Ahh where do I start?… I have wrote a post about this on my old blog but I want to rewrite it from a completely different headspace. When I wrote the first one I was at the start of my recovery process. I was still angry and highly emotional about everything I was going through and was probably a bit too honest about some things. Now I am 5 years into my recovery and have dealt with a lot of the anger and emotions that I was going through back then and feel like I would be able to make a new story post which will make more sense than my last one. I am still going to be very honest in this one and due to that, I want to put a TRIGGER WARNING here so that if you are easily triggered by subjects to do with restricting/purging and low self esteem then please do not read any further. I will not be stating numbers, weights, measurements etc. as I know that can be highly triggering for many. I am writing this post so that you can get to know me and my journey better and so that maybe you can relate to it and not feel alone.
THIS IS A LONG POST SO BE PREPARED.
I will start this story by talking about my childhood. As a child I was always quiet and introverted, when I was in the earliest years of primary school I was having issues with digesting my food. The doctors thought that it could be acid reflux, I had doctors and hospital appointments and tests but they never diagnosed me with anything. I think they assumed that I would grow out of it. I would be sick at dinner times and I remember other children saying it smelt like sick in the classroom and I knew it was because I had been sick before I went back into class. From a young age I knew that I could make myself be sick and I used to do this so that I would get sent home from school. At this point the act of being sick was not to do with losing weight or my bad body image, I just really wanted to go home and knew that they would send me home if they thought I was poorly. I did this so often that when I would go to tell the dinner ladies they would no longer believe me and would send me back to play with my friends. I was part of the brownies growing up, I remember getting changed every Monday and feeling gross because we had to wear a sash, it made me feel very uncomfortable because I thought it made me look like I had rolls and that it was hugging my fat. I would go swimming with my friends and compare my body to everybody around me, I hated wearing the swimming costumes. Even though I was always a small child, I was worried about how big the splash would be if I jumped into the pool and I worried about how big my legs looked to everybody swimming under the water wearing goggles. When I was in my last year at primary school my grandad passed away and it was the first time that I had ever experienced grief. I found it really hard to deal with the emotions that I was feeling and I constantly felt poorly. Anytime I had food in my stomach it felt very uncomfortable and I would be sick and feel like those emotions that I was feeling were being released. My past therapists have said that they think that I wanted to feel empty so I would literally try to empty my body to deal with the anxiety that I was feeling at the time.
High School… Okay so I still find this quite difficult to talk about. I detested high school. The school that I went to was a school where “Bullying will not be tolerated.” and “bullying would result in punishment.” Well I can tell you now that didn’t happen. Myself and many of my friends were bullied and nothing was done about it. High school was definitely a key factor in my spiral into my eating disorder. Yes I already had an eating disorder before I got to high school but let me tell you that the place did not make it any better! The first school trip that I went on was for team building so that we could all get to know each other better. We were given tasks to do and I remember we had to try to build a tower on the floor, but the whole time I couldn’t concentrate because my mind was focused on how fat I thought my thighs looked sitting on the floor. A teacher came over with a camera and I jumped up so fast so that my thighs would not be caught on camera. We also did races and one was a hula hoop one and I hated every minute of it because I thought everybody was judging me and that my body was filling up the whole hoop. Around this time I started watching documentaries about eating disorders, reading articles about peoples experiences with eating disorders and visiting pro sites. DO NOT USE THESE WEBSITES!! They are vile and harmful. I was also still playing out a lot and being very active, I would play out everyday after school until people from my school started telling me I was weird for wanting to play out and that I was too old to be playing out, so I stopped playing out. I isolated myself from people and would stay in my bedroom all night. I would ignore the door when my friends would come to see if I wanted to play out. My mind started to tell me that I wasn’t burning calories because I wasn’t playing out which made me start to purge more. I was purging a lot, in anything I could find that would be easy to hide till I had the opportunity to get rid of it. At school a lot of people would want to mess around when I actually wanted to do my work so I started to get called geeky which then made me get uncomfortable and anxious around people, so I just wouldn’t talk which then resulted in the nickname “the mute.” I would get called weirdo for not being able to socialise properly but I was dealing with really bad anxiety and being called names was making it worse. My non existent self esteem went even further down the drain. During the summer months I would sit and sweat in a jumper that was far too big for me because I was scared that if I took it off people would make comments about being able to see my fat. I HATED the PE uniform we had to wear because you could see my thighs in it, I hated PE in general if I am being honest. We had to do trampolining and I got told off because I got caught going to the back of the line avoiding getting on the trampoline and I refused to get on it because I was terrified of my fat bouncing everywhere with everybody watching me. We had dance class and I would stare at the floor to avoid my reflection in the mirror. Whilst everyone got changed in the changing room, I got changed in a shower cubicle so nobody could see me undress. I was throwing my lunches away and when friends would notice I would lie and say that I just wasn’t hungry or if I did eat I would ask to go to the toilet in the class after dinner so that I could throw up. I would go to school and get called geeky, weird, mute, ugly, people would laugh at how quiet I was and tell me that my hair was greasy. I would get home from school and lock myself in my bedroom crying and staring at my reflection wishing it would change. I would draw on myself in marker pen on the bits of my body that I thought were too fat and that I wanted to cut off. I would nip parts of my body that I thought were too fat.
