Eating Disorder Stories: Hannah (Anorexia)
“…wasting away, pound by pound”
Have you ever loved food?
Or maybe even just enjoyed the holidays because of the difference in variety of the meal?
That was me, the real me, the Hannah without Ana.
“I wish I was skinny”
“I wish that I looked like my other friends”
“I wish I wasn’t fat”
“I wish that I could eat junk food like other girls and not gain weight”
Those were my thoughts starting around sixth grade. Hurtful, right?
Being a little girl, though at that time, I thought that having those thoughts were totally normal. I never knew that their could be such things as a eating disorder, and I for sure NEVER thought that I would be the person to develop one.
Well, that’s how it started and it for surely did not end there.
Sophomore year, all I wanted was for people to love me and accept me for who I was. I was that girl who wanted to be friends with everybody. I wanted to please all of my teachers and never cause any trouble. That is about every girl’s dream, correct?
Well, that is what I thought. I was super active with volleyball, basketball and track throughout my whole life and I took tons of pride in it. It wasn’t until I received first team all district in volleyball as a sophomore that my life and friends changed dramatically.
When you have friends that you are with almost everyday, you end up more like sisters than friends. In my case though, it was fake friends. Friends who just used me to get attention because of the recognition that I was receiving through my sports.
October of 2014 is when my whole life changed.
My three “best friends” decided to start a rumor that I was pregnant because they could not stand the amount of attention that I was receiving. By starting this rumor they assumed that they could make everyone hate me and ruin my reputation. Which worked, trust me.
At this time I was going to a small school of a little over two hundred people from Pre-K to twelfth grade, so news spread like wildfire. That is just what happened too. The same day that my three friends started the rumor is the same day that the whole school found out.
I was devastated.
I honestly did not know what was going on.
No-one would ever imagine walking to class and in the process having a group of students walk past you giving you looks, staring you up and down, whispering about you and asking you if you were pregnant. But that is what happened, and no matter what I tried to tell them to get to believe me, they wouldn’t believe me.
Thats when I got the idea that if they don’t want to believe me, I will change and make them have no choice but to believe me.
I thought to myself,
“I’m fat, and I have always thought it as well.”
And in that very moment, I started restricting.
I had this idea that I was going to start to only eat healthy and eat mostly only fruit and vegetables. Well that’s what Hannah thought, but my eating disorder had other ideas.
Instead of just eating fruits and vegetables, I started diets, weight loss pills and restricting more and more every day. Before I knew it, I was down to only one salad daily.
I didn’t know how much trauma that idea would have on my life.
Those actions made me go from one salad a day to two bites of a banana a day, and after around two weeks, that led to eating nothing. Severe abdominal pain began and I was mortified, extremely dehydrated, dizzy, in pain and constantly tired.
Sounds miserable right? It was.
My weight was escalating downwards fast and I couldn’t stop it. Passing out at home began to happen daily as well as not being able to walk because I was so malnourished, dehydrated and weak. My parents were terrified and so was I, so we went into the ER (Dell Childrens in Austin, Texas) because we had no other choice.
I was in five hospitals over the course of around four months and had every test done under the sun to find out where this severe abdominal pain was coming from. No answers were given and I was dwindling down to nothing. Skin and bones, that’s what I turned into.
Throughout this time, doctors after a while began to question if I had an eating disorder because all of my tests were coming back normal.
At this time though, I was so consumed by the eating disorder that I denied every question that they would ask just to try to get out of it. Well, it did not work.
Since my case was so severe the hospital transferred me to California on a ICU unit in the hospital of Lucile Packard, which is where through occupational therapy I admitted that I had a eating disorder.
That day I was diagnosed with restrictive Anorexia Nervosa.
Once my vitals were stable, I got transferred to Washington State to the ERC. I went threw residential treatment for almost three months, which was the hardest experience of my life. Then down to PHP which for me was scary because I was having to do meals now outside of a treatment center.
I wanted to go back home to Texas, but when we did for IOP, I relapsed. Majorly.
I knew that it meant we had to go back up to Washington, but even though that decision was hard, I knew that it was for the best. Undergoing PHP and IOP in Washington through ERC for a second time a year later changed my life.
When this journey started never in a million years would I have said that recovery is possible.
People always told me that it was, but did I believe it? Heck no!
I am here to tell you MY truth…from personal life experience:
- Recovery IS POSSIBLE.
- It seems hard.
- It IS challenging.
- Recovery is not linear and relapses will happen.
Always remember though, one bad day does NOT mean that all of the progress you have made is thrown away, because its not. It means that tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start and a day to get on the path of recovery.
Once your over that hill, life on the other side is absolutely beautiful.
Just do not give up no matter how hard it might get, because one day you will look back on your journey and think to yourself,
“Wow, I did it, and it was SO worth it!”
Your eating disorder is a part of you, but it is NOT you. No food is ever going to hurt you as bad as your eating disorder has.
So is the process of recovery worth it?
Life is way to short to be at war with yourself daily.
So, wonderful people, lets do this and knock out ANA, because you my dear are stronger and WILL RECOVER!