Hi, y’all! Welcome.
It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and in honor, I thought I’d dive a little more into my disorder for you. Surprisingly, it isn’t really something I’ve done on here. I’ve definitely talked about it, talked about going to recovery, but I haven’t really told you about where my mind goes and the behaviors that I have. So with that, I want to warn everyone reading this that there will be eating disorder behaviors described and it is okay if that is something that is hard for you to read.
Through a lot of therapy and recovery, it’s been established that I’ve had an eating disorder since I was about 5 or 6 years old. I have a very distinct memory of hiding food and eating it in shame. Which then turned into something I would do very often. It also turned into eating multiple servings of food/snacks without remembering I did it. I would be so confused as to why I was feeling sick to my stomach, or in pain. I had to really think hard, or look at evidence to see what I had done. At a very young age I began to mentally check out during my disordered behaviors. It’s like Tabitha wasn’t even there during it.
When I got my own job and car, that’s when the problem really escalated. I would start going through drive thrus on my way home from school and order whatever I wanted. Then I’d go to work at a fast food place, where I was a cook, eat the entire work day, and then come home and lie and say that I was starving and didn’t get a chance to eat… which is when I would then eat 2 servings of whatever dinner was. Followed by whatever candy/treats I had stashed in my room. The only thing “saving” me, was that I danced several hours a day at the time. When I finally quit dancing at age 16, I gained 100 pounds in 10 months. [This is where my suicidal story kicks in as well, but this post isn’t about that.]
[side note – this is actually really hard for me to write down. I hate talking about all the things that I do with my disorder. Please forgive me if this post isn’t beautifully written, but I really want to just get it out.]
This same behavior carried on well into adulthood and I had become so good at hiding it, that when I got married my husband had no idea the things I would do until I told him six years into our marriage.
Two years ago, I had gastric bypass surgery. I had become 400 pounds and I was afraid it was never going to stop. I don’t regret it. However, that surgery just amplified my disorder. I was able to “stop” my disorder for the first year. My obsessive thoughts were always there, but I was able to not act on them. But then my mom died and all hell broke loose. My ability to mentally check out of not only my disordered behaviors, but check out of life, had become really bad. I was forgetting days at a time. I started binging on a tiny stomach. It was painful. So, so painful. My disorder turned this into punishment. While I would binge, I would cry. I would tell myself I was worthless and call myself terrible, terrible names. I would say hateful things like, “Wow, Tabitha. You have failed again. You’ve really screwed this up. You can’t do anything right. You’re letting everyone down. I HATE YOU.“ [I still struggle with saying that one to myself daily] That wasn’t once a day either…. it was several… several times a day. And then I had started weighing myself… up to 20 times a day.
The surgery would make me throw up if I didn’t eat my food correctly. I would be in pain and I would have to throw up because the food wouldn’t go down. I began to take pleasure in this. I’d throw up and think, Oh sweet. I can eat again because now it’s like I didn’t eat. I never forced myself to throw up, but I started to find joy in it and started to daydream about doing it.
I also gained 70 pounds.
That’s when I broke down and took the help my therapist kept begging me to get.
Are things better? Sure. I don’t binge as much, but I’m not perfect. Do I still tell myself horrible things? Sure. Absolutely. Daily. Is it as much, or as harsh? No, I’m working on that. That’s 25 years of mental abuse on myself that I have to undo.
Is there hope? YES.
YES THERE IS HOPE. You have hope. You can do this.
Get help. There is no shame in getting help. None at all. For once, think about yourself and your worth in a good way. You are worthy of the help you deserve. Don’t listen to the voice inside your head that tells you that you’ve gone too far. You are stronger than you believe you are. I promise.
How about you? Have you found the light at the end of the tunnel? Do you see your hope on the horizon? Are you wanting to share your story? I am wanting to share all the stories I can on Friday right here on this blog! If you have a story of surviving a disorder, or even a story of currently struggling and just want to write a post saying, “Hey… I’m here. And you aren’t alone.” That’s absolutely welcome here! Please send an email with your story (and include a link to your blog/social media for me to share if you’d like!) to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for listening!