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Eating Disorder Stories

My Story of Anorexia by Mary

Hello to all--my name is Mary and I've had anorexia for 13 years. My road to recovery has been about 8 years long. I am also a graduate student in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois. I'm writing a two-part post to introduce you to both of these--often conflicting--aspects of "me."

My anorexia became full blown at 13. I battled food issues for years before that, however. Mom was always on one diet or another, and I often was hooked into becoming her dieting partner--and oftentimes, competitor. Both of our food struggles, I see now, only diverted our--and the entire family's--attention from the emotional turmoil permeating our household. Being the oldest of 2 girls (both my sister and I were adopted as infants) I became the convenient whipping post for my parent's outbursts of anger, insecurities, and god knows what else. I was hit a lot and verbally abused--maybe even more that (I have been told by therapist that sexual abuse is a strong possibility). Although I remember very little of my childhood, I *do* recall--in general terms--always being yelled at, blamed, hit, disciplined or criticized. An easy alliance to form with my mom, however, came from the dieting.

At puberty, at "lucky 13", my parents cracked down and tried to totally control my life--my friends, my boyfriend, my schedule, *everything*. That control pushed me over the edge. Dieting and over-exercising became an obsession for me. I dropped 25 lbs. in about a month...my parents thought it resulted from an operation I underwent to have my WISDOM TEETH removed, after which I couldn't eat much (talk about denial!). Another important part of my drive to starve was REVENGE. I delighted in seeing my parents' reactions to my starving. It was a mixture of anger (because they couldn't control it) and fear/hurt/pain (a fine exchange, IMO, for all the pain they caused me). I no longer felt fully in touch with my emotions...but a part of me, I know, not only *wanted* to starve (for control reasons), but felt I *deserved* to (for self-hate reasons). I spent the most of my adolescence (and beyond) suppressing my feelings or journaling them.

To speed things up a bit here, I was forced into an inpatient treatment program (in a hospital in central WI) at 15. I gained 10 lbs., and was out in a month. Virtually no changes had occurred. I simply kept my anorexia in check, as to not be hospitalized again. Two additional years of high school and 2 more years of college passed before I was ready to face reality--that I had merely managed to maintain my low weight and hadn't faced any core issues related to the AN. I started counseling my 3rd year of college, and after my fourth/final year decided to admit myself to another in-patient program (someone awhile back mentioned Park Ridge Hospital in NC...that's where I went). After a month there, I made several major breakthroughs, and considered myself on the road to recovery. I continued to follow that road upon coming to graduate school by finding a private therapist and support group. After 3 years of that support, my therapist moved away and my support group dissolved. With their help, I had managed to arrive at a healthy weight, dramatically curb my over-exercising, get on a balanced meal plan, forever forgo diet pills, and, most importantly, START LOVING MYSELF.

However, I am troubled now, as I've lost some of the ground I gained. I haven't been in therapy for several years, nor have I had anyone with whom I might jointly and *actively* pursue recovery (I have received *vital* support from a few close friends, yet it is my firm believe that recovery *happens* in discussions among those who KNOW what it's like!). I've even stopped journaling about my ED, as it stirred up more emotions than I felt equipped to handle alone. The big issues for me right now is my eating (I'm not eating balanced meals) and a deep-seated self-hatred. Besides my eating and self-hatred, there are two core issues I have barely scratched the surface of--my fear/terror of abandonment and my seemingly bottomless pit of rage. So, although I'm not wraithlike anymore, I feel truly overwhelmed by these four issues lots of times. I would like to try to deal with these issues here on the group, and offer any insight that I can to the issues everyone else is struggling with, as well.

The issues I'm dealing with, to be sure, GREATLY impact the "academic" aspect of myself, to which I referred above. I will continue with that story in a separate post, as this introduction is already VERY long....I would greatly appreciate it if you could (possibly!) continue reading on....I have been waiting about 1 1/2 years to introduce myself to you all, so that's why I have so much to say!!!!

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