I’ll never forget the loneliness, terror, and rage. What started as taking control of my deteriorating life almost ended it when I developed Restrictive Anorexia at the tender age of thirteen. I moved almost two hundred miles from my home and into a hospital for ten months over the span of two years. I only got to see my parents on the weekends while I was a patient, because they have three other daughters and jobs to go to. I had kidney and heart problems due to my illness, not understanding the severity of my situation until it was out of my control.
I remember disgust knotting in my gut as I heard the titters and jeers of my classmates as Amanda Todd cried on the screen before us. I wanted to scream at them that they don’t know a thing about how she is feeling till my throat was raw with foul language and curses staining my tongue. Yet I kept my silence, because I knew it would’ve done no good for that broken girl on the screen, it was already too late for her.
Why? I’ve been there. How? I have my own demons in my head. Do I know all that she went through? No, I just understand that hopeless, ripping pain she felt. The kinds of pain that takes your breath away and makes you want to cease to exist. When you hate yourself so much because you KNEW what you were doing yet you let those ugly thoughts win because you’re so tired, you don’t want to fight anymore. Day after day, hour after hour, I am bombarded with thoughts that have a wish to kill me, and my deepest regret is that I almost let them.
Back then, I believed I was invincible. So when the doctor told me I wouldn’t live another week, I didn’t believe her, I refused to believe her. I couldn’t even do basic things like walking up the stairs because sudden death would happen too quickly for me; my pulse was a mere thirty beats a minute. Losing a total of 45lbs off my non-obese body; destroying me physically as much as mentally. It’s overwhelming and surreal to me even now. It was a miracle I got up every morning; I remember my mom would check on me in the night terrified that I would never wake up.
Yet my family was as powerless as I was. Frustration simmers in myself until it stirs, causing me to shut down or throw tantrums. I would beg my family -crying and begging hard enough to wake the deceased- to take me out of the poor care of the nurses but they couldn’t, because I would be stripped away from my family and become a ward of the court. One of the biggest myths of Anorexia is the belief that we just want to lose weight; so it’s our fault. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It’s there when we are born, a chemical imbalance that triggers when something mentally damaging occurs. I couldn’t have helped it anymore than someone with cancer could have prevented their illness.
Anorexia changed my whole life. One minute I was a healthy teen, all of the sudden I am on an IV and a heart monitor, laying in a hospital bed. But good things came from the hardest struggle of my life; I’m closer to my family than ever before, enjoying every moment with them. I’m wiser and stronger than the mere thirteen year old that was kissed by a voice that promised a happy life. I know more about myself and my body now than ever. Loving yourself was the hardest lesson to learn though, but now that I have, life got easier and more bearable for me.
Overall, it’s bittersweet; I’ll have to deal with this for the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter if it was for better or for worse, because I love myself now, exactly the way I am. So I’ll fight Anorexia, with all I got, with no regrets.