Trigger warning: The following blog post talks about my experiences with eating disorder behavior. If you are in recovery or are currently in the midst of the disorder this could trigger thoughts or behaviors. Proceed with caution, dear friend.
My eating disorder…
It’s something I haven’t really discussed on the blog just yet. It’s one of those things that I either blurt out or take my time with it. In this instance I’ve been taking my time. Sure so far on the blog I’ve been talking about my journey as a Miscarriage Mama. I’ve been healing that area of my life. I’m feeling stronger with that portion these days. I’m feeling called to share more about my journey through this life with you, and what I’m working on right now is my eating disorder.
At the age of ten I was 5’2”, had developed some rather grown up curves, and was struggling with the fact that all of my friends were still in undershirts with spindly legs, meanwhile I was in a full B nearly C cup bra. I looked more like a teenager than a ten year old. But what I was seeing was someone who had a teenager body that was still coated in a thick layer of baby fat. I hated my body. I hated that everyone noticed my body was different. I hated that the mean boys would comment on my curves and comment on my fat. I hated that I felt like I just didn’t fit in. Now, as an adult, I can look back and acknowledge that really that’s how most ten year olds are feeling. Tweens feel all kinds of awkward nearly 100% of the time.
For me feeling this level of awkward sent me looking for control. But I was ten years old…what on earth does a ten year old have control over!?!? My body. I could control what I ate. I could lose this layer of baby fat. If I tried hard enough I could make my body skinny and small like my friends. It started slowly. I simply stopped eating lunch at school. Instead of bringing bag lunch I’d ask for lunch money. Telling my parents I was just getting hot lunch. Then I stopped eating breakfast in the morning. I wasn’t much of a breakfast person anyhow, I wasn’t much of a morning person. I’m still not. I’d eat enough dinner to make it look like I was eating. I started losing weight. People started noticing. People started saying how good I looked. I was winning. I had control. I was miserable. I was anxious. I was starving. When you’re starving you feel sick.
I was sick. I had always struggled with migraines…even as a little kid…I actually have a migraine right now as I am writing this…, but my migraines got worse the more I starved myself. With some migraines a symptom can be craving certain foods, feeling like eating will help the migraine go away. I was finding with each migraine I was craving food and lots of it (in retrospect I was craving food also because I was starving myself). This began my binge/purge cycles. I would starve all day at school, come home with a terrible migraine, crave food, binge, and then throw up. As long as the food wasn’t in me all that long the calories wouldn’t’ stick right? The disordered mind will tell itself some really creative lies.
This behavior continued all the way through high school only by then I was also taking diet pills, doing cleanses, and exercising obsessively…often to the point of injury. It wasn’t until college that I started trying to get a handle on it…and even then I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and my body. In all honesty I still do. I’ve fallen on and off the wagon more times than I can count. I’m currently in a phase of wrestling with disordered thoughts and through sheer will of not wanting to spin out of control again and my literal earth angel therapists I’m managing those thoughts. It’s not easy though and I’m walking a very fine line.
Every day I hear the disorder talking. Every day I have to tell it to shut up. Every day I’m taking a baby step towards a healthier relationship with my body, mind, and self. Every day I say to myself “You are 36 years old. It’s time to love yourself. 26 years of this disordered thinking is 26 years too many”. I’m learning to treat my body with kindness. I’m learning to engage in joyful movement instead of punishing exercise. I’m learning to nourish myself in a balanced way. I’m eating breakfast…and I regularly talk about it in therapy, because man…it totally freaks me out! But I’m doing it, little by little.
If you too have struggled with your body, struggled with an eating disorder, struggled with simply loving yourself, please know that my heart is with you. I may not know what your exact experience has felt like, but I can sympathize through my own experience. If you need a shoulder to lean on, mine are here.
If you are struggling currently with an eating disorder I encourage you to find a therapist or program that specializes in eating disorders and allow them to help you navigate these, at times quite challenging waters. If you aren’t sure who to call contact The National Eating Disorder Association at (800) 931-2237 or visit their website at nationaleatingdisorders.org they will be able to help you find the resources you need.
All my love,