*Long post alert*
Alright guys, heres part two of my story. If you haven’t read part one yet, you should go check that out first! Something I somehow forgot to mention in part one – January 2013 I started dating a boy! This time – he did not break my heart, and we are still together 🙂
Okay so let’s recap a little. July 3rd 2013 I’m told I have conguntivitis and am sent home from my first round of inpatient treatment. I was supposed to stay home for the weekend until I was no longer contagious and then go back to “living” at the treatment center. During that weekend I ate every meal that I needed to eat. I did not give my mom a hard time about the food that she put in front of me (yes, at this point, my mom was still having to make my meals for me..I was 17. Normal right?). I just did what I had to do, so in turn, my mom let me start partial treatment – I would go every day from about 8 am till about 4 pm and then I would get to sleep at home. Oh, and at this time in my life.. I was on at least 8 different medications for depression/anxiety and mood stabilizers.
Now for those of you who have no clue what eating disorder treatment – you don’t just get to sit down and have free time while your waiting for meals to happen. You have a jam packed schedule with little free time, and your day revolves around food. A typical schedule would be something like this – 6 am wake up for vitals and weight check, if you want to shower now’s your only chance. 8 am breakfast, 9 am group therapy, 10 am morning snack, 11 more group therapy, 12 pm lunch, 1 pm another group or maybe even an appointment with your individual therapist, 2 pm another snack.. you get the point. You are given 30 minutes at meal time and 15 at snack to finish your food. If you don’t finish every.last.drop on your plate, it is taken from you and you are given a calorically dense drink (aka ENSURE…so.gross) to make up for the calories that you did not eat. You then have 15 minutes to drink that. There are too many time that I can remember sitting in front of one of these drinks and crying. Anyways, there’s no cell phone use, aka I went without my phone from May 13 until July 3rd, crazy right?! No computer access, no razors which means no shaving. Theres a loooong list of things that you can’t bring into treatment – no gum, no sweatshirts with strings etc. You also don’t get to go outside very often (at least in inpatient). Believe it or not, I went weeks without stepping foot outside. There are daily visiting hours (short ones) so you do get to see your family/friends when they come. I was lucky enough to have visitors almost every night, besides when I was in a mood and wouldn’t let any of my visitors in (yea.. there were lots of those nights). Anyways, I’m sure you get the point. Treatment is no walk in the park, It’s hell and it’s hard work.
^Sorry, thought that info was important – back to the story. So I attended partial treatment until the end of July and was finally discharged. What did I learn in treatment? New skills and techniques to hide my eating disorder behaviors!! Yup, I learned lots of ways to hide food, “trick” the scale aka make it look like I weighed more, new ways to cut back calories, you name it. That’s what happens in these places – you come out with a set of new tricks that you had never even known about before.
Summer of 2013 was not like most summers. I was on a strict meal plan. I had to eat certain things at certain meals and certain times. I had to see a doctor and nutritionist on a weekly basis (still do actually). During that summer – something happened that I have yet to really talk about with anyone. I want to open up to you guys about it, but it will take another blog post. So for now, let’s just leave it at – Summer 2013 was not a normal one, thats for sure.
Fall of 2013 – my senior year of high school. I was supposed to be excited to start school right!? Wrong. I’m pretty sure I cried every day for a week leading up to school starting. (Honest, at this point in my life it was a good day if I only cried once) Because of treatment, I was taken out of school during the end of my junior year – there were rumors that I had cancer. Somehow, most people found out that I was in treatment for an eating disorder. This made coming back senior year even harder. People knew. I felt like everyone would be staring at me, talking about me. I felt like I was nothing more than “the girl with the eating disorder”. I felt uncomfortable eating in front of people. When most people think of eating disorders, they think of not eating at all. So, I thought that if people saw me eat, they would think I didn’t have a real eating disorder and only wanted attention (there were some actually quite a few people who said it was all for attention). Every day at lunch time, my mom would come pick me up at and we would drive around as I ate my lunch, all so nobody would see me eat. Once this stopped working with her schedule, my boyfriend and I would go out to his car at lunch time and that’s where I would eat. I was seriously so afraid of people seeing me eat. I wouldn’t let my friends post a picture of me if there was food in it. I skipped out on family dinners at restaurants. I actually didn’t eat out at a restaurant for over two years. I even missed my cousins rehearsal dinner for her wedding because of my fears of eating out.
