Words: Madhu Lal
Most eating disorder victims remember a time before their disorder, one where they were happy and healthy. They also tend to never forget the perils brought on by this disease.
One Centennial student, who will remain anonymous, has not forgotten the struggles she faced every day when dealing with her bulimia and anorexia. This student started out as a healthy young teen, but things changed when she entered the eighth grade. She started to get called names like “thunder thighs.” She also recollects her parents constantly telling her that if she kept eating, she would get fat. She had this ideal body image, where she wanted be a “perfect” size zero.
To reach her ideal weight she went to extremes, using laxatives, fasting, restricting food, and purging to keep the weight off. The 15-year-old teen explained that during the worst point of her eating disorder, she hated herself so much that she started to harm herself. The girl said, “…the voices in my head kept telling me that I was worthless and fat, and if I ate I would get bigger.” She felt suicidal like, “life wasn’t worth living.” She explained every time she would eat, even if it were a snack, she would feel like a, “disgusting failure.” At this point in her life, her weight fluctuated drastically, about 25 pounds, due to binges that would take place some days. During these binges, she would eat endless amounts of food and then go back to restricting her diet.
Her academic grades began to plummet, and she started to isolate herself. She said, “[It] felt like nothing mattered, and no one would understand.” She pushed everyone away and the thoughts of suicide took up almost every waking minute of her life. When she wasn’t thinking of suicide, she was thinking of ways to hide food, and get out of participating in family meals and food-related events.
The more meals that she skipped, the thinner she became, as her weight dropped so did her mood. She became depressed and started to self-harm. A few months into her eating disorder, she plummeted to an all-time low weight of 95 pounds, which meant she dropped 30 pounds in just 28 weeks. After suffering for a while, her parents finally found out about her condition after noticing the scars on her wrists and her skeletal form. She finally got help and received therapy once a week. However, this didn’t help her situation and she kept shedding the pounds. Her parents were forced to take her to Sheppard Pratt, a psychiatric hospital, where she got therapy, medication and interacted with other patients with eating disorders.
Some extreme triggers were tumblr and TV, which glorified thigh gaps and eating disorders. She explained a website she found through tumblr that was a pro-anorexia website. This site gave tips and tricks for starving yourself. The people on this site are so obsessed with their chosen lifestyle that they refer to anorexia as “Goddess Ana.” When she saw this site, she was infuriated, “Why would anyone glorify this? I don’t want to be like this, I’m ashamed.”
After getting out of the hospital a few weeks later, she was sentenced to weigh-ins every 2 weeks. If any weight was lost, she was to be admitted back into Sheppard Pratt. The girl explained, “There was no way I’m was going back.” This was where her recovery really began. She realized that she needed to eat and pushed herself to ignore the voices telling her she was fat. As a substitute for her previous behavior, she now chooses to embrace the love and affection her parents and friends draped her in.
This year, the strong sophomore is almost recovered, and she said she’s finally learned to love herself and, “accept the body God had given me.” She said joining school sports really help with her eating because she knew that without food, she wouldn’t have the energy to do her best and win games. Now this beautiful girl is getting all A’s and B’s in school and has surrounded herself with many loving friends; she now feels more confident in herself, and sees a bright future where she is happy and free from the chains of an eating disorder.
If you or a loved one might be suffering from an eating disorder, visit http://www.anad.org.