Wednesday, February 13, 2008

nut [my story] shell.

my name is emily. i'm a 21-year-old who is just now learning how to take care of herself. according to my mother, i've shown signs of disordered eating as early as 3 to 5-years-old. i was always very small for my age and it was constantly brought to my attention how scrawny i was in school.

high school is when everything started to show up. the anxiety attacks i had experienced my whole life began to elevate to the point where i was missing classes and even leaving school early. i was perpetually miserable. my sophomore year, i began resorting to self-injury in a desperate attempt to distract from the emotional pain with physical pain. i would isolate for weeks on end and the only communication with my parents was expressed in screaming matches that could have made cats in heat cringe.
my junior year, i stayed home from school for 2 weeks because i felt too dejected to go anywhere near my high school. senior year, i started skipping lunches and would go hang out in the auditorium for the hour. three of my teachers began to catch on and expressed, on multiple occasions, their concern for the weight i was beginning to drop.

everything went downhill from there in college. i binged my way up to the "freshman 15", then fasted my way down, far past the weight i entered school at. i eventually dropped out and went into treatment, despite not being ready. (just before dropping out, however, i did finally quit my self-injurious behavior.)

my treatment repertoire consists of 3 iop programs, 2 day programs, 2 residential stays, and 1 inpatient admission...in a pear tree. it wasn't until this final go-around (inpatient to day to iop) that i finally felt it. it being that "click" that i've heard doctors talk about fully recovered patients experiencing. i couldn't do it anymore. i was 21 and while my friends were out partying and working on BAs and experiencing life... i.... well, i was waking up each morning to a thermometer in my ear and a BP cuff around my upper arm. i was asking nurses to check my toilet, before i was allowed to flush, so they would know i hadn't thrown up. i was writhing in pain each night while my body desperately tried to remember how to digest food. this was not how i wanted to live and i refused to do it any longer.

i was discharged from walden behavioral care the week of january 'o8. now, i am the happiest i have been since i was a child. i have beyond come to accept myself and am becoming the person that i really want to be; the person that family and friends have lately been describing as funny, especially caring, and fun to be around. for the first time in as long as i can remember, i am completely in love with my life.

now, spreading awareness and helping others through this hell has become a passion of mine. i feel like i can't do enough to help the eating disorder community, but i'm determined to do everything i'm capable of. i refuse to keep everything i have learned to myself.

as jenni schaefer declares in the introduction of her book, Life Without Ed, "i have never been married, but i am happily divorced."

11 comments:

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your nut shell of a story. Great that you are feeling so wonderful, living treatment can be tricky at times but I really believe recovery is possible and sustainable!

Bri said...

you.
are wonderful.

i am sooooooooooo proud of you, you have no idea. no idea. emmy i am SO HAPPY that you've finally realized how wonderful life is without that bastard. it's amazing. you're amazing. i have so much to say but i can't articulate it. i love you so much. keep up the great work. you're just awesome.

Tracey said...

Dearest Emmy,

What a wonderful and inspiring blog you have created!

Your honestly and courage are an incredible gift to others, as well as to yourself. Keep going and my deepest wishes for continued strength, perserverance, and health to you on this journey- you deserve the very best and can give the world so much!

Very Best Wishes-

forp said...

That's a very clever title. Keep up all the good stuff that you do!

Lj said...

Wow, thank you. I've been reading your blog and absolutely loving it. So easy to relate to!

But your story is so eerily similar to mine. And it's always nice to know that you're not alone. :)

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog, and I think it's wonderful. I hope for your sake that you stay recovery focused. I'm 23, and a veteran of Walden IP myself... EDs suck. One of the most powerful things I did in treatment was make a list of where I would be in 5 years WITH an ED and where I could be in 5 years without one.

With ED:
sad
scared
in a hospital
feeling bad about myself
straining relationships with family and friends
not able to be in a meaningful relationship
beating myself up for not recovering sooner

Recovery:
independent
traveling
in love
great friends
career

I suggest anyone struggling with their commitment to recovery make a list of their own.

Anonymous said...

Hi There...First off I want to congragulate you on your hard work, dedication, success and bravery! I just happened to stumble onto your blog when I was doing a search for people who have been to Walden...I, myself am a 19 yr old underweight bulimic/anorexic who has been ed'ed for almost 7 yrs now. This last yr it has made my life more of a hell then ever. I wont go into all the BS but i have severely low potassium that has been almost fatal on more then 1 account....and yet still...I continue my ways. Sigh. ANYWAYS I am now joining my family in the fight to save my life...and we are looking at Walden (actually its our last hope because of insurance and tons of other CRAP that we've been fighting...not to mention im from maine)I will only beable to do their IP program if I go though...necause that is all my insurance will pay...and we just simply cannot afford it any other way. I may too have to go over to the psych part to get off of narcotics that my body is addicted to from the chronic pain I've been going through. Okay, sorry this is longer than I planned. I'm gonna now go through the rest of your blog and read up...But I was desperately wondering in you could maybe email me...and tell me ALL (or anything!!) about your stay at walden? Were you IP? How long? How long was your overall stay? Residental? Day? Hows the food? The therapists? Just...ANYTHING you can remember would be a gift sent from above. My email is fragile_illusions@hotmail.com I hope I hear from you soon! (or at all!!)

Thank you in advance.

-Ashley

brie said...

Your story sounds so similar to mine. Thank you for sharing, Emmy.

xo
b

Rebecca said...

Your story is inspiring, and I regret to say I've been through the hell of anorexia nervosa. Now, I'm also doing everything I can to help people struggling towards recovery. It's amazing how many people I've ran into with stories that are so similiar to mine.
Right now, I'm attempting to help a girl that has struggled for 15 years with anorexia. She's serious about recovery, I can tell it. :)

Thanks for sharing! Keep on sharing! I'm sure you're helpin a lot of people. :)

mamaV said...

Hi Emmy: You and I have the same goals to help EDs through our blogs...we need to stick together.

What a story you have. You are wonderful example for all the young women out there struggling - recovery is possible and they too can achieve it.

I too made it to the other side and I thank god everyday I did.

Isn't it great to turn our bad experience into something good?

Take care!
mamaV

PS If you get a chance pop over to my blog before Dec 30, we are raising money for NEDAs annual fund drive. Our goal is $500 and NEDA sponsors will match our funds! It would be great for your readers to participate. After the donation is made, I am asking everyone to post a comment about their story and why they care about EDs so I can send it into NEDA with our donations.

Lily said...

Oh girl, this is awesome to read. I've been in and out of eating disorder facilities for 3 years now, though my ED has been present since age 8. It's rather hellish, I tell you. I went to Oceanaire and Remuda Life (both residential), Remuda Ranch (IP), and multiple hospitalisations. Just got out of RR/RLP (3 months total) in March 2008, though things have rapidly declined. I think it's so important how you have pointed out that you had the step-down. I was lucky enough to go from RR (IP) after two months to RLP (residential) for one month, but came home to zero treatment team. Unfortunately, there are no IOP close enough for me to go to everyday, and even an OP team is too much to ask for where I live.

I am just SO refreshed to read a story of someone who is getting to that point where it "clicks," as you put it. Thanks for your blog, and hope we'll be in touch. We sound like we have MUCH in common. :)