Inspiration, Recovery, Depression, Self-harm, Eating disorders

"Mental illness never seemed like something that would be prevalent in my life. I seemed to have the regular apple pie, cookie cutter, whatever you want to call it, suburban life. Two loving parents, an older sister, family dog. We were a nice middle class family in a nice home in a nice town. It was all that, nice. But mental illness doesn't care how nice a life is, I was no exception. My illness slowly began taking over when I was 11 years old, an illness that had always been in me but was never awakened until one little word was thrown at me when arguing with a friend: fat. I had been self conscious about my weight, but to me it seemed normal considering almost every girl aware of society's standards was self conscious about it. Looking back though, I see how it hit me more than other girls. I had always seemed to care more about my appearance than my friends did and found myself looking at my stomach in the mirror long before the other people I knew did. Finally, someone said it to me, they called me fat. The problem with that is, is that I was never fat, I was actually a girl who was quite lanky. But it only took one word to confirm my fears. That is when my illness began to take over. I began restricting my food intake drastically. Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner turned into "didn't have time", a few bites of an apple, "too much homework", and "I'm really not that hungry". To me, food became fuel. I ate just enough to keep myself from passing out, growing deadly skinny as I went on. This continued as I got older and went into high school. I learned tricks along the way to give the impression that I ate, how to kill my hunger pangs, and how to weigh myself down when going to the doctor so they wouldn't know my real weight. With my tricks came disordered behaviors as well, ways of self punishment when I felt I ate too much or didn't like the number on the scale. I overworked myself, staying up until 3am doing sit-ups when the number was off, I chose self harm when I looked in the mirror and wasn't pleased, but worst of all was the purging. After eating more than I considered right, I forced my fingers down my throat until I had undone my mistakes. Life was miserable, but I convinced myself what I was doing was for the best. At fifteen I was 5' 9 and weighed approximately 94 pounds. I thought I was beautiful. My friends thought I was going to break if I was nudged too hard. Shortly after my doctor saw that I was so thin that I wasn't even on the BMI chart, and I had an explosive argument with my parents about eating, I was sent to therapy. It didn't last long. What most people don't understand is that the only way for therapy to work is if you want to get better, and frankly, I didn't. I continued on for another year of my starvation until something bigger than myself became an issue. Shortly after I was born, a brain tumor was found in my mother's brain. Surgery was done and most of the tumor was destroyed, the doctors could not remove one piece though, so it laid dormant for years, until 2016 when it began acting up. My mother left her job as a 3rd grade teacher, staying home to take the various medications to minimize the tumor's affects. I had to get better for her. I no longer wanted my mother to worry every time she saw her too thin daughter; so I went back to therapy. I tried this time. I truly talked to my therapist about how I felt when I ate and when I didn't. I was making progress towards recovery and gaining weight along the way. It all came to a sudden halt September 14, 2017 when I watched my mother take her last breath in her hospice room. They said it was part of the mourning process to lose one's appetite and I still believe that is the root today. Today I am not better. Today I still struggle to eat. But today, I continue my work towards recovery. Though she is not here, I know my mother would never want this for me. I don't want this for me. Not anymore. I will no longer let my illness control my life.”

--C. Anne, Student

POSTED: Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 7:32am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 10:09am