This is my personal story of my struggle with an eating disorder. My story has a happy ending, but it took a long time to get from the spiral to the bottom, to my realization of the disorder, to getting the support and help I needed to overcome my disorder.
I’ve always been on the smaller side. Growing up, I didn’t wear juniors clothing sizes until high school and even then, it was a double zero the entire time.
At this point, I had a problem I was unaware of. I would often skip lunch, because, well I’d find any excuse I could think of. I loved being tiny! And I didn’t want to get bigger. I was afraid any weight would make me fat.
Fast forward a few years to college, where I loved fast food. It’s all I could afford and had time to “enjoy.” I was so busy, between classes, homework, projects and working, that I didn’t have time for much else. Plus, I kept my weight down by not eating much of the food and working as a waitress, where I never stopped moving. I sure didn’t feel like or think I had a problem.
Then, I graduated and got a big girl job. Things changed. I had more time and more money. I was really skinny and began to feel like I needed to add some pounds. People I worked with didn’t have much of a filter and would tell me I was too skinny.
So, I ate and gained weight. In 2010, I weighed my most ever: 110 pounds. I know, right? Still small, but I looked and felt healthier.
The Spiraling Trail to My Disorder
It didn’t last. In 2011, I started struggling with food. Everything I ate would give me violent stomach aches or make me nauseous to the point of vomiting. Combine this with a stressful job and I had a bad scenario coming. I was so sick all the time that I had leave work early very often. It didn’t look good, but I was struggling with food. I’d eat, but I wouldn’t keep it in. My body would find ways to get rid of it.
After a year of struggling with it, I was informed by my doctor, after some tests and exclusion diets, that I was lactose intolerant. And my body was rejecting milk products because it was like poison, something that shouldn’t be there.
So, I had to do a diet change. And I was having a hard time—a very hard time—and I would only eat crackers or plain sandwiches for lunch. That became really old, really quickly. I just didn’t like it, but I was still eating something.
Then in the late fall of 2012, I contracted Mono. And holy moly! The toll it took, in combination with the lactose intolerance, was life changing. I couldn’t eat for months. I tried soups, but canned soups had milk preservatives and bag soups to make did too. So, I didn’t eat very much while I struggled with Mono, but it was ok with me because I was so tired that I preferred sleeping over eating.
After my three to four month bout with Mono, things got better, but then my anxiety became worse and worse. Within months, I stopped eating lunch at work. I always felt sick after I ate it and leaving from being sick had already cost me a promotion. So I just fought it, I fought being hungry and worked through it.
Over time, I stopped eating breakfast and lunch at work. I’d never eat before I had to get in the car. I was literally running on empty and then binging a bit at home after work. But I’d binge eat snacks and junk with dairy and my body would fight it.
I stopped going to dinner with friends or going to events centered on food. And in the South, everything is centered on food. But I didn’t want to look rude by not eating or that I was too good or “on a diet.” I just didn’t attend. I missed a lot of events.
Over time, my anxiety became worse and worse and food was no longer the main obstacle, because my nerves would make my body fight any nourishment in my body. This went on for over a year.
My Moment of Clarity
One day, through bouts of depression and severe anxiety, my house was up for sale and, as the good Lord does, everything fell into place. I was able to leave my job and help myself heal.
I’ve been on a journey of healing with doctors’ help since September of 2016. I’m taking medications for anxiety, depression and OCD. Over time, once I no longer felt the need to binge eat or restrict all food from my diet, my body adjusted back. I still feel like I fight hunger, but my body is in a much better place.
Since the time I quit and began working on healing myself in September, I’ve put back on about 20 pounds, which is more than I could have afforded to lose. I’m at a constant hover between 108 and 112. And I not only feel good, but I look good.
To Be Continued…
My story is not yet over. Yes, I am working on it, but it’s not easy.
I need to get an exercise regimen in place so that I can feel healthier and be less self-conscious, because even at my current weight, being so quick from the low, I notice more flaws than ever. I see things in my body that I hate, more than the weight.
Every day, I fight a battle internally. Some days I lose and some days I win. And some days are just too much. Thankfully, I have the support of friends that care about me and a concerned doctor.
My journey is not over yet. And my story continues.
My Message to You
If you or someone you know if fighting this battle, please know you are not alone. Reach out for the support needed. Let your friends and family give you support along your journey.
Camille is one of the content writers and Mental Health & Lifestyle Editor for Tribe Twenty One. She is a freelance writer and has her Bachelor’s in Marketing and Master’s in Organizational Communications from Southeastern Louisiana University.