Sunday, June 10, 2012

story time sunday: eating disorder.

this story comes from someone i have looked up to since i could look up to anyone. here is her story:

I guess it all started when I was 18 (I’m slightly older than that now!! Haha a husband and three kids later!) , well truly the foundation was laid a long time before that.  I was raised a preachers kid who moved a lot before I landed in Las Vegas.  Keeping up appearances was always of the utmost importance in our house.  Looking great when we went in public was normal even if things weren’t so great at home.  There were a lot of high expectations for the way I looked and performed.  When things weren’t up to par there would be a lot of anger.  I lived most of my life trying to please everyone at my expense.  I didn’t want anyone to dislike me or be angry with me.

For any of you who have done that you know it doesn’t last too long.  Eventually the anger towards myself, God and my family started to come out.  I would fight with my parents so bad during my teenage years; I was so angry and was unable to process all the things I had experienced.  I remember the hate for my body started very young when people teased me and then again in junior high and high school.  Even at this time I had a bad relationship with food, everything was extreme.  I would eat nothing some days and gorge myself another.  By my senior year I was on the adkins diet year round.  Eventually I was home free when I graduated high school and I was off to college!  I thought all my problems would get better, but truly things only got worst.

I didn’t know how to control myself, my life had been so closely regulated and controlled.  Some people go to college and go crazy with drinking sex or slack at school, I binged on food.  I did not know how to deal, I was depressed, gaining weight and in a dark place.  Then I found out I had cancer.  I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, stage 2.  I moved back home to do chemo and radiation with the support of my family.  Unfortunatly, I was struggling so bad during that semester in San Diego I did not connect with many friends =(  sorry.   Chemo and radiation only made the depression worst, I wouldn’t eat, and then I would binge, and throw up because I was so sick.  I lost my hair and I hated my body even more because it had totally betrayed me. 

I did everything to fight the cancer and I went into remission but my spirit was completely broken.  I hated myself and I continued to purge (for those of you who prefer an honest description that is the nice was to say throw up, puke or vomit).  I went into crazy cycles of binging and purging.  As things started to spiral out of control I spent most of my days eating and throwing it up.  I would literally be in the bathroom for hours.  I felt so out of control I started to restrict my food to try to get back control. 

The truth was that the eating disorder control me but I felt like I finally had control.  I went back to college and found other ways to feed my addiction through laxatives and ephedra.  This produced major highs and lows for me.  It was such an abusive cycle.  I dropped my weight to 100 (I am 5’7) so this was extremely thin.  I was desperate to start fighting for my life.  I was at my grandfather’s funeral when I told my parents about my problem (I was kinda forced to my friends at the time had actually seen me purge in front of them and threatened to tell my parents).  As most people who are addicts do, I gave my parents a watered-down version of how bad it was.  So they sent me to amazing friends of the family for an intensive therapy.

I learned so much about myself and God during this time.  I went back to Canada to reconnect with a family I was completely estranged from.  My eyes were opened up by the lives of my family; I learned things about where I came from that helped inspire me to fight even more.  I have an amazing family with stories of survival for generations back.   I spent some time alone in Montreal and one night I was awaken and I went into the bathroom and for one moment I actually saw myself for what I really was (dying).  See, the problem with someone with an eating disorder is that we actually think we are fat even when we are emaciated.   When I used to look in the mirror I would only see fat, that night God opened my eyes to what was really happening.  I woke up the next morning with a new understanding of how abusive this situation was for me. 
It wasn’t easy after that but I started to surround myself with people who helped, a nutritionist, therapist, physical therapist and even a fitness trainer (he is now my husband…thanks babe).   
It took two years and the fight wasn’t easy and I relapsed often but with God’s help and others I found myself and started to love life.  Today I am free from the cycles of my addiction but I stay free by knowing that I am one bad decision away from going back to that dark place in my life.   Staying healthy is just as hard as getting healthy.  I have four amazing boys in my life (3 sons and a husband) that give me every reason to stay healthy.  Today I exercise regularly, eat balanced (no dieting) and go to therapy to help keep myself balanced.  I love life still and I love that God and I partnered in my healing.  He asked me to participate in it and because of that I cherish every day I have.  

{I can attest to God's work in her life! She is an amazing friend, a hot wife, and a fun mother. Thank you Isabelle for sharing your story. I love you.}

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