Saturday, February 20, 2010



"In some ways, I'm the typical story. In others, anything but. Growing up I had five beautiful and talented sisters. My father is a workaholic who knows his children are bright and talented, but only expresses it by expecting the best. My mother is a timid woman who loves her children but never really knew how to react to problems.

I know there's been some problems with my sisters when they were younger. My sisters mostly did well in school, maybe rebelled a little but all in all made my parents proud. Ours was a loving home, although maybe a bit chaotic. I was a happy child, a tomboy, a bit weird, but had a couple of friends and that made me happy enough.

I don't know if I would have stayed that way if tragedy hadn't struck. One of my sisters got in an accident. We weren't sure if she'd make it. Severely handicapped and depressed from that, my sister seemed a whole different person, angry at her disabilities, often yelling and crying. I was so young that she actually scared me at times.

Lightning never strikes twice, right? Wrong. Years later, when I was eight, she got in another accident and passed away. I didn't know how to cope. I felt humiliated when people pitied me and saw me cry. I shut off completely. I actually went without physically crying for years.

When puberty hit I hated it. I was an early bloomer and went through hell for it. The boys who were my only friends started taunting my breasts and widening hips. Adult men started to comment when I was barely 12. I've had volatile experiences in relationships with both men and women. I've been sexually assaulted more than once. Pretty soon I started dressing in black and loose clothes. Despite all this I was always an excellent student, and got picked on because of that too.

By the time I was 13 I was cutting myself daily. I had a small circle of friends, most of them deemed odd too. I was the weirdo and freak even among them. I had realized that the more I stood out, the less people actually paid attention. I was loud, no-one listened. I acted out, no-one noticed. I was surrounded by people but always alone.

(From Niina's collection)

Even physically I've always been different. I'm barely 5 ft, very pale with pale hair and a very curvy figure. I've always wanted to be petite but I'm not. I have wide hips and big breasts and broad shoulders.

At 14, I stopped eating for a while. I lost something like 40 pounds in a matter of weeks. I lost half my hair. It hasn't grown back since. They forced me to eat and were happy when my anorexia seemed to vanish and my weight piled back on. Truth was, it just turned to BED, which turned to EDNOS.

At the moment, I'm a 20-year-old girl living with a roommate and my boyfriend. They keep me alive. I've never learned how to eat properly. I abuse alcohol and drugs at times. I hate my body because of all the scars, the fat, the thinning hair. I'm not working or studying at the moment because of severe depression and insomnia, and I'm still stuck in a vicious circle. EDNOS has more or less turned into bulimia by this point. I don't binge or purge every day, but a couple of times a week at least. My roommate especially hates me purging, and I'm constantly scared of getting caught. I can't talk about my problems to her because she doesn't know how to react with anything else than despise, and not to my boyfriend because he seems happy being ignorant. Being somewhat obese, I'm trying to lose some weight but it's really hard balancing between ED and sensible dieting.

(from Niina's collection)

I'm currently on a high dose of antidepressants as well as medication for severe anxiety. I also have some sleeping pills I have to use quite regularly. Ironically I usually binge because of my pills. Most of the time I eat sensibly until after I take my meds and I start to feel drowsy. I can't really control myself in the evenings, I sometimes don't even remember if I've eaten the night before or not. It's a vicious circle because I feel very depressed after I binge, witch leads to restricting and anxiety, which means I certainly can't stop taking my meds that lead to binging. Sometimes I drink to avoid eating. My mother is taking the same anxiety medication for other reasons and has reported that she too over-eats too much after taking them, even though there's no history of ED with her as far as I know.

This situation has been going for almost a year, I think. Time seems to just slip away, my problems blend into an anxious ritual. I know food has always been a tool for me, I've either eaten too much or restricted heavily as a way to suppress my feelings.

I hope to be able to go back to school or get a job in near future, but it's so hard. I try to feel good enough to treat myself well, but I know I can't cope without my medication. I almost want to give into all my illness because this circle seems so hopeless. I'm a disappointment to my parents, even my sisters have somehow managed to rebuild they're lives. I have friends but I hurt them so much. I hate myself for ruining my boyfriend’s life. Most days I don't even leave the house, or change out of my nightgown. I'm a waste of space.

Even now, when I write this, I seem to lose track of time. A noise in my head ponders if I should go back to sleep, although I've only been up for a few hours. Or maybe I should get drunk, or cut myself.

I really do feel hopeless at times.

~ Niina"

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aga said...

Hi Nina,

Just thought I'd say - first of, well done for sharing, considering how little support you get from people around you, it's A LOT, and I mean it.

secondly, your current situation sounds similar to mine - 20, living with my boyfriend and a flatmate with nobody to really talk to about what you feel (I had a suicide attempt in November).
If you feel the need to, drop me a line, I guess I understand a small bit of what you're going through having had an ED and a self-harm problem going on for ages (and living with huge scars from both) although I'm in control of my eating habits most of the time now.

do email me if you ever read this comment and feel like it -

Anonymous said...

Hey Nina,

I want to thank you for your courage in sharing your story. While reading what you wrote, it was like reading my own story...the ED and SI parts.
I was the overweight out of place child growing up, then something clicked and I restricted everything I ate until there was nothing left. When my parents finally noticed something was up and were whispering treatment options, my ED flip and became full on BED. Now years later I'm depressed, obese, medicated, and screwed up! Every one week it's restricting/fasting or binging sometimes purging. Like you said I have no idea how to eat healthy and balanced, i.e. normal!

At least we know we're not alone.

-- Nicole

Anonymous said...

I completely understand. This is the type of behavior I have been fighting for years, and I am a 30 year old mother. There us a balance that can be found.... I am sure of it.

Misha said...

I was that kid too. 5 feet tall in 5th grade. Always the chubby kid. In high school I would come home from school, change, and walk up and down my street, five, six, seven times-- at least 5 miles per day. My body never changed. I was still the fat kid.
And then I enlisted in the Israeli army. I have so much to do and to worry about- is my shirt wrinkled? Is my gun strap twisted? Is my watch set to the second?- I haven't thought about myself at all. I'm a medic now, and I'm taking a paramedic class. There's no time for me to dwell on myself. I feel it's still there though, and I know that when I get released I'm going to have to face myself again. But please know that there will always be a (healthy) way to distract yourself. The hard part is finding it.
I wish you the best of luck and health.