I can’t believe I’m actually writing my own blog. I’ve read countless words from countless brave, inspirational women and men throughout the years and am so excited to join the blogging community!
First, I’ll give a little background about me. I’m a 21 year old college freshman and I’ve been struggling with anorexia and exercise addiction since just about the age of 10. Wait a second. That’s so not how I want to introduce myself! Let’s get to the good stuff and then I’ll tell ya a bit more about the not-so-fabulous parts of my life.
The real me is spunky, outgoing, and loves to be surrounded by people 24/7. Relationships are incredibly important to me; family, friends, and even new acquaintances are what keeps me going! I go to college in the northeast (but I’ll keep it a secret where exactly I go 😉 ), and I’ve always loved school and learning. I’m actually pre-med right now and have always dreamed of following in both my parents’ and my sister’s footsteps and becoming a doctor (I’ve recently been thinking about surgery… cough cough Grey’s Anatomy cough cough…) Since coming to college, though, I’ve definitely tried to keep an open mind about other areas of study and have found myself really interested in law and psychology! So we’ll just have to see where that takes me! I’ve always loved to dance, and have been doing so since I was in diapers! Theater has been a huge part of my life over the years (I can be quite dramatic and over-the-top when I want to be). I’ve always been involved in way too many activities and although staying busy helps keep me alive and excited to engage in what’s next, I’ve come to terms with the fact that sitting down and relaxing with a nice cup of coffee, some warm fuzzy pink socks, and a new episode of Scandal is a definite must at the end of each day.
I guess that brings me to why I’m here writing today. I need to learn to chill. Yep, that’s probably the key ingredient to my recovery. So, here we go with that part of my story:
I’ve been struggling with an eating disorder – anorexia and excessive exercise – for over ten years. I’ve been hospitalized, attended residential programs, done numerous day treatments and IOPs, and have been in individual therapy, psychiatric, and nutritional counseling pretty much since this whole illness started. And I’ve got one thing to say. I’m sick of it.
I’ve made many half-assed attempts at recovery, manipulated my way through programs, and pretty much thwarted any and all efforts my family, friends, and treatment teams have made to help me. I took three years off after high school (my senior year of which I spent in a hospital) to try to stabilize my weight and get my behaviors under control. That’s three years off the path I always planned for myself. Granted, I’m so thankful I agreed (after MUCH fighting) to take this time off seeing as I got treatment and definitely was not ready to attend college right after high school, but it has definitely put me in an awkward position in that I feel so behind all of the people my age, and yet have so much more intense life experience than the people in my college freshman class. Wow, I’m babbling! But basically, I came to school in the fall on fairly steady footing but no where near in a wholly committed recovery mindset. I did alright my freshman fall with the help of a contract with my treatment team up here at school (who I ADORE by the way!), and was even able to gain a few pounds on my own for the first time in my entire life! We then had a very long winter break, though, (I’m on trimester with a weird schedule) and I really backtracked over those few weeks. I’ve been struggling greatly with exercise addiction for the last few years and have really only managed to stop when I’ve been in residential treatment. Over this break from school, things got a lot worse, and I came back for my freshman winter term in a pretty bad spot. I wasn’t anywhere near my all-time low weight or frankly severely restricting or exercise for hours on end, but I was exhausted and my body has just been through way too much over the years.
So, I guess you could say I hit a “new” rock bottom. This was no rock bottom of weight, or caloric intake, or intensity of exercise, but it was a rock bottom for me in this phase of my recovery. I was incredibly miserable, exhausted, and dreading waking up every morning. It hurt me so much to see how unhappy I was this term (not to mention its winter and I’m in New England and its absolutely FREEZING and miserable to begin with) after I had really gotten myself to a good, much happier and fulfilled place last term. I actually was enjoying life and friends and parties and boys and all of the things I had completely cut out of my eating disorder bubble over the years. And then I just lost it all as I spiraled back downwards.
And then, a week and a half ago, my team, after numerous visits of me not fulfilling my weight gain and behavioral expectations, said the college could no longer compromise itself. I could not continue at school unless I completely stopped all exercise and made a serious commitment to gain weight and get my behaviors on track. And that was just to finish out the term which ends two weeks from now. They also broke the news to me that I would have to take spring term off. Hearing this, I was absolutely devastated. I’ve worked so hard to even STAY well enough to be in school and the thought of having to take more time off than I already have is heartbreaking.
SO I recruited my naturally persuasive self (hehe) and tried to reason with my team. And here’s the gist of where things stand now: I can finish out this term as long as I adhere to a strict no-exercise, no weight-loss program. AND if I’m able to really prove to both the team and myself that I can normalize my eating patterns and put on a good amount of weight by the end of the term, then they will reconsider letting me stay for spring term!
Basically, I’VE GOTTA DO IT! I’m so sick of this eating disorder taking away everything from me. I can’t even begin to list all the things I’ve lost to it, though I’m sure my numerous journals from treatment list those multiple times. I’m sick of not being my usual peppy, vivacious self. I’m sick of having people look at me and wonder what’s wrong with me. I’m sick of feeling like the outsider, the one who just can’t quite ever be normal. I’m sick of wanting to isolate rather than dance on a table in a college fraternity. I’m just plain sick of being sick.
This all brings me to this blog. I honestly can say I never before thought about writing my own, and have read so many inspirational accounts of other women and men in recovery, and could never picture myself actually being committed enough to want to publicly declare my dedication to reclaiming myself. I hope to write not only to keep myself accountable, but to reach out to those also struggling to let you know you are by no means alone, and to connect with those who are also trying their best in the recovery process. I’ll be posting things about my eating disorder and my recovery milestones and efforts, but also just generally ranting about life as a crazy college student. I hope this blog can help others as much as I hope it will help me.
Sending love and light to all of you!