Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010 5:09:17 PM
One hundred and eleven. That was the trigger for me. I was staring down at the electronic numbers on the scale and only one thing occurred to me. I was getting fat. Of course now I realize that that is not the case. But that number, combined with the good-natured teasing of a classmate, changed my life. It triggered a downwards spiral that I though I could control. But I couldn't. But it taught me something about life that would have never occurred to me otherwise. My eating disorder taught me to be thankful for life.
The summer before my freshman year I was getting more freedom in my food choices and a higher self awareness of my body. My weight had begun to climb. I began to restrict what I ate slightly, but it did not seem to make any difference.
When society thinks of anorexia they think of stick thin, mean models who have complete control over themselves and their actions. Being called anorexic is an insult. But for me it became a way of life. When I hit that “awful” number I began keeping track of what I was eating. If I ate too much I would become sick to my stomach and guilt would overwhelm me.
But I couldn't stop. I went online and found pro-anorexia sites or pro-ana. They combined all of the crash dieting tricks to trick the body into losing weight. But what I loved about the websites was that I was no longer alone. I could see people who were on my side, not telling me I was too thin and that I should eat more. These people were trying to do the same thing I was. We felt the same emotions went through the same routine. Binge, purge, starve, repeat. It was an endless cycle. But it was on those forums that I noticed that being anorexic meant you were alone.
I had to cover for myself all the time. Hiding food in napkins to avoid eating it, deleting the family computer's history so I wouldn't get caught. I remember, as the holiday's approached, that I was already beginning to break. I barely ate anything that Thanksgiving, but no one noticed. I said what I was grateful for, but I didn't mean it. I was too busy trying to figure out where I could hide my entire meal. Then my mom noticed the big chunks of history that were missing from the computer. She confronted me and I fessed up. Having someone aware of what was happening to me opened my eyes and I started the long road to recovery. And even though it is three years later, I still have that voice in my head, telling me I'm fat. But I won't ever go back down that road. I value my life and the lives around mine far too much for that.