Before I get started I want to say something to the person writing this.
You deserve to tell your story. You deserve to make the difference only you can make. You are worthy of impacting others lives.
Here’s a picture from early March, just days before I went to the hospital. (Keep reading to figure out what that means).
Ps… it’s kinda a God-thing how before the “problem” even began, I knew exactly what I would need to hear (ie. the caption to the picture).
I could say I’ve always been insecure about my body, but that wouldn’t be completely true.
I remember it starting when I was around 7 years old. So I had a good 6 (maybe 7) years of self-acceptance. I was in gymnastics and could tell my body was different. I did not look like the rest of the girls. I was usually heavier than most girls my age, and this sparked these insecurities. This continued into 4th grade. I wasn’t really doing anything about it, I just didn’t like how my body looked.
When 5th grade rolled around I was so self conscious that many, many days I wore my North Face fleece jacket in the 90+ degree weather during recess while playing and being active. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t pass out one of those days…
The days, months, years go on and this sense of insecurity grew and grew, slowly but surely.
In 6th grade I was self conscious of my weight and acne. The self-hate and discontent grew even more as I continued to age and grow more (gaining weight and going through puberty).
Now, this is where I, unfortunately, began to take some actions.
In late March I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. Please, give me grace, this part is a little foggy. I don’t recall having any disordered eating problems, however, while in the hospital I felt so scared to eat, along with absolutely no desire to eat, that I generally ate a small salad out of a mini styrofoam bowl with little dressing for lunch and dinner. I don’t even recall eating breakfast. Like I said this part is foggy. Also, I didn’t demonstrate any disordered eating patterns before this. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted even though I was super insecure about my weight and body.
So, continuing on with the story, I started and intensive outpatient program for my depression and OCD, at the same place I have previously been in a whole different program. Intensive outpatient program, or IOP, simply means I was going everyday to therapy for 3 hours. Yes, that’s 15 hours of therapy per week…
While in this program I started a new medicine to manage my symptoms and improve my well-being. This medicine made me gain around 15 lbs.
My mind did not like this.
A saying I find relatable is something like, “genetics loaded the gun, the environment pulled the trigger”.
This was and is so true x 100000…
I had disliked my body to some degree for at least 6 years at his point.
Many of you will see the problem with gaining 15 pounds here.
After already being in a major depressive episode, my mind was going ballistic. Like I said, my mind did not like this.
Insecurity + gaining weight= a BIG problem for me.
I was in treatment, so I did the obvious thing and I asked for help.
My desperate attempts to gain control over this failed miserably. I was basically turned down from the help I needed to prevent this problem. I was told to do a thought challenge, which is a worksheet that weighs evidence for and evidence against. Nothing that would do anything to help the problem majorly.
Before anyone knew it I was engaging in daily disordered eating patterns and it began to control my life.
Obsessively counting calories.
Weighing myself way too many times a day.
Eliminating many foods, and sometimes even whole food groups.
All of it. It consumed my day, my life.
Next thing you know, I had an eating disorder.
I knew this was happening for months before anyone actually said the words, I was just far beyond scared to let go of this new companion of mine. This “promising-friend”.
I was slowly fading away. This disorder that came about when I was in need of control was now controlling my life.
I couldn’t eat what I wanted, when I wanted, or how much I wanted.
My weight dictated my worth.
My calorie intake defined my success or failure.
My food choices told whether I was good or bad.
This brought about even more shame, anxiety, and depression.
For months I was obsessively counting, weighing, restricting, etc.
The truth that was my once strong foundation was fading away just like I was.
I was consumed by numbers.
I had to be a certain weight.
I had to reach this goal of perfection, ultimate control, and absolute success.
Soon this became my identity. This goal became all I was, all I had to be.
After months and months of this, my therapist and psychiatrist both agreed a dietitian would be very beneficial.
I started seeing a lovely lady and it went okay for a little while, but then it just stopped helping. The eating disorder took this as, “if I have to follow meal plan I have to do it perfectly”. But then eventually my eating disorder got tired of eating “so much” and went back to its old habits of restricting, obsessively counting, and weighing.
We eliminated the scale factor, which solved one problem, but made the other worse. My mind went, “if I can’t know my weight everyday then I most certainly have to restrict a lot now so that it doesn’t go up”.
My treatment team all decided (I assume that’s who; I was never told exactly who) that I needed more help.
So I got that. I stopped school after Christmas Break and started attending a day program (8:00-2:00, every week day).
After I made progress, I started school back again and began an afternoon/night program.
That is where I am now.
I am finding myself.
I am learning to accept my body where it is. And that is one of the hardest things.
I am trying to trust the professionals telling me my weight is fine.
More importantly, I am learning to trust and believe that what my Lord says about me is true.