I Battle With Bulimia, And I Won't Be Quiet About It Anymore

I Battle With Bulimia, And I Won't Be Quiet About It Anymore

It takes one voice. We are not alone.
82
views

Low carbs. No dairy. Less sugar. No fat. Less fat. Eat three meals a day. Eat five meals a day. Skip dinner on the weekends, you’ll drink your calories anyway. Don’t eat the next day. It’s okay if you throw up, good for you for getting rid of those calories. Growing up as a female in this day and age, we are bombarded everyday with new and crazier ways to become thinner. The ultrathin society created by magazines and popular figures in the media have manufactured this unrealistic expectation for women to conform to. When do the ideas pass by the normal dieting phase and twist into a slippery slope of an eating disorder? For some, this expectation descends further past the surface and starts to define who they are to the core.

With the pressure of a growing ultrathin standard, it is no wonder that we are seeing a rise in eating disorders in young adults and college students. The prevalence of this mental illness is manifested from this standard and it is perpetuated due to the secretive nature of the disorder. I am a junior in college and actively battling an eating disorder of my own. Not many people see the struggles I face on a daily basis, which is why I have gained a better understanding of the magnitude of this glossed-over disorder. But this beginning to change, so here is my story. Here are all my nitty gritty details that are hidden and silenced due to the uncomfortable nature that is talking about mental illness.

Eating disorders do not appear overnight. The illness takes years to form, and for the most part just seem like some new dieting trick. Except the habits are far more than just a diet. Eating disorders come to control every single thought. Eating disorders will isolate you, weaken your immune system, and make you vulnerable to injuries, sicknesses, and yourself. Eating disorders are even secretive to you. I took an abnormal psychology class my sophomore year and learned about anorexia and bulimia. Even then I couldn’t recognize the signs when they were blatantly diagnosed in front of me.

My eating disorder, ED, became an abusive friend. Ed controlled every second of the day. Ed left me feeling dependent, trapped, and without options. Ed even led me to the darkest time of my life, the beginning of my junior year. After years of battling with Ed, he jeopardized my life more than ever by leading me to the day I planned to kill myself.

Ed and I had a familiar routine. Eat. Drink. Binge. Purge. Restrict. Then return to normal for a day or two. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, this cycle was my ritual. Until one Saturday night, I blacked out and the next day, purged to the point where my body physically could not move anymore. Familiar with this cycle, I prepared myself for a tough couple of days to follow in which self-hatred and disgust would settle in as Ed told me how unworthy I was.

When I woke the next morning, I looked at myself and saw Ed glaring back at me. Ed told me I was disgusting. Ed told me that I was not enough nor will I ever be. Ed told me I was a failure and had no right to exist.

Monday, September 12, 2016. This was the day I planned to kill myself.

Ed had tired me to the point where I only heard his nonstop judgmental voice in my head. I had no more will to live, no more will to fight him. The rest of the morning I was numb, only listening to the thoughts of Ed in my head telling me I wasn’t enough, and that I was too disgusting to live. Later that day at lunch, I sat down with my best friend. When she asked how I was, I looked up, thoughts swirling in my head as I would for the first time speak up about Ed and break the silence. I whispered, “I don’t want to be alive anymore.” After that, something inside me broke. The rest of the afternoon was a blur. My friend got me back to her dorm where I laid for hours sobbing repeating, “I don’t want to be alive anymore, I don’t want to be here anymore, please make the pain stop.”

I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a week. A week living under the constant surveillance of nurses and therapists. The craziest feeling of all was being there because I was a danger to myself. We are taught to be afraid of strangers or crossing the street without looking both ways when we are young, but I never thought my greatest fear would be the reflection looking back at me in the mirror.

After being discharged from the hospital, I vowed to never take another day for granted. But soon that feeling started to dull, and Ed crept back in. Ed told me if I didn’t want to end up where I once was, that I must listen to him. Ed would make me enough. Ed would make me happy. The months that followed were a downhill spiral of trying to keep my feet under me but moving too fast to be able to stop. These months of denying I was under Ed’s control ruined relationships with my family and friends. It ruined work relationships and made me lose any and all motivation for things I once enjoyed. I was having everything stripped away from me, but I only felt in control when listening to Ed.

One day Ed’s grasp was a little loose and I was able to speak up for the second time, breaking down about what was going on with Ed and me. With the help of a family friend, I found The Renfrew Center, an eating disorder clinic where I could start getting better full-time right then. But there was no way in hell Ed was letting me go. Ed started whispering in my ear again. He told me lies and insecurities in order to sway me from getting help. He told me I would lose all my friends. He told me I would be an outcast in the program because I didn’t really have an eating disorder. He told me not to bother getting help since nothing was wrong with me.

I struggled between what the right decision was and what Ed was saying in my head. Even as Ed turned every area of my life upside down, I still could not imagine getting the help I so desperately needed. It took the love of close friends to make me want to get better. I wanted to be a better sister, daughter, friend, and girlfriend. My family, friends, and boyfriend are the reason I went into recovery. When I didn’t think I was enough, I knew that I wanted to be more for them. So after finals, I started treatment.

