5 years ago…
I turned 18 a few weeks ago. 18 years old, finally a legal adult, life should start right now, I should be happy, I should have a great group of friends, a supporting family and a bright future ahead of me. So, what the hell went wrong along the way?
Instead, I am sneaking downstairs at night, trying not to get caught by my parents and stuffing my face with anything edible in sight, because I simply cannot stop either thinking about food or eating it. I desperately need food, whatever that might be. Things have gotten so bad by now that my dad locks all food up. If I get lucky, he will forget the key to that lock downstairs, before going upstairs to sleep. But not tonight, dang it. I have the option between different kinds of spices, salt and sugar, pepper or chili. That’s basically the only thing not locked up – spices. Sugar seems to be the best option right now, I open the package, take a spoon and put it into my mouth. All of that initial tension is finally starting to get less. I am starting to relax. All I can ask myself is what the hell happened, what have I become? I just hope my parents won’t come downstairs the next few hours. Yes, hours. The thoughts only slowly stop beating up my mind as the “high” I get from eating, from feeding (literally!) my addiction, finally eases the pain a little. I feel like a drug addict of some sort – finally getting the rush I need. I know I should stop eating sugar, I think to myself as I go for the package to load my spoon again and again, I know eating these amounts of sugar is neither healthy for my body, nor for my mind, but I couldn’t care less at this point. I just need to eat something right now, whatever that may be. Time flies, I have no idea for how long I have been downstairs in the kitchen already. Nervously I try to leave and go back upstairs to bed, but always stop halfway and then go back. Back for more sugar. I have never felt so low and down as I am feeling tonight. Sugar??? Seriously?? I hit rock bottom tonight.
I am so afraid of food, I literally start to panic, but at the same time, I can’t stay away from it. I am afraid of this inanimate object and all I can ask myself is why. It is not going to jump at me and attack me or anything? What the hell is going on?
After quite some time I finally go back upstairs. Pretty much as soon as I stop eating, guilt creeps in from inside and screams at me, that high I was on, is gone. I know what I have to do tomorrow. Workout for several hours until I am too exhausted to move my legs any longer. I stopped vomiting a few weeks back and decided to go back to working out again. Thankfully throwing up wasn’t something that came easy to me. And basically having your head inside a toilet bowl, trying not to cough yourself to death, while sticking a finger inside your throat only to have vomit splash back in your face is not as romantic as movies and tv shows portray it to be.
Finally lying in bed, I start to cry. My mind just won’t shut up! I am making up plans of how my day will go tomorrow, promising myself that tomorrow will be better, trying not to eat at all and just work out. As all of this crying eventually exhausts me, I am finally able to fall asleep.
Every day after school I would work out for at least 3 to 4 hours, no excuses. In the process of trying to “fix” my body, all I did, was hurting it even more. But I had to burn off all these excess calories I binged on the night before, I had to and nothing and no one could stop me from doing so.
This cycle repeated itself every day for about 2,5 years. My mom tried to get me help, but I disliked that therapist and stopped going after the second visit, without letting my mom know.
I was too depressed at that time to actually leave the house and meet friends. I barely made it to school, although not all days. In case I missed class, because I felt unwell or sick (what a surprise, eating three times your body weight makes you feel sick and nauseous, who would have guessed) my teacher thought I skipped classes. She never asked about it though and I was too afraid to open up. Looking back, I wish mental health would have been addressed at school to spread awareness and help people deal with it in a healthier way.
I never really felt comfortable talking about this to anyone. I once opened up to my then best friend and the first moment, we got into an argument, she threatened to tell my secret everyone, if she didn’t get her way. I felt so betrayed and hid even more.
Due to this mental illness I lost many friends, because I distanced myself so much. I struggled with depression and insomnia, but was so very tired and exhausted every day. I was very lonely, but way too anxious to leave the house. I had nightmares at least 5 times a week.
After a total of 4 years of this ongoing nightmare, exchanging one eating disorder with another, “curing” one addiction with another, with its ups and downs, I finally removed myself from the unhealthy environment I was in and decided to just start over.
We want to hear your story. Become a Relate contributor here.