Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Confessions from Ed

It's time to get serious. Seriously.
I've debated posting more about my personal life, but never really knew how to go about it.
My monthly goals have mentioned the word "therapy" and "recovery", but I've never really said much about it.
Today, we change that.

Things are about to get all sorts of real up in here.
(It's also going to get very long.)

I came up with the idea of posting this after a lot of thought, prayer, conversation, and this Buzzfeed article.

The article just completely spoke to me.
I recognized the hurt in the author and it's almost as if she was telling my story.

But she wasn't.
She was telling her story.
Nobody can tell my story, except for me.

This is my story.

Growing up I was tall and skinny. That's all there is to it. 
I was actually "underweight" for all of elementary school and middle school.
I haven't grown height-wise since 8th grade, but was still gaining a little bit of weight, so by high school I was considered "average weight" for someone my age/height.

I was that type of person who could eat anything at all and not gain any weight.
I'm not even exaggerating -- I remember one night where I ate three full sized pork chops, two baked potatoes with everything on it, and multiple cookies for dessert.
I didn't gain a thing.

I was into sports - dance, volleyball, basketball, track, soccer, cheerleading, etc. all throughout my school years.
That helped to keep the weight off.

My mom always warned me that my metabolism was working great then, but if I kept eating like that, I would eventually gain weight.
I should have listened...

The first time I remember having a problem was in 2007, when I was on summer vacation with Texas.
My boyfriend at the time had broken up with me and it made me so emotional that I got physically sick and threw up my dinner.
Just like that. It was so simple. It was, what I thought, the answer to my problems.
"Maybe if I was skinnier, he'd notice how hot I'd gotten and he'd come back."
(Yeah, that was my thought process. Yes, I realize that is ridiculous now.)
The rest of that summer I would eat just like everybody else, but I would find some way to get sick afterwards.

Once school got back into session, for some reason I felt better.
I hardly ever had problems with eating during the school year.
I can't explain it.

The next summer, I decided I didn't like making myself sick. It was gross and it was a lot harder when I wasn't physically sick anyway like I was from the previous summer's heartache.
So, I just quit eating.
It was easy when I was at work or off with my friends somewhere.
Even when I was at home all day it was easy to claim I wasn't hungry and go somewhere else.
I'd eat dinner, but not much.
Nobody seemed to really notice.

Again, school came and things were fine.
I lied. Things weren't fine.
I wasn't starving myself, but I was cutting myself for the relief instead.
That's a story for a different day.

It seemed like the cycle would continue for years.
The school year I'd be cutting instead of starving and when summer came around I'd focus on the eating.
Maybe I didn't want fresh scars in the summer?
I honestly can't give an answer for that.

When I went off to college I was terrified of the "Freshman 15".
I worked out like crazy and realized I liked how that felt.
Unfortunately, during college, the school year wasn't the "normal eating time".
My parents weren't around to cook me meals, so it was a lot easier to just not eat them.
Combining that with working out was slightly dangerous.
Here's the bigger problem -- The meals I DIDN'T skip, were HUGE.
I was gaining weight like crazy.

Sophomore year I went back to school after a summer of "You've been gone all year so we made you a big dinner, your favorite!" and I knew that I was gaining weight...quickly.
The "Freshman 15" turned out to be the "Freshman 50" for me and I WISH I was exaggerating.
This threw me completely out of whack so my sophomore year I had a really hard time dealing with my anorexic-style thoughts.
I finally put myself into counseling on campus.

This counselor diagnosed me with "ED-NOS" otherwise known as "Eating Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified".
This means that I don't fit the criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder (which didn't even gain recognition until 2013).
Now this disorder is being recognized as OSFED. (Click the link for information from Eating Disorders Anonymous on this disorder.)
Although I don't meet the criteria, I still have an eating disorder because I mix symptoms here and there.
Some days I would identify more with anorexia, other days it would be binging.

I saw this counselor for a while and thought that I had things under control so I quit.
That summer I lost 20 pounds, in a healthier way, by eating better, working out (moderately) and playing outside sports with my friends.
This was a year before my wedding, so I had a lot of motivation to lose weight and I wanted to go about it the right way.
By the time my wedding rolled around in June, I had lost about 25 pounds and I was feeling a lot better.
I also knew that I had the strategies to keep losing until I got down to where I actually wanted to be (which was about 30 pounds higher than I had told myself all through college that I wanted to be - a lot healthier goal).

The opposite happened.
After the wedding, I lost all interest in working out and eating right.
I started gaining weight like crazy.

It got to the point where if I saw food, I knew I had to eat it.
If there was leftover rice for dinner, I'd finish it, because we all knew if it went into the fridge it would be thrown away weeks later.
Extra candy sitting out from Halloween? I should probably just eat it now.
It was bad.

The Buzzfeed article said it best:

 "I've come to realize I eat the same way I hit my snooze button every morning: 
Just a little bit more."

That's what I was doing to myself.
"Just a little bit more."
But I kept gaining.

Sometime in approximately November, Daniel pointed it out to me that what I was doing probably wasn't healthy.
I did some research and self-diagnosed myself with an eating disorder.
I know self-diagnosing is not the best idea, so I called a therapist and set up an appointment.

She confirmed it.
My therapist (who I am still seeing) told me that she thinks my ED-NOS is a product of my anxiety.
This explains why I wasn't having disordered eating while I was cutting, but whenever I would quit that (clean 2 years) I would experience behaviors.

Since then I've:
Continued therapy
Started going to Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings 1-2 times a week
Done extra research on the matter
Got myself a sponsor
& am reading the books you saw mentioned in my goals post.

I won't lie to you and say it's easy.
Dealing with this is EXTREMELY difficult.
I feel fat.
I feel ugly.
I feel unwanted.

I've had many panic attacks about my weight, even in just the last couple months.
I'm currently having a really hard time with doing what I know I'm supposed to do.
(Exercise, eat right, etc.)
I'm still continuing to climb in weight.

So do me a favor, whether you read this whole thing or you just skipped down to the end:
If you know somebody who is having a hard time with something like this, REACH OUT TO THEM.

I promise you I would be absolutely NOWHERE right now (which I sometimes feel like I am) if I didn't have Daniel by my side through literally this entire thing (He was the boyfriend back when it first started).

I don't know where I'll be in a year.
I don't know where I'll be in a month.
But right now, right now I'm struggling.
Right now I have an eating disorder caused by my anxiety.
Right now, I weigh more than I've ever weighed in my life (including before I lost the weight for my wedding).

Right now - Things are hard.

Tell your friends that you love them. Tell them you'll be there for them. 
You may not ever UNDERSTAND why we do what we do, but that doesn't mean you can't be caring.
Please, just show compassion for your friends. You may save a life.

This is not something I'd wish anybody to live with.


  1. I am so proud of you for opening up and sharing this. It's important to share so we can get to know one another and share our stories.
    I struggle with my weight too and have always struggled since as far back as I can remember. I just started getting healthy just a little more than a year ago. It's so hard and I still struggle with it every single day.
    You've got this though girl. WE'VE got this. You're not alone.

  2. Thank you very much. It was hard to decide to post this, but I knew that it would be key in my recovery if I did.

    But we've got this. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone. Here for you too girl! <3


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