Monday, March 14, 2011


“Hey Medusa

I understand you probably get thousands of emails with people’s stories in them, and that the vast majority of them will be worse and more moving than mine, but I guess the reason I’m sending this is because I need to get it all out. I’ve told a few people before but always stopped short of spilling all my guts because I was so afraid of losing people.

My name is Jessica, and ever since I was born (12 weeks premature) I have suffered from a physical disability called Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia. My condition is mild and, though my gait is distorted, I am still able to walk. All my life I dealt with bullying, starting in kindergarten I was beaten up, harassed and taunted by my peers. I felt so ashamed I couldn’t tell anyone. In my mind it was my fault I was being bullied, and I was just too weak to figure out a way to stop it. From a young age I knew I was worthless, and I hated myself.

It wasn’t just the actual bullying that got to me. It was the fact people judged me as soon as they looked at me. So at age 8 I thought I needed to take attention away from the fact that I was ugly, that I couldn’t take 5 steps without losing my balance. There was an inner urge, something pushing me. I just –had- to find a way. So I slowly cut down what I ate, I would leave bowls around the house and set them up so it looked like I had eaten. My mother would be proud of me, I thought, I’m making myself beautiful. I’ve never really felt loved by my mother and I've always strived to impress her, I always tried to be more like my brother, who in my eyes, and seemingly hers too, was perfect. I knew my sacrifice and hunger would be worth it one day.

It was around 10 years old I started cutting, I was dangerously underweight at the time, with my hips and ribs jutting out, and I –loved- it, but I was still unhappy. I realise now looking back that I was a very sick little girl. I’d heard somewhere that when your body is cut it releases endorphins, the same thing that chocolate does. And I knew that these “endorphins” as they were called, made you happy. And I was very unhappy, I was still being bullied, I still wasn’t smart or thin enough. I still was a failure. So I tried it and I loved the rush. It was almost as good as the hunger. Long story short my legs were the biggest victim of my rage with myself, as they were the cause of all my problems.

This was also around the time my mother began to notice, I’m abridging things here but I was taken to a doctor and then a psychologist and then a doctor again, who combined, diagnosed me with EDNOS with restricting tendencies.

I didn’t want to get better. I loved the fact that everyone now said “oh, that poor girl, she’s so thin” now instead of covertly whispering to their companions “what’s wrong with that girl?” I could now attribute their staring to something other than the fact I was defective.

Recovery is shit. That’s all I can say, but what did it was my parents threatening to pull me out of school and put me into hospital. I hated hospitals and I loved school, because no matter how much I was bullied outside of class; knowledge was a power to me that no one could take away...

I’m apparently now recovered although I think I may be relapsing. I’m restricting and feeling guilty again. Food is my enemy again. I’m trying to fight it because I want to become a successful doctor, and treat those in third world countries. I want my life to matter but there is always that little voice in the back of my head that says I will never be able to get that score on my final exams and my life will never matter so I might as well give in to what I want; to be thin and pretty. Even though I know eating disorders aren’t pretty and I don’t know how to explain it. I still look in the mirror and see rolls of fat. I still hear a voice in my head that tells me I’m worthless and a failure....I just don’t know what to do.

I have a beautiful best friend who always understands, I don’t know what I would do without her. Who knows? I may have already spiralled downwards in myself destructive habits but I know I have to be strong and stay “recovered” for her and for the people I will be able to help in the future by defying my disability and all the naysayers, by fighting the voice in my head that is my eating disorder and by helping those who need it.

Now, at 15 I still cry myself to sleep at night because I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t know if I can make it. I just hope that I can....for me, for my best friend, and it may be egotistical to say this, but for the people I may help in the future if I do manage to succeed.

Thanks for reading Medusa...I do hope you post this. Maybe there is someone like me out there....I’ve always been looking for someone who knows how I feel."

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Amanda Harris said...


I never had a physical disability. None that are immediately visible, but I do have one and am technically protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It's an autoimmune disease that I've had since I was seven; my attitude has always been that if it was in remission, it didn't exist. My trying to accept that I have any disease, any disability, was one of the many factors that led me to develop an eating disorder in the first place.

Unfortunately, not everyone can just wish their body insecurities away. When a relapse is about to happen, it is the tensest feeling in the world. Keep going. You are loved.

Lanterna said...

You're very brave. And I know you will succeed in what you want to do - this is a very noble goal. You're a nice person.

Anonymous said...

