Part 1 of my story of how I developed & overcame anorexia…..
Welcome back to part 2 and if you are just finding this and missed PART 1 be sure to check that out….
Yesterday we chatted about my background, how I started to make healthier changes in high school… how I then tried some really unhealthy things, the start of my freshman year in college and the beginnings of my eating disorder. Now we chat about how I went about getting help, treatment and in turn recovery….
So that next day we walked into the counseling office. I had a short session with the councilor and she was honest in saying this area is not her expertise. Due to my appearance she did want to get a baseline of where I was at so we could determine what to do to next. So she sent me to a local clinic to have blood work done and an assessment. So I went alone to this clinic, was poked and prodded and then had to wait a few days for my results.
So later that week….its a Friday afternoon APRIL FIRST, 2003 and Im waiting in my dorm room for the results. The phone rang and it was the doctor. She said due to it being a weekend and due to your numbers Im very worried something can happen to you over the weekend. SO I either check myself into the nearest hospital or call my family to take me to one back home. In that moment I sat on the end of my bed. Numb. What the hell was happening!??????
I then said, “How do I tell my family, what do I even say?” She said just tell them the truth. If they love you they will understand and just want to help you. SO I hung up. I was SHAKING. I didn’t have my moms work number so thanks to good old AOL instant messenger I messaged a friend for the number of where my mom worked…..
Those were the loudest rings I think I have ever heard. Once I was connected to my mom, I asked her if she was sitting down. I told her I need you to sit down. I then started to apologize. I summarized why I met with a concelor and then went to a clinic and this is why I am calling.
She wasn’t mad. She didn’t yell. She didn’t react or blame me or say HOW COULD U LET THIS HAPPEN??? She said she loved me. She said that they had been concerned and why they asked about my health when I was home last. She said she would get my dad and come get me.
Several hours later, my bag was packed and my parents picked me up. We got the results from the clinic and headed home to a Rhode Island hospital…….it was a long night sleeping on a cot in the ER. I was freezing…..they layered blankets on me. At some point in the early morning hours I was finally brought to a room.
I was woken up by a nurse and a disgusting breakfast…..
Then I met with my first psychiatrist….he had the worst bedside manner, was unsympathetic and came right out and said you are Anorexic…..I was in shock, I was pissed at him and I was in denial….I flipping eat dude….
I was later discharged and we were referred to specialist at Mass General. So we drove back to MA to meet with a team. I felt like a human specimen in this room with all these people analyzing, testing and judging me. At first they wanted to keep me in patient immediately. But I pleaded to finish out the school year, and then do in patient. They agreed if my weight didn’t go below a certain number I could….
Well I spent the rest of April literally on bed rest sleeping 12-16 hours a day at home. I had zero energy. It was now Easter. We planned to tell my family what had been happening at the end of the night. The moment I walked in the house my nana took 1 look at me and said “OH DEAR GOD SHES SO THIN!”
That night we told my family. Everyone cried. Everyone hugged me and told me they loved me. Everyone just wanted to see me better. I returned to school….finished out the school year. My mom had just picked me up, we packed up my dorm room and were 10 minutes down the road when the car phone rang…..Do you remember car phones?? HAHA totally just dated myself!
It was the treatment center….there was a spot for me. I needed to be there tomorrow. It was a quiet drive home. I had no idea what to expect. Was I going to be locked in a psych ward? What would they do to me? Who would I be in the center with? What do I wear what do I pack?
That night I called my best friend over and told her what was happening. She cried and asked ARE YOU GOING TO DIE? I said that’s why I am doing this so I don’t die…. We read scripture, we talked about memories, we said I love you and then it was time to sleep….
It was a long drive to the treatment center. To say I was scared was an understatement. I was 68lbs when I entered. My mom and I disagree she thinks I was 62 lbs. Either way dangerously unhealthy. I spent 3 weeks there. They monitored your eating. We were on a strict eating schedule, we had to eat all our snack and meals or there were consequences. We did some group therapy but I don’t remember much of those sessions. We did get to spend afternoons together hanging out with each other. I learned a lot about the other girls in the group.
I was shocked that most of them this was not their first or second time here….In my mind Im like who would want to go through this shit again????? I had vials of blood drawn every morning, we had hallway weigh-ins, we took a vitamin and we have taken something else I cant recall.
Three weeks had passed. By the time I left I could no longer slide my jeans on and off without unbuttoning or unzipping them…I had gained a few pounds. I started to cry on the ride home. Now I was on my own…it was all up to me. There were no daily nurses or staff watching me. I had to do the hard work. I had to eat. I had to break through some negative food barriers. I had to see a therapist.
I had to get better there was no plan B.
It was a struggle…. I stuck to the same eating schedule we had at the treatment center. I battled daily with eating more, eating certain foods. I slept a lot. I worked a little and made sure they knew my eating schedule and that I had to eat at work. It was then time for a new school year.
During my sophomore year of school I had to meet 1 or 2x a month with a dietician. I was also part of a trial for anorexic girls. I had to go in to Boston once a month for testing, lots of blood was taken, I had to take a daily pill (later I learned it was a placebo). I had a packet of math and memory and comprehension games I had to answer each session. I did this for a year.
I slowly improved. It is something that I believe will always be apart of me. I had to learn to conquer the voice in my head. I had to learn to not have distorted images of what I looked like. I had to improve my mindset and mental health as well as my physical one. I started doing well in school. I was involved in things on campus. I started babysitting again and I was becoming happy.
Along with my faith…the thing that saved me was fitness. It gave me an outlet. It excited me. It was a place I could take my frustrations out on. It made me strong. It challenged me. I learned to value strength over skinny. For years I was chained to a scale. The number determined my value. It determined if I was going to have a good day or a bad day. As I got stronger and healthier…. I was more fun to be around. I was less closed off. I was no longer lonely and miserable.
The last several years my mission now about being healthy, and being strong, and not about being skinny.
My love of fitness grew. I played intramural soccer in college. I started home workouts with Beachbody when I first graduated college. Little did I know then…that by simply becoming strong and healthy through that fun at home workout program I would years later have created a career, a purpose and a passion helping others feel the same way.
I weigh myself a few times a year. I am no longer chained to a scale. I weigh more now than I ever have in my life. I am stronger than I have ever been. I built muscle. I have developed confidence. I have done years of personal development and shaped my mindset and way of thinking. My motto is now SCREW THE SCALE….because its just a number….it means nothing…it doesn’t define me…it doesn’t define you….it does not measure muscle or strength, it doesn’t measure stamina…. It doesn’t see the small daily/weekly non scale victories that have happened.
I am the happiest, healthiest I have ever been and I wake up excited DAILY to help others feel the same way.
Thank you for listening to my story, my journey, the good the bad the ugly, the strong and hopefully the inspiring!