I am all about being happy and feeling good. Life is short and you have to enjoy it! I try to eat well, I exercise regularly and I take medications only if there is no other option. The main reason why this is so important to me is because when I was a freshman in high school, I became anorexic.
I am the oldest of three. I have two younger brothers whom I love more than anything. Although I had (and still have) a great relationship with my brothers, growing up had its challenges. I was definitely a perfectionist and to make matters worse my dad was very verbally abusive when we were younger. I didn’t really know how to handle all the negativeness and I just kept it deep inside trying to not let it affect me. Ultimately, I never felt good enough because I always did things wrong (in my dad’s eyes).
I had a great experience in middle school and I had a lot of friends but when I became a freshman everyone changed. I didn’t have any friends in any of my classes, I stopped getting invited to events and eventually I became very lonely. On top of that, my parents were fighting a lot and it was very stressful for my brothers and I. I was also very stressed about school. Finally being in high school, I knew my grades were going to have to be good so I could get into a good college. All these things keep piling up inside of me and I didn’t have any way to solve them, talk with anyone about or any healthy way to cope with them.
Because my friends were basically non-existent, I spent most of my lunches in the bathroom crying but one day in the middle of the year I decided to be brave and go find my friends from middle school during lunch. I went into the commons, founds some friends, sat down and within 30 seconds everyone got up and left. I was devastated.
In my head I was like okay, obviously I’m ugly. Maybe if I was skinnier I would be prettier and if I were prettier they would like me.
So I began cutting all but 5 grams of fat out my diet. I don’t know where that number came from, it is what I just decided I was going to do. Then, I started working out harder, and I quickly became a fan of fitness magazines. Then those magazines taught me about calories. I started obsessing over calories and I started to measure all of my food. I counted everything! Eventually, every single second of every single day, all I could think about was food and how I looked. Because I was only 14 years old, 5′ 6″ and 125 pounds, I quickly lost weight. My mom noticed and weighed me one day. Sure enough I had lost quite a few pounds and she was beyond frustrated. I was a very healthy girl and I was still growing, there is no reason I should have lost weight. My mom took me to the doctor a week later and I lost even more weight. My pediatrician looked at me told, then looked at my mom and said, “She needs to gain weight.” Immediately, I saw red.
When you are anorexic there are two sides to you. One side that knows exactly what you are doing is dangerous and that you could severely hurt yourself, possibly even kill yourself. Then there is the other side that says, “you’re still not skinny enough, still not pretty enough, still not good enough.”
When the doctor told me I needed to gain weight I fell into an anorexia black hole. That bad side completely took over and I was consumed with eating, calories, food and weight.
My parents made me get some counseling and at the time they were seeing a marriage counselor. He had never worked with anyone with an eating disorder before but he agreed to work with me. Over the nine months that I saw him, he helped me to figure out why I became anorexic. It was to cope with all my loneliness and stress. We had made a lot of progress emotionally and mentally but physically I was still losing weight.
At this point my counselor was ready to put me in the hospital because I was so thin and not gaining any weight. I knew that if I was hospitalized I would die because I would have felt more alone. We decided to go see our pastor and when we went to see him all he wanted to do was lay hands on me and pray. I wasn’t expecting this but it was too late to leave. As soon as he began praying, my mind and my heart did a 180 degree turn.
When they prayed over me that good side took over and slowly but surely I started to get better. I went to another counselor and I met a nutritionist who taught me how to eat again because at that point in my head food was the enemy and I had totally forgotten how everything worked. I slowly gained weight back to a healthy size. It took about a year and a half for me to get back up to a healthy weight.
Overcoming anorexia was was of the hardest things I have ever had to do but it was so worth the fight. I know how precious life is and how important it is to enjoy it. Life isn’t perfect and neither are you. Only Jesus is!