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Reply #30: I say "had" because I have been eating [View All]

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Left Is Write Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-05 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. I say "had" because I have been eating
normally for well over twenty years. Still, I don't believe the tendency to eating disorders is ever 100% eradicated, so I do watch myself carefully for signs of obsessive behavior regarding nutrition.

I was thirteen when I developed anorexia, although I did not know the word and did not realize I had an "eating disorder."

This was in junior high, my eighth grade year, but I think the seeds were set in seventh grade when I entered junior high school. It was a completely different world for me than elementary school had been. Kids who had been my friends previously turned on me. I was bullied, taunted, and one girl in particular was especially vicious. I had no idea how to deal with the treatment I received. I wish I had told someone about it - my mom, a teacher, somebody. Maybe I was ashamed, I don't know. But I kept it in.

I didn't know I was getting obsessive, and I don't remember the exact way it started. I remember that, in the midst of all the bullying I endured, the one positive thing that was ever remarked on was that I was thin. I suppose it started as a desire to keep that one thing my peers evidently found to be good. My food intake dwindled down to virutally nothing. I kept a detailed diary every day - how much I weighed, how much exercise I did, and any morsel that passed my lips. Toward the end of this, I was existing on 1/2 cup of Rice Krispies with 1/4 cup of skim milk every day. That was all. I also remember one time being offered an M&M and feeling self-loathing after I "allowed" myself to eat it.

At supper, I was getting away with not eating by the classic pushing the food around, occasionally putting the fork in my mouth, and dumping a lot of the food.

I knew my mother was worried, but I suppose she didn't know what it was either. I know she suspected I wasn't eating, and frequently offered to fix me a snack. When my dad took us to the amusement park that summer, he wanted to buy treats for everyone (us five kids and a couple of our friends), and he was very puzzled that I didn't want an ice cream cone. I always loved ice cream.

My mom eventually sat me down and told me she was worried and wanted to take me to the doctor. She asked the doctor how she could get me to put on 40 pounds. He said, "Oh, she's just a kid. She'll gain weight when she's ready," and that was all. I weighed just 69 pounds.

Mom never fought with me to eat. That day after the doctor, we went home and she went into the kitchen and made me a cheese omelet and toast. She sat next to me while I tried to eat it, but I got full after only two bites. My mom started to cry - and for my mother to cry, it's very very serious. I had only seen her cry once before, and then was when my grandfather died.

She said she knew something was horribly wrong (and again, we had never heard of eating disorders and didn't know that what I was doing had a name), but she didn't know how to help me. She asked if I was unhappy about something. And then I told her about what was happening at school, especially about the one girl who was the ringleader.

You know, I'm sitting here typing this, and it's like I'm back in that moment, feeling tears well up that I don't want to have fall. It's a strange thing, this reminiscing.

Anyway, my parents wanted to pull me out of school and place me somewhere else, but honestly, that scared me more than staying put. At least at my school, I had one or two friends. At a new school, I wouldn't have any...and I was afraid people there would hate me too.

Far from an unhappy home life, my home was the only place I really WAS happy for a long time.

Learning to allow myself to eat again was a slow process, and we didn't have any professional help. But I did have people telling me that I mattered, and that my feelings mattered, and it was such an enormous burden off my shoulders to have shared with my folks what was really going on.

By the time I reached high school in 10th grade, I was eating normally and was up to about 100 pounds. I had a best friend, and I was able to shed most of the baggage from junior high. I say "most" because I never really shed all of it.

After my son was born and then finished nursing, I had some extra weight left from the pregnancy and nursing. I had to relearn nutrition and exercise all over again, and now I could be considered something of an exercise fanatic. I lost 25 pounds last year, and I'm telling you, the temptation to keep going was almost frightening. I suppose if I'd had any emotional issues going on in my life at the time, I may have succumbed to that temptation. Fortunately, I'm emotionally healthy and was able to recognize the danger signs when they hit. I have managed to maintain my weight loss healthfully without crossing the line into obsession. But I always have to be aware. And it's not always easy.

Thanks for listening, and I hope I don't decide later I shared too much of what is really quite personal.
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