Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eating Disorder Awareness: My Story.

Eating disorder awareness month isn't until February but I wanted to do a post focused on eating disorder awareness. Let me tell you why.

Ive shared *some* personal stuff on here but I've never talked about my life before I became a mom. So, as my way of spreading awareness on this disease I am going to share a very personal story of mine.

When I was 13 I became friends with a girl who introduced me to a friend of her cousin. Let's call him *Mike*. Mike was 22. Now, I had already had alot of shit happen at 13 and was kind of unstable at this point. Mike and I began dating. Soon after that I got into drugs. I was smoking pot, meth, and doing cocaine. Mike do I put this....A sadistic son of a bitch who ruined my life. One of the major impacts he made on my life was that he GAVE me my eating disorder. Everything I ate around him I was forced in to a bathroom to "get rid of it" or I was beat. I continued to date him until I was 15 and my parents had him arrested and put a child order of protection against him. That same day my parents had my arrested. I had come home after having run away for an entire weekend and my parents informed me the cops were on their was BC they couldn't handle the way I was living anymore and that I needed a wake up call.

And damn, did I get one. I locked myself in my room and I took 27 Prozac. I was already obliterated out of my mind. The cops show up, break in my room and try getting me to cooperate and go with them. I threw a remote control at a very large cop and was instantly restrained and searched. They found 3 grams of meth and an empty bottle of Prozac. I was handcuffed and taken to a hospital where I was treated for the overdose and I was transferred to a psychiatric facility to detox and receive treatment for bulimia and anorexia.

I spent 39 days in the hospital.I came out so free of so many things. I was free of the burden of drugs and the burden of a seriously abusive man. One burden that stuck with me was my eating disorder.

By now I had been so completely 'mind-fucked' into thinking no matter how hard I tried I would never be thin enough. I won't share my weight but I will say I was much less than 100lbs. Eating was my worst enemy. I loathed getting out of bed in the morning BC no matter how hard I tried it was impossible to avoid every member of my family who was begging me to eat. My daily diet consisted of: In the morning I would eat a plain wheat English muffin with a liter of water. I chewed gum during the day and late afternoon I would eat 5 pretzel sticks with the salt scraped off.

Now, on days where I was practically forced to eat would be days that I just wanted to crawl in to a corner and cry. My family wasn't stupid. My parents and sisters knew my tricks and if they ever saw me eat a full meal they more or less guarded each bathroom waiting for me to beg them to let me go in. They never did and It go to be to much for me. I couldn't eat. I honestly thought that if I ate everyone would look at me like a fat pig who couldn't control herself. I believed my family and friends were trying to get me to eat only so they could see me get fat and make fun of me.

I began 'hiding' it better **GRAPHIC DETAILS AHEAD** in order to maintain the lifestyle I believed I needed to live I began hiding in my walk-in closet and purging into paper bags and I would take them out to the curb every trash day.

That thanksgiving (I was 17 almost 18 now) I was purging and started vomiting blood and I passed out. I was rushed to the hospital and I was there told that if I didn't get treatment NOW I was going to die. I finally decided it was time to get help

I was on a 24 hour monitor by my parents and also had daily sessions with a counselor who specialized in eating disorders. After many months of rigorous therapy, endless meetings with a nutritional counselor, and the best support group EVER I was finally beginning to get my life back.

I continued to have frequent episodes of relapse until I was 20. When I got pregnant. When I got pregnant I developed severe ecclampsia and gestational diabetes and I gained....Are you ready?.... 71 pounds. Pregnancy was hard. It was damned hard but I knew I had to stay healthy for my baby.

I still struggle. Almost on a daily basis. I think that part of the disease will never go away.

This time of the year is a hard time for me. It is when the holiday baking begins. It is when the plentiful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners take place. I have a hard time eating in front of people. I still feel a bit of shame, but it is more easily overcome.

My main reason for this post is to spread the awareness and the realness of an eating disorder. Anorexia and Bulimia are very real and serious potentially life threatening illnesses.

Here are the top ten warning signs for Anorexia and Bulimia.

Anorexia Nervosa:
-Deliberate self-starvation with weight loss
-Intense, persistent fear of gaining weight
-Refusal to eat or highly restrictive eating
-Continuous dieting
-Excessive facial/body hair because of inadequate protein in the diet
-Compulsive exercise
-Abnormal weight loss
-Sensitivity to cold
-Absent or irregular menstruation
-Hair loss

Bulimia Nervosa:
-Preoccupation with food
-Binge eating, usually in secret
-Vomiting after bingeing
-Abuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills
-Denial of hunger or drugs to induce vomiting
-Compulsive exercise
-Swollen salivary glands
-Broken blood vessels in the eyes

If you know someone with some or all of these behaviors, Don't stand back and wait for them to ask for help. HELP THEM. My family saved my life and I thank the Lord every day of my life for that.



Susanna said...


This really came from the heart.

I'm sure it will help raise awareness of the disease.

Glad you overcame it.

Toni said...

You truly are an amazing woman Heather. I have my own story it's something I still have a hard time talking about but I am so proud of you for sharing such a hard subject of your life. I hope this helps many girls that face this situation. I am going to put this on my Fantastic Reads Friday because I think this is a subject that needs to be heard. I hope you dont' mind

shannon said...

Wow, Heather. This is a really powerful post. Thanks for bearing your soul like that. I believe the more we talk about our struggles, the more power we take from them and the more we give a voice and courage to those feeling so alone and struggling with the same things.

I'm proud of you.

JLT6907 said...

wow, heather, that's such a powerful story! you're an amazing woman for sharing such a deep subject.i will never think of my being 'fat' the same way again. I am healthy and beautiful. and you will change some lives for sharing this with us.
love ya girl!

Tina said...

What an amazing touching story. Thank you for sharing that. If you ever need to talk, I'm here for you. I have my own eating demons.

Susan said...

Wow Heather you are very strong to have come through all of that.

I have an award for you!

Angie Vinez said...

What a story, Heather. You have dealt with so much in your life. You truly are an amazing woman.

I, too, have dealt with anorexia/bulimia for 15 years now. I've not relapsed in 4 years, but I still struggle each and every day, especially now that I'm at my heaviest... after just having had baby #5.

It was my husband that saved my life about 7 years ago. If I hadn't met him, I wouldn't be here today, and I wouldn't have the beautiful kids I do now.

Thank you for sharing your story and spreading awareness about this disorder. It is SO dangerous and people need to be aware of what to look for.

Gina said...

I never realized just what you went through with this. I'm glad that you were able to overcome it. *HUGS*

Miss Blondie said...

This was really touching and brave of you to share your story with us. Thank you. Also, i have something for you on my blog....

2TooManyHats said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It will help. You were so brave to go through all that, more than any young person should, and you are so brave to share it now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing...I so admire your courage....transparency is so hard. Thanks also for the helpful information!!

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your story,I hope that by your selfless act of sharing your story that someone who suffers from this, will stumble upon your blog and it will help them!! You are awesome!!

PS. thanks for the congrats on the stroller.. I am still pinching myself!

Alicia said...

You are such a strong Mama! You have overcome a ton of things.

xoxoxo Mama!