic form of the anti-depressant Prozac over the summer. I experienced nearly-sleepless nights where I would get in maybe two-three hours of fragmented sleep, and rarely sound or heavy. When I was fortunate enough to get deeper, meaningful sleep, I suffered terrible nightmares, to the extent of being called 'night terrors', which I'd had as a child, but had not had to endure since puberty.
Accompanied with these sleepless nights that would drag on for hours and push me to the near brink of insanity, I also lost my appetite, and with it, the weight came pouring off. The medicine seemed to be doing a decent job of elevating my mood, to some extent, but I still needed a higher prescription. (It should be taken into account that I am in NO WAY blaming the medicine or the company that makes it for what is happening to me. I am merely stating that it is having an effect on my body, which is, in turn, having a negative effect on my mind, which affects my body, so on-so forth). Anyway, I was bumped from 20mg, to 40mg, to 60mg per day. Around the same time, a close friend of mine was put in the hospital for an attempted suicide; he spent four days in the hospital and they prescribed him 20mg daily. It startled me how little he was on, or how much I was on.
He, although not someone who has suffered an eating disorder, spoke of having similar symptoms: lack of sleep, nightmares, and a lack of appetite. He told me that he had begun to feel hungry one day and realized that he had not eaten since three days prior. He had absolutely NO appetite.
Now, the effects of this on a 'normal' person would not necessarily have severe consequences, however, I have found that it began to ignite something within me that had, fortunately, laid dormant for the past few years...something that I hated, and that, obviously, equally hated me.
I also started my third semester at college after the summer and am partaking in a state-funded program that requires me to attend the school as a full time student. The immense stress that I have placed on myself to achieve A's, which I feel I absolutely MUST do, simply because I have no other job at this time and am aware of mothers that have many children, work full time, and attend the same college that I do, making the grade! This immense pressure, along with the medication has spurred me into the beginning phases of relapsing. I have been realizing that as of late, I am experiencing symptoms of my disorder, a disorder that I had thought I had conquered.
My symptoms: a preoccupation with food, a distorted body image, calorie counting, the management of food intake, and the fact that, although I have not been using the aid of laxatives, I have been eating such amounts of vegetation that I am having to use the lavatory several times a day.
I recently went on vacation for Thanksgiving and that is where I fear the last straw was obtained. I have five younger cousins that I adore. Their ages ranging from nine to seventeen. (Relevant: I wear pin-up style make up: red lipstick and Dita/Bernie Dexter style eyeliner...I dress relatively conservative, especially around family).After Thanksgiving, I attended a Christmas party where my cousins were. Two of them, ages 12 and 14 came up to me and, mid-conversation, confessed that their parents told them that they did not want them to "dress or look like me...ever" EVER...That word rang in my ears like a bomb.
I am by no means rich, by NO means, I shop at Goodwill and Gordman's, but the people in attendance at this party could be considered so. After hearing my cousins tell me this, I was walking through the party hall and felt as if everyone was staring down at me. I have never felt entirely comfortable around these people (customers of my beloved aunt and uncle's upscale furniture store that specializes in rare and one-of-a-kind antiquities). I have always felt that they somehow knew, somehow could just SEE it on me that I was not part of their group, not ONE of them; as if they could somehow see my cheap clothes, see that my life was not rich, or beautiful, or wonderful, that I lived in a low-class Podunk town in mid-America.
I felt like I did in high school, at the height of my eating disorder. The truth is that these things: rich, beautiful, wonderful, high-class, all combine and equate to one unattainable word to me: THIN.
The irony is the disgusting lengths that I used to go through to try and achieve this word, this word that would somehow give me hope, life, a boyfriend, happiness...content...Instead it took any part, any small, infinitesimal, tiny, little part of any of those things that I had...and robbed me of it...of life.
Today, I am sitting here, typing this at...12:08 a.m. the night that has followed an intensely stressful day of finals, complete with a panic attack, shaking, hyperventilating, and vomiting.
I am telling you this not to gross you out, or to induce sympathy or pity, or even respect just for sharing. I am not an open person (only six people know of my problem-if that many), and, although this is painful to write, it is not entirely too difficult.
I am telling you this because I am looking, agonizingly searching, for someone, ANYone who will listen to me and give me even the slightest bit of support.
I am telling you this because, over these past few months, I have been experiencing a downward spiral into hell, into the thing that keeps me from consuming and, simultaneously, consumes me.
I am telling you this because this last week has been a massive trigger, hell, maybe these past two years, and I am sure that I cannot sustain going through what I went through the first time...
Quite frankly...I'd rather die.
I hated my life then, during the height of it all...No, actually, I can't even remember feeling even that much. I was a shell of my former self, emotionless. Even if I could have maintained feelings, I couldn't have hated my life...I had no life to hate.
I was literally ALREADY dead, I was simply waiting for the physical end, until it nearly came and I fought to bring myself out from the depths.
However, I now fear that I am falling again. All in all...
I am telling you this, unfortunately, not because I want to, or even because I HAVE to...But because...I.am.desperate.
I am desperate.
I have lost more weight over these past few months than I did when I was trying to...The worst part is that I am afraid of gaining it back.
I do not, DO NOT want to fall back into this again. I CAN'T, CANNOT be dragged down into this again. I fear I won't survive it.
Again, I am not looking for sympathy, apathy, or pity...Just a friend.
Thank you, your devoted thrice-daily reader, Jac"
(((Jac))) Thank you so much for granting me the privilege of sharing your story.