середа, 25 серпня 2010 р.

Diary of an Anorexic

A poor self-image. A low self-esteem. A loss of control. That was me.
Christy Heitger-Casbon

A poor self-image. A low self-esteem. A yearning for a better body. A loss of control. These are things that most anorexics have in common. I know, because all these things once described me.
The following excerpts from my journal cover all phases of the disorder: how I fell prey to it, my conflicted feelings during recovery, and the revelation of how even now—more than a decade later—my experience with anorexia has forever changed me.
My Struggle Begins (ages 12 and 13)
February 15, 1986
I'm so gross! I don't know how anyone stands to look at me. All the skinny girls in my classes get the boyfriends, the attention, and what do I get? I get called a pig. Jason is the worst. I know brothers exist to make their sisters' lives miserable, but I think the reason Jason's comments hurt so much is because I know they're true. I am a pig. I eat way too often and way too much junk food. Mom says 110 pounds is fine for being 5 feet 3 inches tall, but I don't like how flabby I feel. I think I'm going to try to lose a few pounds—just enough so Jason will stop teasing me.
April 15
I'm not doing too bad—six pounds and counting. Another six or eight and I might look OK. I'd love to lose these thunder thighs. Jason doesn't call me "oinker" anymore, but I think that's only because Mom and Dad told him to stop.
April 24
I've made a pact with myself to cut out all "munchies" (like potato chips) from now on. And I've decided to cut out all desserts, too. That should really make a difference! Guess what I found out? A McDonald's cheeseburger has over 500 calories! And the fat content is super high! I will never eat there again!
May 21
I want to learn the caloric content in everything. I wonder how many calories are in a postage stamp. Do vitamins have calories? I know a stick of gum has 10 calories, but if I were to chew gum instead of eating lunch, I'd come out way ahead.
May 26
I've lost 17 pounds since I started dieting. It's getting harder to do, though, because Mom and Dad are noticing that I poke at my food rather than eat it. Tonight they practically force-fed me. They lectured me on eating a full meal, then made me drink a whole glass of milk—that's 110 calories! I didn't want it! It makes me sick to think they made me do something I didn't want to do.
June 1
I've noticed lately that Mom's been putting extra globs of peanut butter on my celery. I think she's trying to trick me into eating more calories, but I'm the one who's tricking her! When I get to school, I throw my lunch away. Then, while my friends scarf down their fat-filled lunches, I spend 30 minutes walking the halls. So not only do I resist consuming calories, I actually burn some! Ha! Who's in charge now?
June 15
Tomorrow we leave for Michigan for the summer. I'm kind of glad to be getting out of town because the cabin has always been a relaxing place for me, but I worry that Mom and Dad will be studying my every move.
July 1
I haven't weighed myself since I left Indiana because there's no scale here, but I think I've lost weight. I hope so—I'd love to go home at the end of the summer all skinny, pretty and tan. All my friends would be blown away!

