How It All Started
At the age of twelve, I started to feel different about myself. I saw flaws and didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. It was the summer and I remember looking in my friends mirror and seeing my body for what felt like the first time.
I hated my body. All I can see was fat and it scared me.
I made a mental note that I was going to change this. For the whole six weeks of summer, I was going to make my body different.
I started by running everywhere when out playing with my friends. Then I slowly cut back on eating. No snacks, eating less at dinner, etc. Before I knew it, I was hardly eating anything at all and exercising all day.
I used to go to tell my family I was going to bed at six. Really, I’d exercise in my room constantly until eleven. My parents found me going to bed this early strange, but I made excuses. That’s one thing anorexia is good for – making up lies so it doesn’t get found out.
When it came to time to eat and people were around, I’d pretend to dish myself up food and eat it. If they were watching me closely, I’d even put food on my plate. Then I started to hide food.
I’d wear clothes with pockets so when people weren’t looking, I could quickly stuff food into them. I’d tip my drink down the back of the sofa and flush food down the toilet. If I ate, my brain wouldn’t be happy.
My anorexia started with my in control, but ended with my losing completely control, rather quickly too.
Anorexia Takes Over
I was admitted to an adolescent mental health unit by the age of thirteen. Sadly, this facility was no help to me at all. The longer I was there, the more anorexic I became. The longer I was there, the more ingrained my eating disorder became.
They staff didn’t understand eating disorders and I was surrounded by people with serious mental illnesses. Not like me. Of course, I know see how sick I was.
Slowly, I became more and more depressed. My brain wouldn’t give me even one moment of peace. I just couldn’t escape. My mind and body were deteriorating. That’s when I turned to self-harm.
At first, it gave me some form of release. It made me feel a tiny bit better, if only for a minute. It was the same when I started acting out on anorexia. It made me feel better about myself. I could never please the voices in my head, though. Nothing I did was ever good enough.
From Bad to Worse
I was in and out of that adolescent unit until the age of fifteen. Then I was sent to a specialized eating disorder unit. I hated ever moment. I hated being made to eat. It terrified me.
I still found ways of hiding food, though. By this time, I’d also started to make myself sick. I couldn’t stand to keep any food in my body. I hated the feeling of being full. It drove me mad. It scared me. It tormented me.
Eventually, the nurses found out I was throwing up and I had to have someone come to the toilet with me. I also had to have someone follow me around all day, but I still found ways to cheat.
I’m not proud of what I did, but deep down I know it wasn’t really me doing it.
I began to throw up into things in my room. Video boxes, my wash bag, even the floor if I was desperate.
I stayed in this eating disorder unit for three more years. By the time I turned eighteen, I could no longer stay on the adolescent unit. I wasn’t allowed to leave of my own free will, either.
My parents couldn’t even take me home. I remember them being told to leave. I watched them from my window. At that moment, my whole world fell apart. I hit the absolute bottom.
I started to learn how to cope with my illness. I started to become a healthier weight. I was still underweight, but getting healthier. The doctors and nurses noticed and I was finally allowed to go home.
She Lost Everything
I did well until I reached twenty, when I relapsed. This wasn’t my first relapse, mind you, but this was the first time I’d managed to live successfully for years before everything came crashing down.
I was sent to a different eating disorder unit and it was the worst experience of my life. The staff didn’t understand at all. We were left for whole days with nothing to do.
I slept away most of my time there. Eventually, though, it all became too much. I started to fight to get better. This wasn’t ‘cause I wanted to get better, but because I couldn’t stand to be there for another minute. It was pure hell.
A Cycle of Relapse
Eventually, I discharged after I reached my target weight. Things went well for another few years. I was happy and life seemed good. I managed to stay out of any mental health units…until I turned twenty-four.
At twenty-four years old, I relapsed again. This time things didn’t get as bad as they had in the past. Still, I needed help, so I was admitted to a day unit. This time I had a very different experience!
I met some wonderful and lovely people there. I met some of my closest friends there. That was two years ago. In the past two years, I have relapsed. I haven’t gone back to the beginning though.
That’s what those suffering from an eating disorder have to hold on to. Yes, you may relapse, but it’s a different stage of relapse. It becomes easier to return to normality, to recovery.
Although I’ve never been fully rid of the illness, I’ve had times where I can manage it and live with it in health. If you relapse, admit it to yourself! Admit you’ve fallen, dust yourself off, and get back up.
We have to be strong! Eating disorders are cunning and find ways to creep back into our lives, especially when we’re most vulnerable. We can fight!
We can realize the feeling eating disorders offer is a lie. It doesn’t give us control. No, it takes away control. Eating disorders control us. “Life” with this illness isn’t life at all. Life with this illness is merely existing, not living.
There may be times you want to give up and die because it seems easier than fighting the voice in your head. There may be times you want to quit life because it seems easier than dealing with the torment and self-hatred.
There’s more to life than anorexia. I promise you. Eating disorders don’t want you to realize this.
It’s definitely a long and hard road, but no matter how long it takes – don’t give up! Don’t let it win! It’s time to get your life back!
I never thought that I’d suffer from this illness for over half my life. If I could turn back the clock, I’d never stopped eating. I didn’t plan to be anorexic. It simply took over.
It became me, until I was nothing but anorexia and I lost every tiny part of myself. I lost my friends, family, and relationships. This illness doesn’t give you anything. It just takes and takes. It takes everything.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with anorexia or any other eating disorder, keep fighting! One day it’ll get easier! One day you’ll get who you really are back. One day you’ll see that all this fighting’s been worth it!
You’re worth so much more than this illness. I promise you, you are! Always stay strong and remember you’re not alone. Always stay strong and remember we can all change!
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