A Special Thanks to my first Guest Blogger Jenn Delage
Long Road to Recovery
When an eating disorder spans 16 years, it’s hard to know where to begin when you want to share with the world how you began to recover. After 16 years, I am finally beginning recovery. Honestly. No lies. With a therapist (T). A lot of times it’s like, “I’d rather rip my face off than tell you what I’m feeling..”. I told my T that on Tuesday. Right now I’m all “Heck yah! Gung ho! Let’s go! I’ll tell you anything you want to know!” Go with it Jenn, go with it. Hey if no one else wants to motivate me, it’s up to ME, baby! So move outta my way because here I go! I hope.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” Ah, the serenity prayer. I think it’s a good basis on how to live. Now, I’m not going to say my life is all roses and sunshine with chocolate sprinkles on the side. But the comparison of living with an eating disorder and living without one is almost indescribable. I feel like a completely different person – like I am now just beginning to learn who the real me is. It’s an incredible discovery. But I suppose I’d better start at the beginning…when it first started.
I was 14. Long story short, my parents were divorced, my mom was a single mother, and there were three of us. Alcoholism was a problem in my house. I wasn’t sure how to cope with everything, and one day in 9th grade health class, I learned a new word: bulimia. Oh they described the negatives. Oh, it’s so dangerous. You can die. Blah, blah, blah. But all I could think was “Wow! I can eat anything I want and NOT gain weight. Absolutely perfect!!” I’m laughing to myself right now.
Two years later I was biting down on a plastic sphere while sedatives were being injected into me as the doctor prepared to introduce a long, flexible camera into my esophagus and stomach. Did you know ulcers REALLY HURT?!?! Yep, THAT’S what was causing all the pain. Brought on by ME. So, I switched gears. Bulimia IS dangerous. I’ll just NOT eat….HA!
That lasted about 4 years. Holy mother. IT SUCKED!!! I am still regretting throwing away all of my favorite meals! I could have flippin’ enjoyed those!! Darn it! So many bad things occured during that time. When I was DEEP into the anorexia, I lost my virginity to my boyfriend at the time. Can you imagine? I was so sick in the head that I just had sex to have sex. It really didn’t mean anything to me…I just wanted to be skinny. And skinny I was.
The lengths I went to to be skinny. I ingested deadly chemicals to make myself vomit. That was agony! I remember sweating and being curled up in the fetal position on my bed waiting for the nausea to go away. And yep, I did it a few more times. I learned later that those chemicals store in your heart and can cause cardiac arrest. To this day, I don’t know how I’m not dead. I sure passed out enough times.
One day at work, my blood sugar crashed while I was in the bathroom. I passed out on the bathroom floor and just remember waking up and seeing yellow spots. I made it to the break room somehow and just sat in the chair trying to catch my breath. My good friend at the time came in and saw me asking what was wrong. I could hardly speak. All I could say was “bread”. She rushed me to the clinic. Goooood tiiiiiimes! Not long after that I asked for help.
I wanted a nap. I will claim that I had the softest bed on the face of the planet! Soooo cozy and warm. Extra padding on the mattress and many blankets. Two pillows…..mmmm…getting sleepy just thinking about it! I was at my lowest weight at that time. I got into bed and cringed. Tears rolled down my face as myhip bones ground into the mattress. Trying to lay in bed felt like trying to lay down on a stone ground. I had to pray or else I would die. I knew I would die. I just mustered everything I had and said “I can’t do this anymore.” That was my simple prayer to the Almighty up above. That was 10 years ago.
I recently relapsed. Big time and hard. I found it the only manageable way to deal with a suicide in my family. I restricted food like a mad woman and lost an insane amount of weight in such a short period. My doctor didn’t know what to do or how to help me. Friends at work didn’t know what to do. I even purged while I WAS A PATIENT in the same hospital I work in!! If that’s not insane, I don’t know what is. One friend made sure I ate lunch every day while I was inpatient.
She came every day. One day when I was still in the ICU I woke up and there she was sitting next to me. I asked her why she didn’t just wake me up. She said it looked like I needed the sleep. She just waited for me to wake up. To this day, that just warms my heart. This friend encouraged me to give church a try. Of course I believed in God, but because of my purging, restricting and pill usage, I didn’t feel I deserved to go to church. Oh how the devil was playing mind games with me. But I went.
She sat right next to me in church, and it so happened that it was communion that day. I just cried the whole dang service! I wanted to run out!! And she kept looking at me. She knew how I was feeling. I’ve continued to go, and it’s been about two months since then. Between my T, my friend and God, I am feeling like a new person. I feel healthy and for the FIRST time in my life, genuinely happy with who I am.
I am not fully recovered. It’ll be a LONG time as my T pointed out. There’s a TON of stuff still to work on. And my mind still wanders from different behaviors to different behaviors. Purging still seems enticing. Popping pills seems like a pleasure. Restricting is like a special skill. Losing weight is what I do BEST. But I know that’s not true.
There’s so much more to me. I’m shy when you first meet me. I love to hug and say “I love you” to everyone I love. I’m a very touchy, feely person. I compliment a LOT. I just like to make people feel good…..is that so bad? And in my recovery, I’m trying to learn what makes ME feel good. It’s an amazing journey and a dangerous, slippery one. My eating disorder is so incredibly accessible to me. THAT IS DANGEROUS!! But one day…I swear I will be free of it completely. I am determined. With the help of my therapist, my friend and God…I WILL get there. But I just need a little kick in the behind once in a while. Trying to maintain recovery sucks like a big load of rotten, hundred-year-old, stinky eggs!!! But hey,it’s better than the alternative!
Written By: Jenn Delage
Also – You can Find Jenn on Facebook under her name or E-Mail.