The significant behaviors of my eating disorder began when I was 19 years old… Over 10 years ago. However, if I really think back through life, I can pick up on sensitivities and pre-cursers that possibly made me susceptible: I remember as a child of 7 or 8 years old, being deemed the “fat” sister. I really wasn’t fat at all, but I had two sisters with very lean body builds…of which I did not have. In high school, I already despised my thighs so badly that I wore a sweater tied around my waist everyday and would never wear jeans. Seeing pictures of myself during this time, I know that I wasn’t “fat”…I was already having body image distortions.
When my eating disorder took my life over, around the age of 19 or 20, I lost all control of myself. I was so displeased with my body…so ashamed. I turned to engaging in severe caloric intake and creating strict rules about food consumption. These rules would dominate my life for many years.
Eating disorders are lonely monsters. Mine stole my self-esteem, gave me so much anxiety that I couldn’t go out with friends or family, and told me so many lies about myself that I simply didn’t want to go on. Food had become my best friend…and my worst enemy. Every single bite it took was carefully calculated, anguished over, cried about, cursed, and regretted for days. I had become chained to the scale. This piece of plastic was my own personal prison and Hell. At one point, I destroyed a scale in the driveway of my home with a hammer…tears running down my face, cursing the lies that I could hear from the poor scale. The next day I turned around and bought a new one…
Now, 10 years later, and after much struggle, learning, and support from friends and family, I’m still standing! I can’t tell you that I’m perfect. I still have bad moments, bad days where I hear the gremlins telling me that my body is shameful, laughing when I try on a new summer dress. I’ve had to learn to fight back cognitively, and I’m getting pretty good at it! Every day is a practice for recovery. I ask myself: Will my eating disorder win today or will I win today? I’m proud to say that I mostly win now!
I’m also so proud to say that I earned my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University in May 2013 and began working on my PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology during the Fall of 2014! I want to help and inspire as many people as I can. I believe in order to do that I need education, knowledge, and as many tools as I can get…so I think I’m on my way!!!
With my recovery, I feel so strongly about reaching out and helping others. I understand the anguish that comes with an eating disorder. My goal is to remove the stigma and negative stereotypes that our society has placed around eating disorders and other mental health illnesses. I believe that if we can talk about our stories and our triumphs, only then will we be able to heal.
So let’s use our voices, our stories, our experiences. You are not alone. Let’s change the world together!