I suffered from and eating disorder for many years. My intention now is to become an eating disorder recovery coach. Here is a short story of my journey.
My ed started in about 4th or 5th grade after another one of our moves. I started spending all my allowance on candy and stashing it in my room. I also started playing sick from school so I could stay home and eat while everyone was gone. This continued even after we moved again to Washington and lasted through Middle school. High School was the first time I went to the same school for more than a year.
During High school the anorexia and excessive exercise started but not at dangerous levels. That started after high school where I would go days without eating, used diet pills, water pills and laxatives. When I started passing out a lot I started eating and gained a lot of weight quickly which now I realize was water weight but at the time I thought it was just fat. So back came the anorexia but just with laxatives this time.
When my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer I was 23. He and I had a love/hate relationship where I never felt worthy of being. I really went down hill quickly after that because I felt guilty that he was dying and I was living. I moved back home to help my Mom take care of him because he wanted to stay at home to die. He died when I was 24 and I continued to live with my mom until I was 34 thinking I was helping her out but really it was my way of hiding from the world and continuing my ed. During this time I also added bulimia with bingeing and purging once or twice a week.
My weight had hit an all time low and I was taking so many laxatives that my electrolytes were totally out of whack. My feet, ankles and calves started swelling and hurting so much I had to start walking with a cane. I finally decided to see a foot doctor because I was sure it was my feet, total denial of ed. The minute he looked at my feet and ankles he said there was something seriously wrong and sent me to get a blood test. The next day he called me and said that I was lucky to be alive and if I didn't find a doctor right away he would find one for me.
That was my moment of truth, if I didn't do something now, someone else was going to do it for me and I might actually die from this. I went to the dr. and she wanted to hospitalize me immediately but I wouldn't go. So we made a deal, I would come in daily, have my blood checked and an IV at her office if needed for a week. If she didn't see improvement I had to go. Well, of course I made sure it got better. Then it was every other day for 2 months, then 2 times a week, then once a week. She put me through every test you can think of, I had heart, lung, eye, brain, urinary tract, female, bone density, cat scans and whatever else she could throw in.
I ended up having lost an inch and a half in height from osteoporosis, a kidney stone that filled my entire right kidney, I hadn't had a period since about age 20, my lungs had fluid in them and my heart had an irregular beat, no surprise. During this time I ended up hospitalized twice because of my electrolytes, each time for a week. I had to be on oxygen, heart monitors and IV's, no fun. I started therapy and then my insurance insisted I add in a psychiatrist. After 2 years they also insisted I start an out patient support group which led to 2 in patient and 2 Intensive out patient treatments through an ed hospital.
After about 5 years worth of all of this I decided ok, enough is enough, grow up and accept recovery, I'm sick of all of this. So I spent 2 years doing everything I could to make sure I didn't have to go through anymore crap. At 42 I met my husband, we married when I was 43 and the rest is history. I never had any children of my own but I have 2 step children. I never followed through with my dream of being a teacher which is what I wanted since I was a little girl. I didn't date from age 23 until 42 when I met my husband. So, I guess you could say I had a lot of wasted life!
Now, my life’s purpose is to help others recover and enjoy all of the life they have missed. There is so much beyond an eating disorder to experience. Learning to identify and feel these emotions is a major part of recovery.