On December 21st, 2016, I started treatment at Renfrew Center where I would stay for 8 weeks.

My first night at Renfrew was very intimidating. Although all the women and the therapist were friendly and supportive, I was still scared to speak. Ed held my tongue even when I was in the company of those who would become the people who understood me most in the next few weeks. Throughout my time at Renfrew, I started opening up in the group sessions and to the individual women in the program. The groups would become my greatest outlet to defend myself against Ed. Never had I felt so safe and supported. I could open up and explore the twisted path Ed and I had walked for many years and finally feel safe enough to step away from Ed. After connecting with the women in ways Ed never had let me before and opening up to the therapist, I became stronger and happier.

I have never been one to write down the words I wanted to say—mostly because I never thought they had any worth to offer others. But after this journey, I wanted my experience told. I write these words to show that it does get better. I do not know if I will ever be fully free from Ed, but I do know now that as my voice gets stronger, his gets weaker. It is a long and strenuous road to recovery, and it did not come without prices. I severed relationships with some of the closest people in my life, becoming a hollow shell of the person I had been. I scarred my family. I had my worst semester in academics in college. I nearly lost my job. I nearly lost my life. All of this because Ed’s grasp grew tighter each day.

Nevertheless, I have made it here, with a full life ahead of me. For the first time I’m thinking of a future. Thinking about all the experiences I can enjoy without Ed in my ear. I never will forget the women and the therapist I met along the way, nor will I forget the lessons and tools they gave me to fight against Ed.

It has taken me years to get where I am and open up about the relationship between me and Ed. Eating disorders, just like mental illness, are not fun to talk about. They are uncomfortable, secretive and tiring. But this silent stigma that mental illness has surrounding it must go.

It takes one voice to start and show we are not alone.

So here is my story and here is my voice. Maybe you’ll understand the next time you see someone like me staring down at their plate with a miserable expression or a rigid, timid gate as they walk past Wismer’s stations. Because what you see is more than just a girl trying to eat a meal. What you really see is a girl battling against her own Ed, not just to eat this meal, but fighting for her life.

Cover Image Credit: Jon Sandler

Popular Right Now

30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
38692
views

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

My Love-Hate Relationship with Starbucks

This is my oh so wonderful experience at Starbucks during the week of midterms.

1171
views

When I usually go to Starbucks, I typically get the same type of drinks: carmel macchiato, chai tea latte, chestnut praline chai tea latte (which sadly is only a holiday drink), or a shaken black tea lemonade with light ice. However, sometimes a person just gets bored drinking the same three drinks over and over, so I thought, "Hey! lets get out of our comfort zone here pal and try something new." So I did I walked my tired stressed out self to Starbucks 10 minutes before my next class and ordered a tall cinnamon shortbread latte, I mean the description and other peoples comments about it made it sound super good.


assets.rbl.ms


As I was waiting for my drink I noticed that one of the baristas was having some issues with some type of syrup, but I thought that they would refill it and then add what they need, and that one probably wasn't even mine. When they did that, I saw them get a new jug of syrup and I went back onto my phone and to try and plan how I was going to get through this midterms week.

Quick info about midterms: everyone is dead, and everyone is stressed. Us college students literally live off of caffeine during midterms week. If you're lucky like me you are at school from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., so the caffeine is really needed.


assets.rbl.ms


Now soon after I saw the new jug come, my name was called. I grabbed my drink and walked like the walking zombie I was to my next class. I went in for my first drink I was so excited to have this sweet taste of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee...but what I got was the opposite. It literally tasted like a very burnt somewhat coffee and cinnamon edible without the marijuana affects, or for the non-edible people, a very bad tasting cookie that was missing all the sugar. I was not a happy camper one bit, but I was going to drink it anyway because I payed $4 for this coffee. I struggled drinking this during my writing class because it tasted terrible, but then out of no where I got this hit of sweet — I was drinking the sweet vanilla and the sweet cinnamon part of my drink minus the majority of the coffee since I was 3/4 done with the drink. I was seriously crying on the inside because I didn't get to enjoy this drink the way I needed.


c1.staticflickr.com

Then the realization hit me: 1. They probably didn't add in the missing parts of the syrup once it got refilled since they suddenly got busy. 2. They did not stir that drink one bit because all the syrup was literally at the bottom of the cup. If they did these, then the problem wouldn't have happened.

This is not the first time this has happened to me having all the syrup at the bottom of the cup at a Starbucks. Its not like I am able to swish it around myself because it is full to the top and I don't want hot coffee poured or splashed on my hand. Also, most people are on-the-go while they are drinking their coffee or doing other things. I have only had this issue at Starbucks and never at any other place have I had this issue like Anthem Coffee.


So can Starbucks just agree to always mix their drinks? So that the zombie college kids during midterms have good coffee to keep them alive?


media1.giphy.com

Related Content

Facebook Comments