Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hope from a Young Woman Recovering from Anorexia

My story

To anyone who wants to listen to my story from the abyss of hell to my joyful rebirth as a true human being:

Various reasons cause someone to become anorexic. For me, it was a combination of my genetics and environment, both of which had detrimental effects on my mental and physical health. First, I have a Type-A personality, meaning, I am very outgoing, ambitious, and motivated to the max. Everything in which I was involved- school, sports, activities, sorority- I gave 110%. Too bad my body and my soul suffered, leaving these two most important things with nearly nothing. I no longer had an identity because I defined myself by what I did, not who I am. And now I understand that that kind of neglect of your own self can kill you, literally and spiritually. I was so busy I thought I didn’t have time to eat. So I barely did. I was doing so many external activities that my inner world, that of being aware of your innermost thoughts and feelings, was nonexistent. I had no downtime to rest and nurture God’s wonderful being I am. This world promotes that the more you do, the better you are. And, please believe me when I say that the former statement is the biggest lie. Humans are not machines, but rather living, breathing creatures who have needs, with the most simple of those needs being food and shelter, love and support. My extremely-low body weight is symbolic of me giving myself away to the “do-attitude” of our society. Another huge factor that caused me to become anorexic was my environment. Yes, I am sure the media played a role in my starvation by brainwashing my mind into thinking that tall and thin is the only way to be attractive, but that was the least of it. The biggest factor of my environment which caused me to starve was a very destructive relationship with a friend. I will not go into too many details; however, I will say that she wanted more from me than I could give her. She is emotionally dysfunctional herself, and bearing her problems as well as trying to fulfill her needs left me completely exhausted. She was like a leech, sucking the life out of me, and honestly, she almost did. I will make it clear, though, that it was my fault that this happened. I did not put up proper boundaries to deal with people like her. Therefore, this almost-deadly combination of my genes and environment caused so much damage to my mind and body. I knew I needed to get help. The last week of school before I went home for help was horrible. I knew I needed to eat more, but for some reason I couldn’t do it. I prayed about it so hard, and God told me to get help. I needed to turn this around to save my life- it was that simple.

The first step toward help was getting out of that environment, and into one of support and acceptance for someone with an eating disorder. Therefore, I went home from college and first saw a dietitian, a woman of much experience with eating disorders. After she put me on the scale, I couldn’t believe how tiny I was. My weight, needless to say, was dramatic. It happened so fast as well. She immediately sent me to a cardiologist, where they checked my heart to see what kind of damage had been done. And, of course, there was damage. Also, the next day I had a DEXA scan, and it turns out I had significant bone loss as well. The good news was, though, and for anyone who has anorexia and bulimia, those heart problems and bone loss can be fixed, if you start feeding yourself the way God intended you to. Once you stop the negative behaviors, your body will adjust and get better. I truly believe that if you are still alive, there is a tremendous amount of hope. But the whole key to getting better is that you have to WANT to get better. You have to want to live for yourself and not for anyone else- not for your mom, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, or friends. Eating disorders are not about food- it is about finding why this happened with the help of a therapist, as well as loving and accepting who you are and your body- the natural, womanly body that God gave you. After I saw what physical damage this horrible sickness did to me, I decided to not return to school for the rest of the semester. I knew I had to turn my life around quickly.

For the past three months I have been in recovery from anorexia. My life consisted of continual meetings with my dietitian, therapist, and cardiologist. I am so grateful for their tremendous support. Every pound I gained they were so encouraging; you could see it in their eyes that they were so proud of me. Having a strong supporting cast like this, as well as my family, was crucial for me in my healing. Since that fateful day of realizing I needed to save my life, I have gained 26 pounds, just 5 pounds shy of my goal weight. This significant weight gain has helped me physically and mentally. My heart and bones continue to heal, and now I feel good about my body. I was so terrified that I was going to lose my life that I completely snapped out of the horrible fog which surrounded my mind. I came back down to earth and, thus, attained tremendous perspective on what was going on. The truth is I was slowly dying. But now, just three months later, I have new life. I feel like I have been reborn and that God has given me a second chance at life. And this time, I’m not going to screw it up. I don’t care if tall and thin is in, because sometimes, as in my case, tall and thin is sick. Also, like both my dietitian and therapist said, Jesus did not care what society thought. As Christians, we are not of this world. Sometimes we forget that important detail. Also, perfection is unattainable. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, for He just wants us to be happy. God designed our bodies to have food so that they can function, and I was seriously tampering with God’s work.

But I am no longer destroying my life. I take complete responsibility for what happened, and I also take full responsibility for my recovery. I was the one that got myself better, and I thank God every day for giving me the strength to overcome my sickness.

The one great thing about eating disorders is that they are completely recoverable. No matter how long you have had it or how much damage is done, there is always hope. Also know that it is okay to seek help. It takes a very strong person to admit they have a problem. I knew in my heart that I needed help, and I got it, and look where I am today. I am 100% healthier than I was three months ago, and I am never looking back. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I eat the way God wanted me to eat- plentiful and whatever makes me feel good. If I can do it, you can do it. Just trust in God and keep the faith because one day you will overcome it. I pray every day for my own continued recovery, as well as all of the women and men out there struggling with any type of eating disorder.

God Bless,

Katy

9 comments:

Aunt Carol said...

Katy,
Your post is an inspiration and an echo. I have been in active recovery for anorexia/bulimia since Nov. 1st of 2006. I can identify with you on sooooo many levels.
Like you, I finally feel I have my life back and I thank God for it everyday.
Thank you for sharing your story, a story of hope.
Carol

Anonymous said...

Carol,

I am so happy that you are in recovery! Just keep going- you will continue to get better and it will be so wonderful! I will definitely keep you in my prayers.

God Bless,
Katy

Anonymous said...

hi katy!
Congrats on your hard work!! I agree with you 100% in many ways but what really sticks out is that you have to WANT help and WANT to get better. It does no good to not want help and seek it. You have to hit rock bottom and be ready to change and WILLING to take action. I have beeb in recovery for anorexia since 2001. You can do it! Keep up your hard work and dedication. The rewards pay off immensely and life is so much more pleasurable! CONGRATS! BETH!

Praying for your Prodigal said...

I found your blog after doing a little research following a week's posting from my friend and her mother on this very topic. You may be interested in reading Kristen's story of Anorexia and her mother, Dawn's perspective of her daughter's journey through this life-threatening disorder.

Kristen's blog can be found at http://kristenssocalledlife.blogspot.com/

Dawn's blog address is: http://grandmaofthree.blogspot.com/


Bless you as you continue to overcome!

Diane

journeygal said...

Congrats and keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing your story!

-Elise

journeygal said...

Congrats and keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing your story!

-Elise

Ronnie said...

My adult daughter is anorexic and was close to being put on a feeding tube. She is getting professional help now and slowly we're seeing her get better. Thank you for writing about your recovery. It gives me hope that in time she will be there too!

Anonymous said...

so ive been struggling with anorexia for 7 years and have relapsed yet again, i have felt a glimpse of what its like to be free, and reading your story gives me hope for the scary future that lay ahead of me and the recovery process.

Thanx, nina

myartisfashion said...

My "search for happiness" in my eating disorder recovery documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqvFME5Nn0A