Where to start without making it too long and boring! I am 33 now and almost can't remember ever having a "normal" view of food and weight. As a kid I was always active and thin. I am the youngest of 5 with a twin brother. I was not cute by any means growing up and teased relentlesly by schoolmates, friends in the neighborhoods, and my siblings at times. I was always envious of girls my age who had cute clothes and long beautiful hair. I always had short hair with glasses and never felt like I fit in. I had friends but never felt pretty enough or good enough.
I can remember being in 6th grade and my teacher picking up a petite girl my age named Catina and swinging her around and he went to do the same to me and said "whoa" you're much bigger! I was incredibly thin but by bigger he meant taller as she was very short but I was always taller than most and always felt bigger.
Junior high was rough. Crooked teeth, glasses, permed hair. Not to mention I was real depressed. My 7th grade year I tried out for cheer and drill team and didn't make the teams. Of course I had no experience but while practicing for cheer I remember a kid walking by and laughing and making fun of my teeth and glasses. The following year I made the drill team and was good! I practiced a lot and loved the parades and competitions. During one performance I was put in the front and was thrilled because I had always been in the back due to how "big" or tall I was. The entire performance a kid laughed and made fun of my teeth. My twin brother later went after him! I was crushed. I was 15. I started being bulimic at this age. A girl I met taught me how! nice huh?! By high school I was throwing up several times a day but my weight was a normal 135 for my 5'8 frame. I had a rough sophmore year with bad grades, running away living with a friend for 3 months, and continued to purge daily and also drink. I was not an alcholic. My friend and I would sneak her mom's alchohol for fun. I returned home that summer and joined peer counseling, took ap classes, and private dance lessons. By this time I had braces and stopped wearing my glasses. I still felt insecure. All the years of being "ugly" took its toll. Not to mention I met a guy this year I liked who told me I needed to lose weight in my butt!
By my senior year I made the Varsity Dance team! I was thrilled because only 20 girls made it and I had worked hard for it. During summer practices a friend of mine and I started pulling our money to buy diet pills. I hated being one of the taller ones and still felt so big. Our coach also weighed us a lot and measured even our bone structure. Lunch would consist of orange juice, 5 crackers, and diet pills while skipping breakfast but then I'd get home after long practices ravenous. I never ate huge quantities but would make up for the daily starvation in the evening so while my weight did drop about 15 lbs down to 120 I still saw myself as big. I was a straight A student, now co teaching peer counseling, and having weekly competitions and performances. I was feeling ok but hated my body. I can't remember how it all came about that my coach found out, searched my locker, found mounds of pills, and my mother was notified. That didn't stop me. I was able to keep it up! But they took the scale out of the dance room and the coach said I would be benched if I got below 120. It never happened because I still craved eating and often marveled at anorexics who could just not eat!
I graduated with honors, moved out right after graduation, and had no plans for life! I ended up severely depressed because I still felt insecure, the bulimia was out of control now with laxative and diuretic abuse, and my weight would not go below 115 at this point. In November of '94 I overdosed. I was a nanny for a church couple at the time and they found me and rushed me in. I vaguely remember my stomache being pumped and the 3 days in I.C.U due to liver damage and severe potassium deficiency. I got help I needed but kept up with the laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, and purging.
In '95 I went to Cal Baptist University. I was thrilled to be in a dorm with other girls and in school as I have always loved school. I excelled my first year but not without turmoil and the demons of an eating disorder. My dorm mom, Jerrie Anne Fortune, was my rock during this time. She often had me stay in her apartment because I was so down and she watched my eating and weight. I tried counseling but never met a counselor I connected with. When I finally connected with an associate pastor for help who took me in with his family, he took advantage which was a crushing blow. I finally dipped below 115 and was thrilled but it was not enough. I also forgot to mention my first week in college I passed out in the hallway and came to moments later not remembering how I even left the class to pass out in the hallway. The following day I passed out in English. None of this phased me. It was embrassing and it being a small college at the time everyone was on alert. I had a 3.85 g.p.a but inside was dying.
I left CBU after the first year and continued school off and on at a junior college then cal state. I continued to excel though my weight was finally dropping below 110 and my mind was starting to change. My speech was becoming slowed and focus was extremely difficult. It was getting easier not to eat and I was also exercising, walking up to 8 miles a day. I was taking up to 100 laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, ipecac daily. I was in and out of the ER with i.v's for rehydration only to turn around and do it all over again. I was vomiting up to 8 times a day, even water if it made me full.
