As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past 2+ years, I like to keep it pretty light-hearted over here in my cozy corner of the Internet. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
However, this little blog of mine has given me a voice and, sometimes, it’s nice to use it to educate. Even if that “sometimes” is only once a year, for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
(Regular, nonsensical posting will resume tomorrow. I promise!)
Next week is National Eating Disorder Week. If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder, I urge you to seek help. Eating disorders are a disease. They are nothing to be ashamed of. They are not about vanity, even though the media may lead you to believe otherwise. They are not something you choose. If they go untreated for too long, they will kill you.
As I’ve mentioned before, I struggled with an eating disorder in college. It all started when I was a freshman. Lonely and homesick, I thought that adopting a “healthier lifestyle” would be an easy way to lift my spirits and gain some self-confidence. While this may have been a good idea in theory, my new habits unintentionally spiraled into a series of obsessive and destructive behaviors.
The beginning of my sophomore year was a really dark time for me — much of which is now (thankfully) in my repressed memory. That’s not to say that I don’t remember the misery. I remember doing sit-ups in the shower, because it was the only place I couldn’t be caught. I had the bruises up and down my spine to prove it. I remember fainting in the stairwell. I remember giving up gum, because I couldn’t justify the extra 5 calories. I remember skipping class because, at 110 pounds, I felt “too fat” to be seen in public.
In October, I hit rock bottom. I remember the day vividly. I went to get my weekly weigh-in at the physician’s office on campus and learned that, in one week, I’d somehow managed to lose 3 more pounds. 3 pounds that I knew I could not afford to have lost. I remember being scared — for both my health and for the inevitable phone call home I’d have to make. I remember the doctor handing me pamphlets of information on Eating Disorder Recovery Centers in the area. I remember being told that I would need to leave school until I was better. I remember running back to my dorm room, throwing the pamphlets against the wall, and sobbing for days.
Luckily, my story has a happy ending. With the support of family and friends, I was able to get the help I needed and recover. Was it easy? Absolutely not. But it was worth every setback and grueling moment. I got my life back!
Signs That You or a Loved One May Have an Eating Disorder:
Dramatic weight loss.
Hiding behind big or baggy clothes.
Obsession with food, weight, calories, and/or nutritional information.
Continuous, rigorous exercise.
Visible food restriction and self-starvation.
Visible bingeing and/or purging.
Use of diet pills or laxatives.
Fear of eating around and with others.
Unusual food rituals.
Frequent complaints of feeling cold.
Low blood pressure.
Loss of menstrual cycle.
National Eating Disorders Week begins on February 24th and extends through March 2nd. For more information, you can visit the NEDA website.
Be kind and love yourself.
PS. Pressing “publish” on this post is terrifying. I’ve never been so candid on this topic before. I hope it helps someone!