I live in a suburb. A suburb that most definitely stared from the White Flight (which is not something I’m proud of). From looking at my life, things should fit correctly right into the neat little puzzle. I have decently wealthy parents who own a home right in the middle of our quiet, rich, mid-western suburb. There’s only one problem. I am not a size zero (and honestly, I have a brain).
In about third grade, I noticed something was wrong. These girls, these beautiful marvelous girls, stayed the same. Their legs weren’t growing, they weren’t getting breasts and the soccer they were enrolled in kept them doing wonderfully in gym class. I was changing and it bothered them as much as it did me. Taunts and yells kept me crying all night, pleading to my mother to let me try out the latest diets. One huge part of me wanted to be them so badly. I wanted to be a popular girl. I wanted to wear the popular girl clothes. I wanted them to be my friends. But it was such an awkward phase and children here just aren’t very nice.
There were so many marking points as a child. In third grade–“Remember, muscle weighs more than fat,” as I was weighed as well as the machine that grabbed your fat and skin to measure your body fat percentage, a pinching mechanism that still makes me want to vomit to this day. In fourth grade, a boy remaining nameless, telling me “You couldn’t do it because you’re faaaaat, faaaat, faaaaat.” In sixth, weighing ourselves for some stupid math assignment and another boy, “You weigh 120 lbs? NASTY.” (I’m sure most girls still weighed 80 lbs). In eighth grade, one day, I got called Shamou. I can look back and almost know that I wasn’t fat. I was a full figured girl. But by that point I was completely introverted. I hung out with the wrong crowd, I smoked cigarettes, I drank ALOT. And honestly, a part of me knows I was a beautiful girl. However, by eighth grade I was heavier. I began to skip lunch, and go home and binge. To me, I was a whale. I was a size thirteen. I contemplated fasting and sometimes I did. I contemplated throwing up when I did eat lunch, but I chickened out … for awhile.
Another part to my story I think I must add is the attention I craved from males. No, I didn’t sleep around, but had it come down to it, I think I would’ve. I just wanted to be thought of as beautiful. I let boys talk to me anyway they wanted to. My first sexual encounter was with a man over the Internet. I was thirteen; he told me he was seventeen. We had somewhat of a relationship and he told me things I shouldn’t have heard, over the phone, online, whatever. I later learned he was much older than what he told me, yet he kept our sexual relationship up, making me feel guilty for conning him into it. I let other boys, real boys I knew, tell me the same thing. Once in high school I got myself into situations in which “friends of mine” were forcing me, never directly, always guilting me, to do things with them. Never did I let them have actual intercourse because a part of me some how knew they weren’t worth it. “Boyfriends” let me know I was only there for one thing and they thought I was a “little bitch,” for not having actual sex with them. “I’m never going to forgive you for that.” I let people walk all over me.
Finally, I was so introverted nothing mattered any more. I was finally sick of hating myself (for things I realize now weren’t my fault.) A friend of mine and I decided we were going to stop eating. It started semi-slow. I would have one piece of toast for lunch, maybe an apple for breakfast, minimal dinner. I reduced and reduced. I worked out like crazy, joining Karate, staying for two hours, before coming home and running on my treadmill for the same amount of time. I decided if I was already down the path, it was okay to “learn” how to throw up for the occasions I needed it. It all came so easy to me; I lost so much weight so fast. But I plateau. I had to work harder and harder to lose weight. I had to hate myself more and more to keep going. Nothing was right, everything was a mess, I hated everyone.
I’d fast for weeks, and finally see the cookie jar. I’d reach in, dig one out, one bite, swallow. Not enough. Reach in, dig one out, one bite, swallow. Oh the way it felt, the wonderful texture of it all. I couldn’t get enough, I needed to be full of something, anything, I just needed it. I would then kneel by the toilet, my escape. It was the back of my spoon that I used when I needed to gag. It was hard at first, but soon it was a pleasure, much like that of cutting, an overwhelming feeling of calm. Soon it wasn’t about food. It was about needing a stress reliever. Needing to be full, then not full. I continued to fast, binge, purge, fast, binge, purge until it was uncontrollable. There was a point where I was purging five to seven times a day, every single day. I needed it, I craved it, but sooner or later I realized it had to stop.
I had to stop purging. If I stopped purging, I could be pure again, I could withstand food, I could have better teeth, everything would be right in the world. But I was at this place. I was so lost in my own oblivion that I couldn’t even remember how I got there. “Where am I? Why am I so lost?” It was like, one day, I woke up for a split second, my head in the toilet, ready to stop. But I just couldn’t stop. I dipped back into dream state, but it wasn’t a dream state any more, it was a nightmare. It was absolutely an addiction. It had so much power over me at that point.
My parents were noticing. I thought I hid it so well. Screaming, fighting battles. Fasting through my father’s weekend. “God dam it child, EAT! Please EAT! Juice isn’t a meal! I can hear you THROWING UP!” A part of me wanted to be found out, I think a part of me left those clues, because … no one wanted to notice until they had to.
Finally, against my will, I was dragged to OMNI, A Behavioral Health Center. Personally, I still think they were morons. They didn’t understand me and they didn’t know how to get inside my head. But they helped me to quit purging. They gave me goals, most of them un followed, but the purging I really worked at. When I was hanging at a place where I was still semi-stuck, they told me if I didn’t cut it out, I would live there. So I stopped altogether. I seemed to be all better and I quit going, about a year and a half ago.
So where am I now? I’m riding the fence. I got a lot better. I made friends with wonderful people and got a boyfriend who treats me like the princess I deserve to be treated like. His mother has the same problems, and has helped me tremendously. But I’m riding the fence. I have my slip ups.
But here’s the thing — I’m gradually starting to hate myself again. It seems as though I can’t help it. I have panic attacks and anxiety about grades, school, beauty. One minute, I’m perfectly confident. The next, no where near. I dabble in my habits, I skip a meal here and there. It gives me the feeling of absolute power, like no one can hold me back. But what stops me is I know what will happen. And I don’t want to be at that place any more. So I’m stuck. I can’t just ask for help, but I need it. My mother never wants to believe I need help, but I do. My body and mind yearn for help of a doctor, but I’m scared all at the same time. I like to play the game of wait and see, but the numbers are affecting me too much now. I either need to plunge into recovery or hide inside my ED once again.