I am sure everyone has had rough times in their lives. The times that you lived through and you try to forget. The ones you have put in a dark closet, locked the door and tried to barricade from your heart and mind.
For me the door was cracked ajar on Tuesday night. At the night Weight Watchers meeting I attended, a woman brought up an issue she had been struggling with - a lack of hunger. She wondered if it had anything to do with a previous eating disorder she dealt with.
BAM! There it was right back in the forefront of my mind ... Eating disorder.
I too was one of those people who battled through not one, but two eating disorders in my past. It is a time in my life that I would rather forget. One of the toughest I have experienced.
I have always had low self esteem and an even lower opinion of myself, especially physically. I can remember back in high school struggling with food and binging. There were times I would force myself to purge, but never thought anything of it. I never thought there was a "problem".
In college, I tried Weight Watchers for the first time and felt good losing weight healthily. But then I gave up and proceeded to gradually gain 50-60 lbs. But at that point I was in a relationship and got comfortable so I didn't worry about the weight as much. Then in February 2006 it all changed as that relationship ended and my world was rocked.
I literally stopped eating and anything I did eat (crackers) I would purge. This unhealthy cycle went on for months and months. But the skinnier I got, the more the compliments poured in. "You look great!" "Keep up the good work!" "Whatever you are doing is working!"
Well, when you are in a dark place and you receive those compliments, there is really no desire to stop. If the weight is coming off, that's all that matters. Right? Not the case. I was malnourished. Fainting in the shower after working out on little more than water. Just overall unhealthy.
Finally, my friends had an intervention with me and I started eating again. But over the years, I continued to secretly purge if I felt I ate too much or I was just in an unhappy place. The disease was a safe place for me. Something I could control.
It wasn't until I joined Weight Watchers this second time (November 2009) that I can finally say I am living a healthy lifestyle. I am not perfect. I have slipped up, but I can count them on one hand in the last 18 months. The best I have done in years!
I cannot say I am 100% changed, but slowly I feel like I will get there. I have shown with hard work and determination I can accomplish my goal without using any tactics I am ashamed in. I don't feel like I need to hide anything from my friends and family anymore. Now THAT is winning.
Will I ever say I am completely free from the eating disorder demon? Probably not. But today, I can say it no longer has the stronghold on my life that it once did. Slowly, but surely I am taking my life back from it's grasp.
One day a a time ... It's all any of us can do.
If you are struggling, know there are always people there to pick you up! I'm forever grateful to the friends that have have helped me, and continue to help me persevere ... and more importantly survive!