I was one walking skinny ass with dissolving muscles. However, in the mirror and according to my mind, I was one fat cow who simply had not done well enough, had not restricted hard enough. To me, I was constantly failing at life. Something was always wrong, something was always chubby, and my pant size was always too big, or so I thought. It got to the point that none of my jeans fit, and my naturally skinny roommate had to give me her old size double zeros. I practically tear up looking back now at how shaming that is on myself and how cruel I was to my body.

I always woke up early in the morning after not sleeping all night. My first thought, food. What could I not eat that day, and what did I deserve if I did work out, full out. Few thoughts came to my mind on what I actually would eat, but many precarious thoughts came to my mind on what I wanted to eat. Internally starving, I would run to let go of the hunger, I would lift to diminish my appetite. My body was my own favorite hobby; it was sick.

I ended up dropping out of school, moving home, and moving from Maryland to Mississippi with my parents, as a follower who could not take care of herself. I never will admit to it, but I know staying alone would not solve anything. There are some 2/3’s of the US population overweight, and just so be it, I moved to the fattest of them all, smack dab along the Bible belt. The weather in Mississippi is warm and hot for an abundant part of the year. Sadly, I could not lie in the sun because if I got wet or the sun went behind a cloud, I got goose bumps. I spent days and nights in massive layers of blankets. I wore leggings under sweat pants. Being in a new state meant I knew nobody, and at the time I had no desire to go out and meet people. I wanted and loved being by myself because I could think about and count food calories all day. This gave me more time to obsess. If I were around people, I had a fear food would be brought up. Someone may question my food, my body and my silence. If there is one thing you never want to talk to an anorexic about it is her food, her body and her attitude. I know in my heart my food is weird, I know it is not normal. I don’t need to be told by someone else. I know you think I’m skinny, but really, I’m huge you just don’t see what I see. Aint that the truth, no one can see what I see even to this day. Pictures say a thousand words and I often look to them for a reality check. I have this constant and agonizing fear that one bite, that’s all it takes, one bite of unsafe food and I will be 300 lbs tomorrow. One bite will send me in an unstoppable eating frenzy. This simple fact is my BIGGEST fear in the entire world. I have experienced anxiety attacks because of food, cried over food, and starved myself of food.    

When you physically, psychologically, and physiologically starve yourself for so long of the nutrients and abilities your body needs to perform and simply be alive and functioning, you lose a huge part of yourself. My perception on food is forever changed due to anorexia. I will for the rest of my life look at people who “just eat.” I cannot tell you how many times I have been told to “just eat” or “just have some, it won’t kill you.” But to me, in my mind, it is death; I’m dead where I stand. Recovery has led me to eat to live because I want life more than the torment and anxiety anorexia comes with. I won’t be able to ever ‘just eat.’ If you’ve been a soldier, imagine the fear the first time you pulled the trigger on your M-16; the first time you are in battle and you take another persons life. If you are claustrophobic, imagine being suffocated by a pillowcase over your head. The anticipation and fear cause my skin to flush, heart to race, and hands to shake. Just writing about it here and now, I feel my stomach turn and face get warm- unsafe food is equivalent to death. I know logically that what I feel and think is all irrational. Look at normal people, who can eat one cookie from a tray and be on their way. I couldn’t do that, I fear I would want the whole tray. My solution is to ignore it. To me, anything that I won’t eat is simply not food.

At my worst I was in countless layers of clothes on and this layer of “fur” over my body as it attempted to keep itself warm. I guess that made up for the hair on my head I lost during this time as well.

In a skyrocketing manner, I slipped into the severely underweight category upon moving to Mississippi after dropping out of college in Maryland, and at the time, I was full of life. I loved being successful at being underweight, I was full of this fake euphoric-like energy and just one shot of Bacardi had me tipsy. The drinking allowed me to ease my mind, and forget about obsessing.  At one point, to get the scale below 100, I cut exercise from my diet, knowing that muscle weighs more than fat. It worked. Then came even more desire for perfectionism and obsession. None of the double zero jeans fit me, I was freezing, my hair was falling out, and I could not go to bed without a heating pad on my stomach. I even got a heated electrical blanket that year of Christmas.  