I went on a school trip to Italy and even there I couldn’t distract myself from the thoughts and thinking that everyone there was skinnier and prettier than me. At this point I was hardly eating anything which made meal times awkward as I would sit and pick at my food. One of my teachers noticed me doing this and took me to one side and asked why I hadn’t been eating, I lied and said that I didn’t feel well and that I wasn’t a fan of breakfast food. She kept saying well why don’t you try this, or this and it got to the point that I ate a slice of toast to make her leave me alone because I was scared that she would go home and tell my parents. The hotel we were staying in made us packed lunches but we were allowed to leave our teachers so when they were out of sight I would throw mine away and tell people I was with that I didn’t like sandwiches. I also went on a trip to France and hated it. I didn’t like any of the food that they served so did not want to waste calories on it, I felt like people were staring at my legs when I wore shorts. We went to Disney Land and I felt like the seat belts on the rides were making my fat overflow. I remember that we all went down to the beach and everyone was in their swimming costumes and got in the sea. I was wearing a bikini with a black dress over it and didn’t want to take the dress off, so I went to get in the sea with it on and my teacher said you can’t ruin your dress, I ignored him and did it anyway. Only when I got out of the sea the dress was clinging to my body and in a panic I ran back to my bedroom and cried thinking that everybody had just seen my body because of the fabric clinging to me. When we got back home I would keep wearing my baggy jumpers to hide the curves that I was developing, I would look back at photos of me when I was younger and wish that I could have that body again.
I had to do a speaking exam in my english class and as someone struggling with low confidence and anxiety that was already bad enough, when I stood at the front of the class holding my notes in my shaking hands one of the boys stated “She’s actually quite fat!” and with that people around him started to laugh and I was nearly in tears stood in front of all these people, I had no choice but to keep speaking. Luckily one boy (that I don’t think I even ever spoke to) did stand up for me and said “what are you on about she’s not fat.” and that made me feel better but still, that night I got home I locked myself in my bathroom and cried and cried and made myself sick till I felt faint and had a bad headache. Now I think that it was a form of self harm and that I was taking out his criticism on myself because I believed what he said about me.
Prom needs a paragraph in itself because there is a lot to talk about. By the time prom came around I was so excited to leave school. I wanted to get the smallest sized dress I possibly could so that I would feel good about myself and have one night, where the people that had called me names wouldn’t be able to because I would look good and they wouldn’t be able to call me fat. I set myself a mission. I wasn’t eating breakfast, I took a big bottle of water to class thinking it would fill my stomach and stop my stomach from grumbling… didn’t work. I was throwing away my dinners, I would take my tea up to my bedroom eat it and make myself sick straight away. I was telling my parents that I was watching a film and would put mean girls on and turn the volume up so nobody could hear me. Later on if I was hungry I would get a bit of fruit and chew and spit it out into trinket boxes. Around this time everybody was taking photos of themselves with their friends for their leavers books and I would try to avoid them at all costs however a teacher forced me into one and even now if I see that photo I get upset because I know what I was putting myself through. My hair was falling out, I was exhausted, I didn’t want to leave the house and my dentist was picking up on the acid wear to my teeth. I was a mess but I didn’t care because I was losing weight. I was getting told that I had lost weight and the fact people were noticing made me want to keep going. Every compliment made me spiral further as did every insult so there was no escaping it. I knew that something wasn’t right but I felt ashamed at what I was doing and couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it. I thought that if I told people they wouldn’t believe me because in my own mind I was too fat to have an eating disorder. When I had to go to my prom dress fitting I felt so uncomfortable standing their in my underwear as the lady measured me but whens she said the inch size of my waist I was in shock and a sense of pride came over me because I remembered that Victoria Beckhams waist size was the tiniest bit smaller than mine and she was one of the main inspirations on those pro websites but instead of thinking I can stop now, my mind told me only a little bit more to lose and you’ll be the same. On the day of prom I loved getting my hair and makeup done however, once I put the dress on and looked in the mirror my heart sank. I didn’t feel confident like I had planned for so many months. I was concerned about what the top of my arms looked like and that my waist didn’t look small enough. Photos were being taken left, right and centre and I hated it. You can see how uncomfortable I look in the photos from that night. Most of the night for me was spent sat at the table looking after peoples bags while my friends danced. I was ashamed that I couldn’t look at the people that had called me names and feel comfortable with myself. I was ashamed of myself for letting their words ruin my health.
I am going to stop here as this post is already really long. I will post a part two next which will continue on from this point. For part two follow this link http://www.lornajade.com/my-eating-disorder-story-part-two/
If anything that I have talked about is relatable to you or something that you are struggling with in your own life I have a page of help lines on my website that you can access by clicking on the helplines in the menu bar.
Please remember that you are worthy of recovery and that you deserve it so much!