Your story is so touching Jessica. I can relate so much to your post and the mindset people often find themselves in when trying to call attention away from a physical handicap or trauma.

I had to receive a spinal fusion and many blood transfusions during middle school for congenital scoliosis and kyphosis, which had twisted my ribs at odd angles to the point at which they were threatening to puncture my lungs, as well as having a very noticeable hunched back, which drew much ridicule from my classmates and family.

I struggled at the hands of bulimia and anorexia for several years as a coping mechanism for having little control over my own body. I was also self-conscious and aware of the fact that on a regular basis I would be in and out of doctors offices to get prodded and felt along my ribs and spine for more abnormalities.

It didn't take long at all for my appearance and bloodwork to expose my real problems - potassium imbalances and acidosis caused by constant purging and fasting.

I've been well for the last one and half years - but my fight took well over five to even get to the point of learning to see myself in the mirror as I am. I would like to consider myself fully recovered - my BMI is currently above 19 and I finally have boobs! :D WOOHOO!!

All joking aside, RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. One tool that I found extremely helpful were DBT (dialectic behavioral therapy) self help books. This approach has helped me through a lot of tough times.

I wish the best for you Jessica - you are a brilliant and beautiful soul, don't ever forget that.


Anonymous said...


Not all babies are born. I've lost one myself, but those that are are a gift from the universe. You were born with a disease that could have killed you in utero, yet you survived! You have been a winner and a survivor from the very beginning. How many can claim such a prize? One day you'll come to realize that you are a warrior woman and that nothing and no one will defeat you.

Put your bow and arrow up Artemis and be who you really are. Warrior Woman.

Anonymous said...

I know how it feels to struggle with an eating disorder cause by bullying about something that has nothing to do with weight.

I have tourettes, and I get tics whenever I'm nervous, and whenever the bullies at my elementary school would mess with me, I would get ticks in my hands and eyes, and then they would tease me about that.

I was always kinda thin, but when I hit 5th grade I learned about Bulimia. I thought that if I was skinnier, then maybe they would like me. I tried it a few times, it never really got serious though until the summer between 7th and 8th grade.

That summer, I went to a "High School Party." There, I was attacked by some drunk guy, dragged into a random bedroom, and raped. Due to my slightly weakened state, I was unable to fight him back. That was when my Bulimia got out of control.

I started increasing my binges and purging to at least twice a day. I lost a lot of weight, to where I could wrap my pinky and my thumb around my wrist, and have them overlap. I went from a size 4 to a size 0. I felt like I needed to get rid of every trace of him from my body as quickly as possible. Even now I can still feel him grabbing my wrists so hard they bruised.

That's also when I started cutting. I did it mainly on my calve, since I wore pants mostly. It felt like I could control the pain I felt, as opposed to spiraling out of control.

Thankfully, by 10th grade, I had gotten help for my problems. My best friend Sydney helped me get through it; she was with me every step of the way. I started exercising instead of purging. I got help from a counselor, and a psychiatrist helped me with the tics. I found out who that guy was and got him put in prison for 10 years for Rape and for pedophilia, cause he was 18 at the time.

Long story short, I've had my own set of problems, and I got through them. I'm sure you can too. I'm 18 now, a recent graduate, and I hope that if you read this, Jessica, you'll email me.
I'd like to talk with you c: I know having someone in similar circumstances to talk with (even if you don't know them too well) is a big help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica, id like to let you know, you are not at all alone. i too have a disability that somewhat relates your yours. i have 'right-erbs palsy from birth trama.
i feel for you. the bulling never stops. crude teasing. mocking of your disability. questions to why you look "that way"... all so hurtful.
this all lead to being severely insecure about myself.
which, of course led me to anorexia. i am 5/9" (69inches) and weigh 76lbs. not sexy, i know. anyway, i am not going any further into my struggles, but i thought id reply because your story touched me. i feel your pain, poor thing. please, don't quit fighting. stay strong xx

Anonymous said...

Honey, I am sure you will heal a lot of people and it will be because of what you have been through and who you are. healers are what they are because they KNOW what it is like to suffer. xxoo

Anonymous said...

CP is not a disease, it's an acquired disability. Adults can end up with spasticity that's the same as CP if they suffer a head injury.

Mia said...

@Anonymous you may be right but if she wants to call her disability a disease that is her right.

I cannot believe that is all you had to say after all of the wonderful other comments. Like the others, my first instinct was to want to help her.