“I am not my methods”

Project Description:

I can’t remember when my feelings of inadequacy began, but they existed long before my eating disorder came into the picture. All I know is that on December 23rd, 2010, my thoughts became actions, and I made myself puke for the first time. This day marked my spiral downward into a much more introverted, closed-off, and insecure shell of my self. My eating disorder had no mercy; it took everything from me, from my dignity to my friends and family. Mostly, it took any ounce of self-confidence that I had left after a pretty tumultuous junior high school career. Instead of spending my days happy, studying hard, and hanging out with the people I loved, I spent every second of my days thinking about food: what I had eaten, what I was thinking about eating, whether I should eat, how I could avoid eating, and how I was going to exercise that day. I lost very close to relationships to this disease, but at the time I didn’t care. I just wanted to be thin. My habits landed me in the hospital once, which I am very thankful for. It very well could have been more.

My weight was about 118.7 lbs when my disordered eating habits started. By the time I was at my sickest, I weighed about 100.2 lbs, a weight that my 5’2” frame was unable to support for very long. I spent my summer before 10th grade counting calories, abusing laxatives, and walking long distances so that I could be as thin as possible. It got so bad that I felt like I didn’t have any other talent; my friends could paint, do math, and dance, but I could starve myself better than any of them. This picture says “self-induced” on my two fingers in reference to a definition of Bulimia, which states that bulimics use “calorie-negating techniques such as self-induced vomiting and laxative abuse, but sometimes other methods such as excessive exercise or fasting.” What disturbs me most is that when I was at my skinniest, I received a lot of compliments and jealousy about how thin I was. No one knew how much I hated myself and still thought I was huge. My size 0 shorts didn’t convince me. My visible rib cage and protruding hipbones meant nothing. I wasn’t at the weight that I wanted to be. Its only now, at my weight-restored state, that when I try to put on the shorts that I fit into when I was sick that I realize just how sick I was.

Although I have returned to a very healthy weight and have adopted weight lifting and yoga into my life, I still suffer from disordered eating habits and thoughts about my body image. My restrictive diet still affects my friendships and how I interact with others, but now I know I can’t let it define me. I am not my bulimia. I never was. I never will be.”