TW: Eating disorders/Bulimia content
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Come springtime, I was beginning to be unhappy with my body again because I had pretty much gained all the weight back that I had lost. People around me stopped questioning my weight or eating habits because I looked “normal.” But nothing really mattered because I knew I was going to camp soon, and I would just lose all of the weight I had gained throughout the year. So I ventured off to camp excited to revert back to my ideal body. I tried to restrict myself as much as possible without my best friends or campers noticing.
The summer beforehand, the thing that made me so persistent, and fueled my weight loss, was an emotionally abusive relationship. In that, my sadness and anxiety motivated me to restrict. On the contrary, this summer, I was happier, and climbed out of the dark hole the relationship put me in. The unforgettable summer felt too short. I had the most amazing time with my best friends and campers, and I even fell in love.
When I got home from camp, there were so many exciting things happening in my life. I had a long-distance boyfriend who I loved, I was going into my freshman year of college at my dream school, my family was healthy...all was well in my world. Eventually, being back at home made reality set in, and I came to the realization that I did not lose a lot of weight at camp that I would have liked to.
First semester of college, I was enrolled in an introduction to nutrition class; I thought I might be interested in being a nutritionist one day so I decided to learn more about it. A few weeks into the class, we learned about eating disorders. I could check anorexia and restrictive disorders off my list, and I’d always heard of bulimia from people in high school. In the past, I unsuccessfully tried to make myself throw up on multiple occasions. It never worked, which was obviously for the best. But in this class, I discovered that people use laxatives as a mechanism to try and lose weight.
After giving it some thought, I went to the store and purchased senna tea. I left the store with a smile on my face, content that I had finally found something to lose weight without having to kick my ass in the gym. I started drinking the tea a couple of times a week. I could feel it working, but still, I was not satisfied with the results. So i went to the store again a few weeks later and got pink pills and chocolate laxatives. I rotated the different types throughout the week. I thought this was a simple fix and easy remedy in my determination to lose weight and love myself again.
The night before my final exam in my nutrition class, I decided to take a couple laxatives. After studying all night, I went to bed and fell asleep. As per usual, I woke up in the middle of the night and I had to pee. So I got up, went to the bathroom, and came back to my dorm room and laid back down. A few seconds later, I felt like something was immediately wrong. I sprinted to the bathroom and started to throw up until there was nothing else left inside me. I was extremely dehydrated. I collected myself, cleaned up, and washed my hands. Suddenly, I felt my face pressed against the cold, painted wall and my body fell on the tile floor. To this day, I have no idea how long I passed out for. But I woke up and went back to my room and flipped on the lights. I told my roommate to call an ambulance.
I was at the hospital for a few hours; they ran some tests, gave me a few IV bags, and released me in the morning. I was completely fine a few days later.
The thing about eating disorders is that they can stick with you forever. Some habits I will never break or unlearn. I may always feel anxious going to the grocery store or a friend’s birthday party. Similar to any traumatic event in your life, you will forever have those memories, feelings, and emotions with you.
Laxatives are never the answer. Restricting yourself is never the answer. Starving yourself is never the answer. Nothing is ever worth destroying your body and preventing you from living life to the fullest.
I know how much distressing it is endlessly wishing you had a certain body and fit into particular clothes and looked like a Victoria Secret angel. Please take my advice and never turn to any of the measures I took to try and obtain the “perfect” body. Even after everything I have gone through, I still do not love my body, and that is okay. I may never be in love with my body. As someone with body dysmorphia, I am never quite satisfied with the way that I will look. Nonetheless, whether you love your body or not, I promise you, you can love the beautiful inside.
Are you struggling with an eating disorder? Do you know someone struggling? Visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for more information.
Written by: Jessica Norris