Comorbidity Is Real, People: Alcohol And Anorexia

Comorbidity Is Real, People: Alcohol And Anorexia

It's like putting together gasoline and a flame, not the best idea

I'm sure as we all know, attending college on its own is a pain in the you know what...but attending college with an Eating Disorder? Don’t even get me started. I struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia ever since sophomore year of high school and went through treatment my senior year. I thought my journey through treatment would be the hardest thing I'd ever go through, but boy was I wrong.

I spent my summer before college living the life I always wished I could live during the darkest days of Anorexia. Just months out of the program, I went out, drank, partied, and allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. Bottom line, Alcohol equaled eating without thinking. During the day, although making great progress in my recovery, disordered thoughts surrounded me when it came to each meal. At night, when I was out with my friends and alcohol was in the mix, there was no limit to what I could eat. During this time, I had no idea I had a problem; I was just doing what everyone else around me was doing, sipping and having fun. Because of my experience with alcohol in the summer, I thought I was an expert when it came time to drinking in college. This is when it all went spiralling downhill.

Think about the stress that comes with beginning college and multiply that by infinity. That's what I felt. I had to figure out how to adjust to a completely new life while also adjusting to the still lingering Eating Disorder. My first night out at school, I blacked out. I thought this would be a one time thing thanks to my excitement around beginning a new chapter. Once again, I was utterly wrong. Drunk nights turned into days, and days turned into weeks. Any opportunity I had, I would drink. In the back of my mind I knew that my consumption was because I could finally eat without guilt, but I convinced myself it was because I was in college and that's what everyone did. Not only did alcohol help curb my anxiety around food, it gave me the confidence I never had. I was able to love myself, reduce my social anxiety, and on top of that, EAT? Sign me up.

Each morning after a blackout, I would promise myself and those around me that I would try to never black out again. I would monitor my consumption and make sure that I wasn't falling asleep in a bin of food before bed. I lied. The hardest part about this was that although the vodka may have kicked anxiety's butt while I was shoving food in my mouth the night before, it was one hundred times worse the next morning when I realized what I had consumed before. Knowing the damage the Eating Disorder and I had done, I wouldn't allow myself to eat all day until it was time to drink again the next night. I couldn't afford to eat anything when I was sober because I wasn't sure what would be consumed when drunk.

The vicious cycle continued for months, starving all day, drinking and eating all night, waking up in a random person's room covered in regret the next morning only to remember nothing. Not only were my friends getting tired of playing mom and waking up to texts asking what happened the night before, but I was getting tired of feeling like I was hit by a bus of guilt. My grades suffered, my relationships suffered, and my body suffered. The number one issue that came with this was the fact that I had no idea I had a problem. I had no time to realize there was an issue because the second I was sober again, I would drink. Any opportunity I had to fill my void and to allow my mind to be free, I would use alcohol to do it. A food truck at school? Let's drink for it. A talent show with food at it? Let's drink for it. A night in on a Wednesday? Lets drink for it.

Before I knew it, I looked in the mirror and saw someone I didn't recognize. My face was swollen, my body was stretched out, my eyes were sunken, and who knows what was going on inside. My body had suffered enough while struggling with Anorexia; alcohol could have only made it worse. Oh and did I mention that purging didn't stop either? When I wasn't able to become drunk enough to forget what I ate, my good friend Bulimia would ease my mind. No one knew that I was thinking this. Yes, people saw my actions while drunk. But only I was aware of the deeper issue.

I had learned the hard way. I entered college without being fully recovered. I used alcohol as a new form of control because I no longer could control my eating. I was still starving and the only thing that would cure my starvation was alcohol. It took an entire year for me to take a step back and look at my reflection and realize what I had done. I barely remembered my first year of college. How could I let a year go and end it to only remember the hangovers? I remembered what I went through to get from my lowest weight to where I was before entering college - the effort I put into recovery. I needed to find that strong person again and fight two times harder. It took time, a lot of time. I can’t say exactly what helped me stop relying on alcohol to eat each meal, but I believe in balance. Everything happens for a reason and I know now, that I am sober, that what I struggled with was a test of God that I failed before I passed. Each person likes to have control in a different way, and I used alcohol to feel control when the Eating Disorder could no longer do so. I know now that I don't need to drink to feel comfortable with myself, I know now that I can still drink without having to black out and be able to eat, and I know now that although recovery is hard, it is worth it. I’ll never get back my freshman year of college but I know that getting better allowed me to live the next few years to the best of my ability.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.


When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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