Let's back up a bit. In December '96 I received a call from Drema Stroud from Remuda Ranch. She'd been in contact with a friend from church who was trying to get me into their program. She would call me weekly and check on me. I would tell her I was ok because my weight was above 110. She kept telling me I was in extreme danger and to hang on. after a few weeks she called speechless. She got me a scholarship to go to Remuda in Arizona. I had 2 days to pack. I was freaked. I downed my last box of laxatives the night before the drive there. I went 3 weeks without going to the bathroom due to the severe addiction to the laxatives!
Remuda was rough. There were so many girls way thinner and I felt worse being there at a higher weight. I hid food, purged, exercised, and rebelled. During family week no one came and I was forced to go through it alone. The opening night of family week Drema showed up for me!!! It brought me to tears that she took time for me. I cried a lot that week and passed out one of the days during that stressful time. Drema offered to send my to Chandler but I refused. I left on weight gain and went back into the disorder a few more years.
Once I got below 100 pounds in 2001 it was easy not to eat. I had been in and out of therapy and groups in Redlands with Bill and Robyn Shearer who specialize in eating disorders. I refused to listen and stopped therapy. I was seeing a dietician (Lisa Licavoli) off and on but didn't listen. At 92 pounds my boss urged me to go in patient and gave me a few days off to search for a hospital. I did but refused to go in. I felt it had to come from within and no hospital would help.
It was around this time I met Seth's father who at first was very caring and supportive. I was able to get slightly above 100 pounds and before I knew it was pregnant. I immediately stopped all eating disorder behaviors to embrace my growing child. I marveled at my growing belly and his little kicks. There were insecurities but nothing would make me starve and harm my son. Ana is not more powerful than a child inside. I had a rough pregnancy. I was throwing up 4 to 6 times a day (not on purpose)and the nausea stayed the entire 9 months along with the throwing up.
Seth Hayden was born November 22, 2002. A healthy 7lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long. I was thrilled. Through nursing and a rocky marriage my weight dropped to 110 and stayed there until 2006. I was a single mom, working full time, and in school full time with 16 units of psychology. I became depressed and my weight dropped below 110 again. I met Jack's father which didn't last long and November 29, 2006 Jack Hayden was born. He was a healthy 9lbs 7 1/2 oz and 20 3/4 inches long. My mom and step dad, Jack, were there to support me through it all. It was a rough pregnancy but I embraced it all. Jack also had a rough start with breathing but my mom followed him to the nicu and brought him back just one hour later! whew!
I went to washington for 3 months on maternity leave and came back for work. My weight dropped down to 115 where it stayed until August 2007 when Jack's father decided to be involved. That's another nightmare and would take another blog. His now wife got him to get involved and he fought me two years for full custody creating outlandish lies in court. It's been beyond stressful as I have never done drugs or abused my kids. I have always gone above and beyond for both boys regardless of mistakes in the fathers I picked for them. He never got it though!!!
Through the stress and many comments about my weight dropping it was my mother who kept hounding me about counseling. I had seen a therapist a few years back but stopped going because I thought I was ok. Back in January I started seeing her again and really clicked with her. It was a matter of about 2 months before she really noticed my weight dropping and decided to start weighing me backwards. It was also at this time that after 7 years of being symptom free from everything I relapsed!! It was as though anorexia was in a coma. Though I don't purge and not considered bulimic by any means anymore I did take pills but not extreme as i had previous years. Dr. Waraich kept warning me if I got below 100 she'd hospitalize me and I refused to believe her. I tried to skirt around it all and fought her on hospitalization but she was tougher than I thought. She stuck by me but refused to watch me die as she put it. So on April 6, 2009 I entered Reasons Eating Disorder program. I started out patient due to the boys but after a week there and passing out there was forced in patient to get stable. Thankfully they worked with my court schedule and children as I was able to see them and do court exchanges. It was a tough program but one I would highly reccommend. I loved the staff, therapists, and dieticians. I am grateful to continue with Lisa Arroyas RD as she's upbeat, caring, and won't bullshit you. She's tough and gets down to business. I feel I can be myself with her. I continue to see Dr. Waraich and hope to get back to seeing her twice a week as she has never given up though I have been such a pain in the ass to both of them.
So now this leads me to my journey into recovery from full blown anorexia nervosa~