Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My story: Part 3

So, I'm hoping this will be the last of the "My Story" series- since I'm sure you guys have read enough! This is actually the first time I've sat down to think and write about my past- it's kind of therapeutic even if it's way too much to read.

I left off last time as a senior in high school. Things weren't going very well and on top of it all my parents had given me more freedom so my eating disorder was running wild. During all of high school I would have weekly or monthly (depending on how I was doing) weight checks. Around the winter of my senior year I lost a lot of weight and began hiding weights under my gown so that my doctor would think that I weighed more than I did. I actually don't even remember how my secret was revealed, but once my true weight was known, my doctors and parents were shocked. My doctor told me that I needed to be hospitalized and began making phone calls that night. I remember bawling, and being terrified of my parents. I think though that in some ways I was relieved- I was in such a bad mental state that I think I just wanted to be taken care of. I wanted to be fed, I wanted the eating disorder to be gone- I just couldn't do it on my own.

A week later I was admitted into Strong hospital in Rochester, NY. This experience was definitely eye opening. I was put on a normal adolescent ward and surrounded by "normal patients"- a girl with kidney failure, another with cancer, and a guy who had skied off of a cliff and had to be strapped into a full body splint that rotated so that he didn't get bed sores.  I was here because I was scared to eat? The patients I was surrounded with were fighting death with all their strength yet I had put myself into this state by not eating and lying to my parents. In some ways I felt guilty, like I shouldn't be there. However, the nurse that ate my meals with me reminded me that this was a disease, I was fighting for my life just like the other patients on this ward and food was my medicine.

The first three days of being in the hospital I was on an all liquid diet- I had two Ensure for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (but got the exciting choice of chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla- or even a combination of any or all three). Eventually I met with a nutritionist who walked through the hospital menu and helped me choose appropriate meal and snack choices. I would choose my meals for the week with her guidance. This was a challenge for me because the meals I had to choose from were foods I was terrified of- peanut butter, lasagna, chicken parmesan, meatloaf, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, etc. However, this taught me that I could eat these things and live to see the sun rise. In addition, my metabolism was so happy to be fed that I actually lost weight once I started eating meals and therefore and to increase my food intake.

My hospital stay lasted seventeen days. During this time I met two other girls suffering eating disorders and together we struggled to eat our meals, sit through therapy, and make efforts at getting rid of our eating disorders and gaining back our normal lives. It was definitely strange sleeping in a hospital bed for that amount of time. I was woken up every morning at 5:30 am when the nurses did their rounds to be weighed and have blood draw. While the transition back home was difficult, I definitely adjusted quickly to my own bed. My parents and I made the decision that I would gain the rest of the weight I needed at home as opposed to going to another outpatient or part time treatment center. I was committed to gaining the weight this time with the stipulation that if I did I would be able to go to college in the fall.

As you may have concluded I was able to go to college in the fall. I worked hard to stay accountable and gain the necessary weight back. It was hard, mentally and physically, but I was determined. I hope that this story has not triggered anyone. I just want everyone to be aware of the dire consequences of eating disorders and the ways they ruin lives. I also want you to understand what I've been through in order to better understand my current daily struggles. I would love to hear people's responses and am glad to answer any and all questions!

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