Fat. Ugly. Lonely. Depressed. Anxious. Rejected. Unwanted. Not Worth It. Abandoned. Disgusting. Whale. Unlovable. Not Good Enough.
These words are constantly being repeated in my head on a daily basis. They become slapped around inside my head and around my body causing me to hate myself more and more each day. They ease up and then they come back with a vengeance. Some days I can survive the thoughts and other days the thoughts become a tornado spinning through my head causing me exhaustion and headaches. There is no telling what new thought and feeling will perspire from the irrational thoughts and fears I have and what these thoughts and feelings will lead me to do.
The fear is real. I fight the demons and the voices on a daily basis. The thoughts, feelings, demons and voices are being a bully. This bully is named Ana.
As a girl growing up, I was always the short, petite and ugly one (or as some people saw me as the cute one). I was the teacher’s pet, the ‘goody good’ and the girl who was afraid to get in trouble or do anything wrong. Therefore, I was an easy target and I became the kid that everyone would pick on.
I was a social girl who had many friends, did well in school and never questioned my body or my food choices. Growing up in the 90’s, we never had the issue of social media, magazines, tv shows or movies causing girls to doubt their looks and appearances, question their self-worth or lower their self-esteem. We idolized the Spice Girls and fell for the Backstreet Boys. As a kid of the 90s, we had no cares in the world except to be a kid. Therefore, I never thought my life as an adult would end up like it did.
Growing up, I lived in a bubble. I was protected by my parents, sheltered from the world around me and was never able to experience things that most kids could. By the time I was in grade 12, I had never done my own laundry, cleaned anything, cooked let alone having a drink, going to a party, kissing a boy, going on a date etc. I was the kid and teenager that went to her friends’ houses to watch movies, eat chips and drink pop and dance around like fools. Yet, that was enough for me. I didn’t need to fit in with the popular girls, go out and party and drink when I was underage, I didn’t feel the need to be cool. I was happy the way I was. However, living in this bubble set me up for a lot of negative things once I entered the real would at the age of 17.
Fast forward through life where growing up just became harder and harder. I always felt like I was ‘second’ to my brother even though I was the older one. He was always smarter than me so what I did in school was never good enough. He also got all the attention and I just wanted someone to look at me. Not only that but, I had my first serious relationship where I was mentally and emotionally abused. I never felt good enough for him or my parents so how was I good enough for anyone else? This stuck with me and I needed to control something to make me feel better about myself. The one thing I could control was FOOD.
It all started with going to the gym so my friend had a partner, which slowly turned into eating healthy and eventually cutting out food groups. From there, I increased the time I spent at the gym and was enjoying every moment of the pounds coming off. In December of 2012, I was diagnosed with severe Anorexia Nervosa. Over the span of a couple of months, the weight flew off and by April 2013 I went from 128 lbs to 56 lbs. I was in dangerous territory. Speech and movement were slowing down, everything hurt as I was all bone, I was always cold and tired and had no energy at all. I always told my family and friends that when I was ready to get help, I would seek it and I didn’t want to be pushed. Even though this frustrated them, they complied.
On April 18, 2013, I finally made the decision to go to the hospital where I was told that if I hadn’t come in that night, I wouldn’t have woken up the next morning. My body was purple and yellow from my liver and kidneys shutting down, my blood wasn’t flowing, and I couldn’t talk or walk. I was admitted to a medical ward for two months on a feeding tube which fed me overnight and during the day, I was expected to eat proper meals. I was on bed rest, was not allowed to use the bathroom without permission, was not allowed to shower, and I was completely helpless. I had to rely on my parents, friends and nurses which I hated. I was and still am an independent person. I felt so bad for everyone dropping everything for me, always coming to see me, helping me out etc. It just wasn’t fair. I felt like I owed them the world.
After two months, I was able to have the feeding tube removed and I entered into an eating disorder program. I spent 4 months (11 weeks inpatient, moved to day-patient and then finally finished with half days in transition) at Credit Valley Hospital. Here I learned how to properly eat, talk about my feelings (anxieties and depression), took part in group sessions that helped me find coping mechanisms to deal with my anxiety around food, to deal with social anxieties and eating in public and to deal with social situations and eating around others. This was a huge life-changer for me.
My lifelong dream was to be a teacher. I absolutely loved kids, found the career rewarding and worked so hard to accomplish my dreams. After I graduated teachers college in 2011, I heard nothing for 2 years. I finally had an interview in March before hospitalization. I was so sick that I don’t remember any of it and I have no idea how it happened, but I was hired. It was finally time to begin my dream however, I was too sick to do this. I was discharged from the hospital on October 17, 2013, and began teaching on October 18, 2013. I haven’t looked back since. God was on my side and with me through everything.
7 years after I surrendered to the disorder, I am a permanent teacher and I am in a healthy relationship with an amazing boyfriend who is supportive of my struggles. I was targeted for relapse since my illness was one of the worse cases my doctor had seen, yet somehow I managed to defy those odds. I still have anorexia yet I have come so far. There are challenges every day both mentally and physically but I have a routine that helps me do what I need in order to stay healthy. I still face depression and anxiety and still have my up and down days. There are days where I reflect back and wish I was back in the spot where I was in April of 2013, however, I realize how incredibly lucky I am and am so grateful for a second chance at life. Without all the positive support and my job, I don’t think I would even have tried to become healthy and face recovery but it was the best decision I made.
Being on See Hear Love, provided me an amazing platform to finally share my story and struggles with the world. I hope my story can be one that can help at least ONE other person who is suffering. I have changed all my negatives into a positive to help others. Anorexia doesn’t just go away but I can be recovered!