I've been reading your blog for a long time, and I thought that I was finally ready to share my story. I don't know if you will post this, but I thought I'd tell you my story anyway. Looking back, I never thought that someone like me would end up with an ED. But things like that are unexpected, like addicting shots of Heroin.
As a little girl I was always real thin, and I'd even go as far to say pretty. I loved dancing, and I was very good at it. I had three BEST friends, Madeline, Swagata, and Jake. Along with my family, they are amazing people.
As I grew older I completely forgot about it. My life revolved around dance, painting, and piano. I was popular, and I basked in love of my friends and family. I must have been crazy, to have thrown it all away like that.
At 5'2 I was 98 pounds. I was 5'4 when I was 14. That day I checked my weight. I was 110 pounds. My god, I was in triple digits...that was the only thought running through my head. I was from a nice family, I was smart, and I set extremely high standards for myself. I intensely disliked failing. So, I promised myself I'd lose five pounds. A simple, innocent, five pounds.
I skipped dinner that day. I told my mom I had a lot of homework, and asked her to bring my dinner to me. Instead of eating it, I stuffed it in a ziplock bag and hid it under my bed so I could throw it away. It was Ravioli, my favorite.
After that, I felt in control. I felt powerful, that I didn't have to eat when everyone stuffed their faces. Jake was the only one of my best friends who went to the same school as me. He wasn't shallow, and self-centered like the rest of my popular friends. He noticed that I was getting thinner, and he force-fed me. I ate because it made him feel relieved. He didn't know I threw it up right after. Neither did my parents.
When Swagata saw me next time, about a month later, she screamed. Madeline's mom was a nurse, and she too screamed. Madeline was strong, and wasn't affected by anything easily, but I saw something crack in her when she saw me.
I felt selfish, for making my family and friends feel so much pain. But I couldn't stop. I couldn't eat. I slowly became too weak to do my favorite dance routine.
Somewhere in the middle of this one good thing happened. Jake and I started dating. I always had feelings for him, and the momentary happiness made me gain some pounds back. When I checked my weight again, I freaked. I went right on back to the same routine.
So far through my story, I haven't fully told you how my family, my closest friends, and Jake felt. I can't do that, the pain they felt is too much to describe. They tried to stop me, but I still managed to hide it, to keep losing.
I lost more and more weight. Then, on my 15th birthday, I collapsed while walking down the stairs. When I woke up, I was in a hospital. My parents were there, and outside were Madeline, Swagata, and Jake, along with their parents. My mom told me that I weighed 77 pounds. The first thought that went through my head was, "SHIT. HOW AM I SO FAT????"
And then, Jake walked inside. I thought he was going cry for a second, his eyes were glistening, but then he just hugged me. Over his shoulders, I saw Swagata crying on Madeline's shoulder. Madeline looked like...like she was seeing someone die. I guess she was. My parents wasted no time in putting me in a rehab center for eating disorders, There, I saw girls that were even thinner than I was.
I would say half my recovery came from the love my family and friends gave me, the other half was my therapist. Her name was Cole, and she was amazing. I still see her now, since I will never fully recover from the clutches of this disease.
It's really hard to describe my recovery. In the beginning, Ana, who was like my sister, screamed and yelled horrible things at me for eating food. I started to hate her. I wanted to get rid of her. I couldn't believe she still took up half my brain, that she still promised me amazing things after taking away so much from me. My initial recovery was fast, after a week of great mental stress, I decided that I wanted to get better. Numerous things went through my head in that period of time, flashes of lovely memories with my parents and my friends. I'd have to get better for them.
My ED is hard to describe. I suppose it's like a slide-it’s so simple to slip down. But, have you ever tried climbing back up a slide? It's even easier to fall back down to where you started. And I did, after every small step up, I took a gigantic leap down. There were constant relapses, and many tears. However, slowly my grip tightened, and I climbed up carefully, with many slips and even another fall, but I made it to the top.
Even now when I climb up the slide, I slip occasionally. There are still some tears, but I have love, and I have people who care for me. I learn and recover fast, but I revert easily as well.
Ana's voice is still in my head, she only takes up a minor portion; I have straitjacketed her to a small dark corner. However, she is constantly struggling, clawing at the edges, and tempting me with melodic whispers. I won't listen.
My name is Mikayla. I'm 18 now, almost 19. I'm 5'7 and I weigh 120 pounds. I can clearly see my collarbones and hip bones, I can easily make out my ribcage, and when I raise my arms, they stand out vibrantly. But, no longer can I put marbles in the large flat spaces my collarbones had created; no longer can I cling to my hip bones or grasp my ribcage.
Last week, Jake and I got accepted into UC Berkeley, our dream college. Swagata got her acceptance to Stanford yesterday. Madeline is studying Psychology in UCLA. She was the only one brave enough to face the disease that almost killed me. My parents love me, and they're proud.
I'm Mikayla; I look at the mirror and smile. I love painting, playing my piano, and dancing.
I am constantly fighting a battle, every single second, constantly. But I will never let Ana win."
(All pictures provided by Mikayla)
Artwork: Alfred Gockel