National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week started on February 24th and goes through May 2nd. As someone who has struggled with this disease, it is extremely important for everyone to be aware of what it can do. A countless number of people have died from it, starving themselves to death. This is my story:
I’ve struggled with this disorder, this disease, for eight years. Seven of these past eight years have been spent with the voice of Ed screaming in my head. Don’t eat! You’re so fucking fat. You’re disgusting. You need to lose five more pounds. Five more pounds. Five more pounds. Five more pounds. Five more pounds. Everyday I threw away my lunch. Every day I fought my parents whenever they tried to get me to eat. Lies became my normal life. I was forced into therapy and sent to a registered dietitian. I lied to the therapist. I didn’t care what the RD said. Who were these people to tell me what to do? My life, my body.
Finally, at 17, I was sent inpatient for two months. It was a safe place. I came to understand why Ed was in my life. It was not about the food. It was about the control. It was about the desire to be numb. It was the desire to forget the trauma from my past. The desire to not feel my pain. Ed was my friend and my enemy. The problem with recovering from eating disorders is you have to eat. You have to eat every day. Alcoholics and drug addicts can recover by not using. Food, the ultimate enemy, is required to live.
I left inpatient and completely relapsed. The mirror showed my fat. If only I could cut it off. If only I had the money for diet pills. Any food I consumed I threw up. In the end I screwed up my stomach and my esophagus. My brain didn’t work and school became difficult. My body still has lasting damages from the abuse I put it through. It’s something I will deal with for the rest of my life.
I spent seven years in therapy. Seven years of misery, facing my past. Seven years of putting my parents through hell. Thousands of dollars have been spent on recovery. I’ve now been in recovery for about a year. The thoughts are still there just not as loud. It’s still hard to love my body and to believe people when they say I’m beautiful. My relationship with food and the number on the scale will never be normal but I know how to cope now. I can feel now. I can be happy. I want to live again.
The world needs to know about this disease. It needs to know its dangers and its true causes. It can affect anyone, no matter the gender or age. It kills.
- - Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
- - An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
- - An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime. Research suggests that about 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia
- - Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders
- - 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.
- - The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old.