July 15
I'm having a hard time getting a tan because I'm always wrapped in a sweatshirt and blanket. I'm sick of being cold all of the time. It was 88 degrees today, but I couldn't warm up. I'm tired a lot, too, and I'm constantly napping, but at least when I'm asleep I'm not thinking about food.
August 5
Today Mom asked me if I knew what anorexia nervosa is. She and Dad think I have it. That's crazy. Yes, I eat less now, but so what? Why do they have to criticize me for it? I get good grades. I try to make them happy. Why can't they let me have this one thing? Why do they have to control what I eat?
August 15
Time to go home. I'm worried, though. Mom and Dad say they're taking me to see Dr. Kirby when we get home. Why do they have to do that? I'm fine! What are they trying to prove?
August 24
OK—I wouldn't admit this to Mom and Dad, but I'm scared. Today when I stood up in church to sing a hymn, I blacked out. It was freaky! My eyes were open, but all I could see was darkness. I fell back into the pew, and Mom asked what was wrong. When I told her, she spazzed. I've never seen her look so petrified. Jason asked what kind of funky lipstick I had on, but I wasn't wearing any. He said my lips were completely white.
A Slow Recovery (age 13)
August 25, 1986
I'm being admitted into an Indianapolis hospital tomorrow. I'll be missing some school, but Dr. Kirby says I have no choice. I weigh 73 pounds.
September 1
I don't like my attending physician, Dr. Richards. He seems like a head case. He says any one of my major organs could give out at any moment—heart, lungs, kidneys. I thought he was exaggerating, but when he threatened to hook me up to an IV if I didn't gain weight, I figured he meant business.
September 8
Pastor Henderson visited me today. He prayed with me and told me the congregation had me in their prayers. I asked him to come again next week, and he said he had already planned to. His visit left me with a feeling of peace. For the first time since I was admitted, I feel like maybe everything will work out.
September 30
It's lonely in the hospital. I've gone through roommates like people go through chewing gum. They come and go, but I'm stuck here. Dr. Richards says I'm not going anywhere until I've gained seven more pounds. I miss my family, but fortunately either Mom or Dad visits every day. I feel terrible for having put them through this ordeal. Each night I ask God to keep them safe, healthy and happy. I feel better knowing God is watching over them.
October 30
I just got released—just in time for Halloween, not that I'll be trick-or-treating. Wouldn't Dr. Richards love to see me scarf down Halloween candy? Well, that won't be happening anytime soon. Right now, it's all I can do to down a couple pieces of pizza. I weigh 90 pounds, and, I admit, I feel stronger and more energetic than I have in months. I'm not lightheaded now that I eat six small meals a day. And I no longer have to dress in three layers of clothing to stay warm. I guess my body fat is good for something.

November 7
I ate my first cookie in over six months today. It took me 45 minutes. Mom's proud of me, and I'm proud of myself. Eating that cookie was hard to do, but I did it. That's an accomplishment.
November 19
Ninety-two pounds—that sounds pretty scary. The scariest will be when I top the big 1-0-0. I'm not gaining as fast now that I'm at home, but that's OK. As long as I gain steadily, Dr. Richards says I don't have to go back to the hospital. Throughout this nightmare, Mom and Dad have been so supportive. I used to feel like everyone was against me, but now I can see that Mom and Dad are on my side. I know they always were, but when I was starving myself, I couldn't see things clearly. Oh—guess what? Jason bought me roses as an I'm-proud-of-you type thing. It's definitely abnormal for a 16-year-old to spend $50 on his sister! But that meant so much to me. Smelling those flowers makes me feel genuinely happy—something I haven't felt in a really long time.
November 26
Jill stopped by today, and she said I looked "awesome." That made me feel good—to know that I could actually gain 20 pounds and still be told I look good. Now I see that being attractive isn't so much about being a low weight—it's about being a healthy weight. And that's what I really want—to be healthy (and happy!).
Recovery (age 23)
December 6, 1996
Today I stumbled across a horrifying picture taken during the summer of '86, and a flood of bad memories came rushing back. Mom and Dad feel the same way. Mom still gets teary when my anorexic days are mentioned, and Dad recalls the summer and fall of 1986 as the "darkest days" of his life. Just last year, Dad shared something with me that made my heart sink. He said the week before I was admitted into the hospital, he found me on the couch in the living room. As he looked at my frail, skeletal body, a chill shot up his spine. He told me I was lying so still and silent, he put his cheek next to my mouth to feel if I was still breathing. He said I looked dead. I'll never forget that.
Live after Anorexia
Although I still have some hang-ups about food and often still wish my thighs were slimmer, I have learned to cope with negative self-talk through prayer. And though I've always wanted so badly to please everyone, I've come to realize that, ultimately, it doesn't matter what others think of me. God loves me no matter how I look. He loves me because he made me, and because he is love. And he shows me his love every day in many ways.
When I gaze into my husband's eyes, glance at my college degree hanging on the wall, or hold my baby niece in my arms, I am reminded of all the things I would have missed if I'd allowed anorexia to take my life 13 years ago. I feel blessed to have gotten a second chance at life. Thanks to God's love and my family's undying support, I'm living proof that life after anorexia can be good.

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