Repost from my livejournal. This was written in late 2011, and were I writing it today, I'd make several changes. Rather than a current picture of my struggles with disordered eating, consider this is a snapshot of where I was a couple years ago.
Trigger Warning: disordered eating, sexual assault
Anorexia is a weird thing.
For a girl who was
300+ lbs throughout high school, anorexia was always the terrible
disease I longed to catch. I tried being anorexic--not dieting, I mean,
I tried cultivating a fear and hatred for food. Didn't work, for the
obvious reasons. So I had a gastric bypass, which may or may not have
been about as destructive (my intestines ruptured; I nearly died). It
got the job done, and I made the decision with my eyes wide open about
possible deadly consequences (though no one mentioned intestinal
rupture!), so I don't waste time regretting my decision. Anyway.
A gastric bypass isn't a magic bullet, especially when you are very heavy pre-surgery. The first year, it's impossible not
to lose weight, but after that, you're on your own. I got down to
about 180 lbs, then went to rehab and shot up to 230 lbs pretty quick.
Since I had lost over 100 lbs, I was still considered a success story,
but it certainly didn't feel that way. So I resolved to try and lose
weight again, and began actually doing healthy things, like limiting
food intake and exercising. All for the good.
That changed after I was raped.
Weight loss became an absolute obsession, totally all-consuming. I
would weigh myself three times a day, maybe more. A gain of an ounce or
two -- not even talking pounds -- would send me on a tailspin. I
limited myself to 500 calories a day and would hyperventilate if I went
over that number. Of course, I dropped the weight very quickly, losing
nearly 80 lbs between August and December. But because I was heavy to
start, no one saw my rapid weight loss as something of a concern--except
for my therapist, who kept pushing me to see an ED specialist because
he felt like I was out of control and out of his depth (and OMG when he
threatened to stop seeing me I thought my world was crumbling; I cried
My baby brother, actually, was the first person in my family to notice.
Everyone else bought the "I'm not hungry" line, but he flat out accused
me of being anorexic, and tried hard to get my parents to notice. My
mom just didn't want to hear about it. Her strategy for my anorexia was
the same as it was for my depression and anxiety--to tell me to "get
over it" or "stop thinking about it." Real helpful. But mostly, I just
accepted the praises of everyone around me for dropping the weight like
a good girl, even as a I could barely walk because I was so dizzy.
My dad said after my intestines ruptured, he tried to explain what
happened to me. I still had a tube in my throat so I couldn't talk, but
he tried to explain the whole rupture and subsequent surgeries. When
he got to the part about them having to undo the gastric bypass best
they could, I freaked. Just lost it. He rushed to assure me that
because of my intestines being gone, the chances of my gaining weight
back were slim to none. How sick is it that, though, that the thought
of gaining weight was more of a concern at that point than, like, the
very real possibility that I might die or need a transplant or the
myriad other horrible things looming at the time?
I wasn't able to eat for over six months; I just lived on juice and IV
food. Now I've got to start eating again. My dietitian is trying so
hard to convince me that I need to eat lots of high calorie food,
because I'm dropping weight. But I'm fucking terrified. No, I didn't
get over the eating disorder just because so much other shit happened.
They have me drinking Ensure, and I can barely chug down a bottle,
because it contains almost as many calories as I would allow myself in
an entire day. I still know the calorie content of most foods, and I
add them together throughout the day without even thinking about it,
just getting more and more nervous. I try and I try to force myself to
eat. Sometimes I do okay. Sometimes I just can't.
One positive step is that I moved the scale to the garage. My therapist
allows me to weigh in once a week. No more three times a day freak out
crap. I've been mostly successful at this, but I gained a couple
pounds this week and I'm so upset. I stood on the scale and cried.
They were good pounds, necessary pounds, but I can't help wanting
to still be the 139 I was at the hospital (lowest weight so far),
instead of steadily gaining up to where the doctors want me (around
It's hard, and there are triggers everywhere. Our whole society
promotes disordered eating. I'm still working with my therapist on
this, but I wonder sometimes if you ever can get over anorexia. Will I
ever go back to how I was before, or if once that flip is switched, is
it switched forever?