"As I type this, my roommate is eating what appears to be a really delicious slice of pizza. I’ve just finished painting my nails – a compulsive habit I tend to engage in while avoiding food. While I was painting my nails, I was getting more and more angry. Why, WHY, couldn’t I enjoy a piece of pizza? At what point did things change so drastically that I can’t eat one piece of pizza without throwing it up? What has happened to me? These are a few of the many questions that have popped up over the past 18 months.
Shape magazine has a “Success Stories” section. I always wanted to be one of those stories. I would scour the Shape website looking for more and more success stories. After all, if they could do it – so could I!! Now my story would read more as a warning, rather than a success.
Teenage years – on and off disordered eating. Nothing, in my mind, neither dramatic nor serious. I did end up in the ER with a Mallory-Weiss Tear when I was 19. I maintained an average weight and was really active in high school. Then I went to college, gained a lot of weight and never lost it.
Three years and one messy breakup after I graduated college, I’m at my heaviest weight ever. I am 5’4” and weighed 235 lbs. I bought a house on my own and decided something had to change. I would eat 1,000 calories per day and I’d start exercising. Nothing specific triggered this. I had owned my house for about two months and was on my own for the first time in my life. I could control every single thing that entered my home. No junk food around means no mindless eating, etc. So, I started my “diet.”
I lost 25 lbs in four weeks. The next month, I lost 20 lbs. After that, my caloric limit dwindled slowly. It started at 1,000, and then went to 800, then to 600, then to 300. Eventually I started fasting. By November I had lost 75 lbs. People started worrying and I was sent to a therapist. My therapist was an idiot. I was diagnosed as bulimic, and was giving me a treatment plan as such. At this point, I was fasting for three or so days, eating a bowl of cereal, and purging it. His brilliant solution was for me to “eat more”. Hell no. I quit treatment in February and had lost 20 more lbs.
I bounced along, calling in sick to work all the time because I felt like I was going to die. While seeing my therapist, I figured “if I’m going to be treated as a bulimic, I might as well F**KING EAT!” I started binging and purging 4-6 times per day for weeks, then starving myself in between. I lost more weight, although it slowed down.
Enter the side effects. Constant bruising, dry skin, lanugo on my face, exhausted, purging involuntarily, soul-crushing depression, anxiety, constantly dizzy, passing out in the shower (scary when you live alone) and the overwhelming self-hatred that eating disorders require to thrive.
I snapped in October. I had “binged” (3 oz steak and 2 cookies), purged and snapped. The next thing I knew, two hours had passed and I had thoroughly cut the hell out of my arms and legs. I don’t think I was trying to kill myself, but I also don’t think I would have cared if I died.
After the dust settled, I had moved back in with my parents and weighed about 125 lbs. I stayed there for three weeks. I got a psychiatrist and a new therapist (both of whom are wonderful). That was almost three months ago.
Me today: I take 60 mg of Prozac per day. My weight is about 114. That being said, my set weight is 130, so according to my doctors, I’m about 15 lbs underweight. According to my friends and family, I look “sick.”
Treatment is alright. I’m making good progress in therapy, but am still engaging in eating disordered behavior. I’m purging less, although still 4-5 times per week. I stopped abusing laxatives, which is great for me. I’ve stopped over-exercising, and am eating twice per day, every day.
This is the rub: I weighed myself a few days ago and discovered I’ve gained 4 lbs in the past three months. Consequently, I’m fasting for the next three days. Why is it, after everything that has happened over the past year and a half that it is my first reaction? I logically know this isn’t what I should be doing, but I am not willing to change my behavior.
Now that all of that has been said – I’m still going to fight. I will pick the pieces up after this set back is over, and I will fight. I cannot live like this forever. It’s either get better or die. I don’t necessarily want to live, but I owe it to myself and my family to try as hard as I can.