Do you know what it means to die? To be dying?
Not the, "Oh-we're-all-dying-once-we're-born" dying, but to lay in bed at night and feel your body giving up? Looking at a doctor emotionless as they tell you, you won't see the end of the year?
I hated everything. I hated the world I was living in and I hated myself. I hated what I was doing to my body, my mind, my soul. Because of all the guilt and hatred, it drove me to do it more.
Kinda dumb right?
Get over it. Grow up. Get over yourself. Weight is just a number. If you think you're fat, what do you think of me? Being bulimic is better than being anorexic right? You're scared of a certain food? You won't eat this only because you're picky, you actually like this. You just want attention.
I could continue on and on. I hear it all- between conversations of people who had no idea I was suffering, and from conversations between people who knew I was. My eating disorder wasn't a diet gone wrong, my eating disorder was a suicide note that I didn't want to write. Some are in letters, mine was in numbers.
I didn't have control in my life, and my disorder was a perfect fix for that. I believed that if I controlled one of the only things I could- my eating- then I would develop some kind of satisfaction and handle on my life. I was really really wrong.
I was already sad, already struggling. Not eating and throwing up only threw off my chemicals even more. I lost my hair at an alarming rate, I watched my teeth become stained from acid, and bruises covered my body. I was dying and I was okay with it.
I hid from the dinner table, my friends and family. I would sneak out of bed and binge alone at midnight, at uncontrollable rates. I developed lies as to why I wasn't at lunch in high school, or at team bondings, with pizza and cake, I would lie that I had already eaten. Food terrified me. My eating disorder terrified me, especially when I realized I wasn't in control anymore.
What I thought about my deteriorating self-image had nothing to do with anybody else, and my disorder definitely wasn't for attention. I just wanted to disappear. Existing hurt. Nobody knew about my problem for a really long time, but there were a few nights I would cry into my pillow hoping someone would notice that I wasn't okay anymore.
It wasn't that I didn't have enough energy to pretend that I was a happy teenager, it was just the fact that I was so depleted of anything, It was hard for me to pick up my pencil and write on paper, the pencil was bruising my fingers.
My eating disorder stole everything from me. My friends, my family, my happiness. It made me isolate myself and shove everything I was feeling deeper inside myself. The only release I ever found was throwing up in a bathroom and it became addicting. I was addicted to the pain because it was the only thing I could feel.
I sat in the doctor's office yet another week, in a gown because they didn't trust me in my clothes when they weighed me. They covered the scale so I couldn't see the weight, and I had to weight alone while they looked over my weight and blood work.
I thought I was strong because I was losing weight, controlling the food I did and didn't eat. I thought I had some kind of power because I learned how to roll over in bed and ignore the pain, I was becoming deaf to life.
All I wanted was to hear again.
When the doctor came in, I started crying. I cried for every night I made myself alone, I cried for every missed meal, ever binged meal, and I cried for every second I spent with my fingers down my throat. I cried for my missing hair, my scabbed and chapped lips. My frail skin.
I cried for the life I knew I wasn't going to have if I continued doing this.
I was hugged for the first time when it came acknowledging my eating disorder and after FIVE years of battling, I agreed to start treatment.
I had to learn what it meant to be strong all over again. I think I cried in my recovery more than my suffering- I cried over meals I had to eat. I cried in the bathroom as I stared at the toilet in an agonizing war with myself about what to do. I cried about my caloric intake, and I cried about gaining the weight I had spent years losing.
I had to learn how to be social around food all over again. I had to learn that my body was unique and special in its own way and I can't compare it to someone else's. I had to learn that food wasn't going to kill me.
I needed some kind of outlet, some kind of control again. So I walked into a gym and had no idea what to do. I would watch people lift weights, and it grossed me out. Who would want to be manly like that? So I'd hop on the elliptical for half an hour and do some crappy online ab workout.
It was a start to something. I was moving, and looking at my body. I was taking time to myself away from my sports team, to focus on the body I tried to erase for most of life. But I was weak from the muscle loss of my disorder. I was frail, and cardio wasn't helping me.
So I picked up weights and copied movements of the people I saw. At night I would look up workouts instead of staring at food and I worked with my nutritionist on what to eat to help my body grow in the most healthy way possible.
If I was going to put on weight, I wanted it to be weight I approved of.
As my strength physically grew, so did I mentally and emotionally. The more I loved my body and put love into it, the more it shaped and molded to what I wanted. I began to see healthy, killer results.
I have put thousands of hours into killing my body. I have now put thousands of hours into loving my body, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
My story isn't the same for everyone. My disorder will be one that will follow me throughout my whole life, and it is something I plan on handling safely.
What I ask of you, is to love yourself.
Love your body, your mind, and your soul. And when you see somebody suffering, love them too. Be kind and wise with your words about another person's body and thoughts. Never comment on somebody's appearance if it can't be changed in two minutes. Let that person eat a salad, a cheeseburger, or that whole dang pizza.
An eating disorder isn't a choice. I didn't choose to cry a night, lose my hair, my teeth, and my mind. I didn't choose to shy away from mirrors, refrain from prom dress shopping with friends, or swimming- my mental illness prevented me from choosing normal, teenage activities.
I needed a nutritionist, a doctor, and therapy to be shown I am more than a number and more than an illness. I am not bulimic. I have Bulimia Nervosa, and I am recovering.
February 23rd- March 1st is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and the week I choose to talk to the world about what I talk about to myself every single day. End the stigma around mental illness, please.
If you Think you may have an eating disorder or need someone to talk to, call this number