It was my senior year of high school and I was in rehab.
My mom had finally reached her limit of sleepless nights trying to find me.
Give me a curfew? I wouldn’t come home at all.
Ground me? I’d leave anyway.
Age 17 was a rough year to say the least.
I was an absolute mess.
“No you are NOT putting her in a foster home!”
My brother shouted as he barged into my room, hanging up the phone, telling me to hurry and pack my stuff.
I didn’t know what was in store for me but I sure as heck didn’t imagine it would be almost five months until I returned home.
I spent a week at my brothers house while we waited for the news on my fate.
He was instructed to deliver and watch me swallow my Antabuse- as my mom typically did.
Antabuse is a prescription medication for alcoholics.
If you consume any alcohol while taking Antabuse you will get violently ill.
Neither of them knew that I’d swapped the real pills with a lookalike I had found in my Mom’s closet when she forgot to lock her door one day.
Inpatient rehab would eventually be the verdict.
Before I knew it I was stripped of my belongings and sitting in a treatment center.
Everything was out of my control.
Something inside me was burning to act out and the options in doing so were limited.
At mealtimes I would sit at the table in a daze with only a glass of water.
Some days I would feel guilty for drinking the water and purge it back up.
Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself.
I was 13 years old when I first purged.
My best friend left me… my boyfriend broke up with me.
Life got hard and something in my head told me to go to the bathroom and throw up my food.
The rush it gave me became a staple stress reliever.
Prior to checking into rehab I was already underweight.
In my head writing it off as “not being hungry” or “forgetting to eat”.
Whenever I did consume food, the stressful situation at home would almost always result in purging.
It didn’t really get out of control until everything got out of control.
Subconsciously I was becoming addicted to this relationship with food.
The feeling of my skin tightening around my bones was like a high.
(*actual photo of myself three months after treatment*)
I was alone in rehab while my peers were working on their senior projects and letting out for Christmas break.
That Christmas was hard.
I’ve always loved Christmas but I just felt so unwanted, abandoned, and alone.
I was the only kid in the center that was there without a court order.
“What is going on???” filling the pages of my daily journal.
Life felt like a never ending nightmare.
At the time my brain could never understand that it was my actions that landed me here.
Instead, I spent over a month saturating myself in feelings of worthless shame.
It was a dark time….
Five weeks into rehab and I’d lost a significant amount of weight.
Every day looking more like a skeleton and less like a human.
Tightly fastening my size 0 jeans with a belt so they wouldn’t slide right off of me.
On New Years Eve we were offered a slice of pizza.
This was a real treat and I wanted to participate so badly.
Eventually accepting a piece and racing off to the bathroom immediately after.
This time one of the counselors had followed me.
I’d been caught.
There I sat in the office as the counselor called my mom.
Thankfully it appeared I’d be discharged early and finally able to go home.
Or so I thought…
Instead of my driveway we parked at an office building in the heart of Denver.
“Where are we?!?!”
I asked perplexed.
“You need to talk to someone about this food thing.”
The Eating Recovery Center would be my new home.
At intake the feelings of abandonment began to drown me.
“I don’t have an eating disorder!!!”
“My mom just doesn’t want me so she’s trying to put me places!! Please!!”
It was time for my “moment of truth” on the scale.
My 5’11” frame weighed in at a whopping 102 pounds.
Considering how tall I am this put me at a BMI (body mass index) of 14.2.
If you are unfamiliar with BMI, 18.4 or lower is considered underweight.
In diagnosing anorexia nervosa they follow this chart:
Mild: A BMI of >17
Moderate: A BMI of 16-16.99
Severe: A BMI of 15-15.99
Extreme: A BMI >15
Nothing I could say or do could get me out of this situation with a BMI of 14.2.
Extreme like everything in my life seemed to be by that point.
At my height, I’d have to weigh in at a minimum of 133 pounds to make the lowest possible “healthy weight”.
That meant I’d have to gain at least 31 pounds before going home.
Suddenly out of every sense of control.
Mealtimes were spent with hands above the table.
The food was fairly good but there was A LOT of it.
Three massive meals AND three snacks a day.
If you didn’t finish every piece of your meal (including butter) in the time allotted then you had to drink a Boost nutritional drink.
Bathrooms remained locked and you needed to be accompanied by a staff member to use them.
On the bright side though, this center was a huge upgrade from the last.
We were able to keep the majority of our belongings.
Meals were prepared by chefs and served on silver platters.
We got to go outside for fresh air multiple times a day.
We could even turn off the lights at night.
I knew that if I didn’t cooperate, I was never going home.
The gig was up (at least for the time being).
Three and a half months later I completed treatment.
Today marks just over nine years since checking out of recovery.
In this time I’ve had more slip ups than I could possibly count, including an excessive exercise phase that deceived me for months.
(Exercise anorexia post coming soon❤️).
BUT I’ve had way more successes than failures and that is something that I’m extremely proud of.
CONTROL played a major role in my eating disorder.
Which is actually sort of crazy to think about because when I’m active in my eating disorder I am not in control– my eating disorder is.
It’s so easy to forget this.
Recovery from an eating disorder is a lifelong process that requires daily maintenance.
It’s a process that I’m willing to work at!
My life is worth so much more than a number on a scale.❤️
If you are battling an eating disorder I encourage you to read this post ➡️ Meet Nikki, my eating disorder ❤️
Understanding Bulimia sheds a unique light on the complicated illness.
For more on addiction read Running 😊
Check out my blog for much, much more!❤️
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