Monday, May 18, 2015

The Struggle



Anorexia Nervosa 
nounPsychiatry.

1.
an eating disorder primarily affecting adolescent girls and young women, characterized by pathological fear of becoming fat, distorted body image, excessive dieting, and emaciation.

It's about to get real here, so if the thought of that scares you, you know the way out. 

When I was in junior high I was overweight and it continued into my high school and college years. In junior high I was the quiet, teacher's pet-bookworm who loved school and checked out books three at a time at the library and did countless numbers of service projects to keep myself busy and tried to be friends with everyone. That didn't always work out... Not only was I picked on and teased by my classmates, but I was picked on, teased, and abused mercilessly by my father about how I looked. I looked around at all of my tiny friends who loved to go shopping and share each other's clothes and eat whatever they wanted because they never seemed to gain any weight. After all of the teasing and the hurt, I looked in the mirror, and at over 185 pounds, I was ashamed and resolved that I would do something about so I could look like everyone else. To blend in. After dieting and walking and exercising with no success, I turned to something that changed my life. And not for the better. 

The first time I attempted my foray into anorexia I was caught by one of my best friends and she gave me a lecture/pep talk the likes of which no one has ever heard and it scared me into eating again. Even though I was afraid and ashamed every time food passed my lips. 

Throughout the years my weight fluctuated. I lost 20 pounds in high school my sophomore year and managed to keep most of it off. But then college came and the fear of being fat grew. In a heartbreaking twist, I noticed that the more weight I lost, the more men paid me "positive attention". Because of my father and other circumstances at school, I didn't have any idea of what positive attention from men *was*, but because I was so so desperate for approval from at least one man in my life, I kept at it. And I kept at it. And I kept at it. I was around 150 pounds-ish my last semester of my senior year of college. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2013, just after I finished my student teaching in Riverton, Utah. Just before I left Riverton, I made a plea to my Bishop to help me with my anorexia. I was beginning to get scared at how much weight I was losing. He dismissed it as only a coping mechanism for my stress as a flighty girl (he didn't actually say "flighty girl", but he might as well have) and I left his office and didn't give it another thought, though I was furious with my Bishop for how he treated me. 

 After I finished my student-teaching, I moved to Provo, Utah because it sounded like a good idea. And it was. There I made some of the best friends I'll ever have, but it was also there that my anorexia would again rear its ugly, emaciated head. Once I started working, I was eating around 700 calories a day. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but despite that I was ruthless and organized and careful about my calorie counting. Nobody could know. No one noticed because at parties and get-togethers they already knew I was intolerant to just about everything and they didn't give it a second thought as to why I wasn't eating. 

A mere three months later I was offered a teaching position in Phoenix, Arizona and I took it. It was one of the best and worst decisions I've ever made. In Arizona, my stress level sky-rocketed and most of my money went to rent; a perfect breeding ground for my anorexia. It all went down-hill fast when I went through a hideous break-up with my boyfriend who was still living in Provo; it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I became even more determined to stick to my twisted sense of nutrition. 

It was only when I was skyping with one of my best friends from college that I realized that something was hideously wrong. After chatting for a good long while, my friend paused and she said, "Stephanie...you're losing a lot of weight..." and I responded with, "I know!!! Isn't it great?!" I swooned over my teeny-tiny clothes as I showed them off to my friend and the light-bulb didn't flicker on until days later when I was looking at myself in the bathroom and I saw the deep, dark circles underneath my eyes and my prominent cheekbones. Something was wrong. A month or two later, I was on a plane home so I could convalesce in my mother's care with my, at the time, debilitating chronic migraines. I was around 130 pounds when I arrived home. 

Below is a picture of me at the end of my Freshman year of college:
And below here is a picture of me just before I came home from Arizona:

It's a big difference, isn't it? I gained back some much needed weight (Around 40lbs) during the end of 2013-2014, but now, the anorexia monster is rearing its ugly head again. It is something that I'm dealing with, but there are things that I am asking you not to do because it could, in fact, make me worse. http://eatingdisorders.about.com/od/family_and_friends/a/What-Not-To-Say-To-Someone-With-Anorexia-Or-Bulimia.htm

I'll keep this blog updated on my continuing journey, but just know that right now, the right people are aware and that this is being handled. It is a tumultuous time in my life while I try to handle my diseases and figure out just what exactly I'm supposed to do with my future and I'm often a stressed out crazy-mess of a person, but also know that I love you and I will do what I can to help you with whatever you need too. It helps to have people to serve. Love you. 

"Something has changed within me

Something is not the same

I'm through with playing by the rules

Of someone else's game

Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep

It's time to trust my instincts

Close my eyes and leap!"

p.s. And please, for the love of Pete, don't mention the anorexia to me in person or force me to talk about it. That just makes everyone feel 
aca-awkward. 

4 comments:

  1. Oh my sweet friend! Call or or email me sometime so we can catch up. Please.

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