In all this I have come to admit my compulsive nature as well.  I need to do well, and I need to “do it right”. Well I got the weight, scale and eating thing to what I thought was right, almost right down to my grave. I got myself down to **lbs at one point. I look like a diseased person, teetering on the scale of survival. If you can imagine experiencing every single emotion at one time, I did it this morning. I was wildly confused, anxious, scared, overjoyed and surely anticipating my death.  And I do believe I was just that. I remember being scared shitless the day I stepped on the scale and it read the lowest number I had ever seen. I finally broke. I thought WHAT AM I DOING TO MYSELF?

            This is when my life started getting very strange. I remember a scary story and it all makes sense to me why my parents flipped in fear on me one day. I use to have these dreams when I was teetering survival at my lowest weight and there was always this little blonde haired girl in them. Well the first time I blew it off, but as it repeated itself I eventually told my mom. I mentioned there is this little blonde hair girl in my dreams lately and she follows me around. Well my mom about hit the floor and I was like “what?!” and she didn’t say anything. Well, that Friday night we were sitting at the table and she told me a story about my dad’s mom. Right before she died she was laying in her hospital bed and told my parents who were there that she just saw a little blonde haired girl who said “it was time for her to go” and she had been following her around. I got goose bumps and still get them thinking about it. I am convinced I almost lost my life from my eating disorder on many occasions and was convinced this little blonde haired girl was like my guardian angel or something. Was she keeping me alive in my dreams? Was she really there and experiencing with me what I was? I don’t know, but since I have been working my ass off mentally and emotionally at recovery I have yet to see her again. Scary story, but a blessing because I feel like a higher power was giving me a signal if ever I was going to get one. One person you can always trust is God. If he expected change out of me, he was getting it. I became more religious and church oriented at this time and looked constantly to God for direction.

I realized how sick I was of acting the way I did. There comes a point where you just can’t fight the fight anymore, the energy is not there and you realize whether you want to admit it or not, you have a problem. It’s a problem you cannot fix on your own and shallowly, you have no real desire to. It was way to late though, and I was way to into my morphed perception of myself.  I couldn’t help it though, I was totally obsessed with what I could control, and it gave me peace and satisfaction knowing I couldn’t screw it up.

I broke down that morning of my lowest weight, mentally, in my car bawling to myself and was convinced I was going home and telling my mom I needed help, that I had a problem, and was obnoxiously scared. When I got home and got to her bed and sat down, nothing came out.  I was sitting there hands shaking and mind trembling and I couldn’t express myself. I felt like a walking mute. I was emotionless, and could not convince myself I wanted nor I needed help. I wanted to scream out to the world that I am dying, that I want help and I wanted all the pain to go away! That brief glimpse of reality I had in the morning had vanished. It is a nightmare to live in such a manner. There is a chunk of my life at this time, so depressed and in and out of reality that I no longer even recollect. My parents reminisce about the first year or two in Mississippi and to me, it’s a new story. I really do not remember much of the time period.

I never thought for a second I was suffering as badly as I was, or that anyone saw anything particularly “off” about me. Eventually, and probably in the nick of time, my parents confronted me and said I needed to get help, my health was at risk, and they couldn’t sit back and watch me hurt myself any longer. I cried… and cried forever. The fact that I let my parents down, disappointed them, and forced them have to confront their 21 year old daughter who should be mature and out in the real world on her own absolutely devastated me. I couldn’t get out of my mind how much I had let them down. Recovering meant I was going to have to lose that safety I had with my eating disorder, that security and that trust. My parents shared with me how they came in my room in the middle of the night to make sure I was breathing and alive. This is probably the hardest things I’ve ever had to hear from someone. I had some horrible nights when I was at my low point.

** Im not using weight as they are triggering to many recoverees**

Images from allposters.com

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