Going back to school was hard, but I got through it. At this point, I was still self harming, still suicidal, still trying my best to restrict, still purging when I could, still sitting in front of food bawling my eyes out due to fear of weight gain, still miserable every day. I remember my mom used to drop me off at school after I had eaten breakfast and I would just go straight to the bathroom to purge- not caring if I was late to class. My eating disorder habits and rituals were kicking back in full force. I was never honest with anyone about my actions though. I always lied and told people I was doing what I needed to be doing just to avoid treatment. For weigh ins at my doctors, I would wear 5 sports bras and stuff them with anything heavy – coins batteries, one time I even put a screw driver in my spandex so that my weight loss was not noticeable on the scale. Obviously, I couldn’t hide forever.
This caught up to me and in January of 2014, I was put back into treatment. This time, I started with partial treatment. Once again, I was pulled out of school. For a few weeks I attended the partial program and missed school- totally normal?!? My first time around in treatment, I actually made some great friends, but not this time. This time, I showed up to treatment but I wasn’t really ‘there’. I didn’t participate in any group sessions, didn’t talk to a single person, and really just wanted nothing to do with the whole thing. So those weeks came and went. I told them I was ready to be discharged (knowing full well I would just be going right back to my old habits) and was sent on my merry way.
I returned back to school like normal and nobody said a word. I was waaay behind on school work from all of the time that I missed. Everyone else was finding out what colleges they had been accepted to and making these big life decisions about what the next step after high school was. Me? I was forced to take a year off after high school. My mom had told me that until I could get myself healthy, she wasn’t paying for college. At the time, I was pissed. I felt like a child. It was hard to see all my friends getting excited for their next steps and knowing that nothing was changing for me. However, my best friend and my boyfriend were both in the grade below me, so I wasn’t left all alone.
My days were still spent obsessing over food, grabbing at my fat and crying in the mirror, depressed, stressed, you name it. I started staying home from school – often, I’m talking like twice a week. I would wake up sad and just stay in bed all day long. I started having nightmares about my past treatment experiences. I also started having them about a guy coming into my room trying to kill me – during the dream I would wake up and my whole body felt paralyzed. I used to tell my mom that I was too traumatized by the nightmares to go to school (lol, I was a real big liar back then) so she would let me stay home. In reality, I was just feeling too depressed and living life felt pointless.
By the end of senior year, I had missed so much school and had so much makeup work to do, that I was put into something called the “step” program. For the last few moths during school I would go to this room instead of my classes to complete all of the work that I had to do. I almost didn’t graduate because nobody thought I’d be able to finish the work by the end of the year – it was a lot people. I had quizzes and tests and projects and all that to get done. Well, I got it done and graduated by the skin of my teeth. Seriously I was like 1 point away from not graduating.
At this point, I STILL wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, but continued lying to those around me. Prom came – it was awesome besides the fact that I had lost so much weight that my dress didn’t fit properly and I STILL wanted to cry because of how fat I felt. Next up, graduation. June passed, then July came (duhhh) and by the end of July I found myself going back to treatment yet again!! Partial treatment, once again. Yup, I spent my summer days inside a treatment facility miserable. This is around the same time that I started doing my own grocery shopping – aka spending hours at the store searching the aisles for the items lowest in calories. Sucralose in it? (an artificial sugar that has 0 calories and has been shown to have harmful side effects) I didn’t care, gimme all the chemicals!! Anything to reduce my caloric intake. This went on until about a year and a half ago when I found a passion for nutrition (but even then I still would go for low calorie low carb items – this changed more recently when I started focusing on REAL food.
So anyways, I went to treatment for a few weeks. It wasn’t helping – it never did. During that time, I went away to the cape for two nights. While I was there, I took a 20 mile bike ride. Cool right?!? Yay fitness!! Go me!! Keep in mind, I was on exercise restriction which lasted two years. Yup.. for two whole years I was not allowed to exercise. Besides the concern of losing weight from exercising, my doctors were worried it would put too much strain on my heart and I would have a heart attack. When returning back to the partial program after my few nights away, I had lost 13 pounds. THIRTEEN pounds in TWO DAYS. Of course, I was jumping for joy. Buuuuut, not too long after that – I was sent to impatient treatment yet again. At this point, I knew I needed help but still didn’t want it.
So, I went to Walden Behavioral Care inpatient treatment – same one as before. I lasted two weeks there, pretty much refusing all treatment and losing more weight. I paced the one long hall way all day long to “burn calories”. I didn’t attend a single therapy group, I pretty much stayed in my hospital bed for two weeks straight. I was discharged (still not sure how that happened) buuut being at home didn’t last too long. A few days after being home, I was sent to another treatment center – Klarman.
And that my friends, is a story for another time. I’ll talk alllll about it in part 3 of my story!
Stay tuned and thanks for reading! 🙂