One of my first posts was a link to a story I wrote my freshman year at Tech. It is a “fictional” account of how my eating disorder not only hurt me but really hurt the people that loved me the most. But that story doesn’t tell about the why behind the disorder. I have recently loved reading about other bloggers’ journeys towards their relationship with food, especially those that deal with disordered eating into recovery because I see how every situation has parts that are very similar, but more that are so unique. I want to work as a dietitian serving those that are recovering from eating disorders and disordered eating, and reading these blogs has made me see that I will encounter so many types of people and no one person will be treated the same way.
Every story I have read has amazed me. The courage it takes to recount all of the fear and put yourself out there publicly is beyond words. So here is my story, I hope to do just as great a job as all of you other bloggers! (Part One)
I have been a picky eater for a very long time. Since I can remember I have had my food rituals. My breakfast almost always stayed the same: the cereal I was eating (apple jacks, cinnamon toast crunch, and wheaties) + milk (that my dog would finish for me once the cereal was gone) + a Krispy Kreme Doughnut + Orange Juice w/ water in it (because of my intolerance) + chocolate milk and soda (there but very rarely actually finished) and all of this had to be set on my TV table just right or I would not eat until my mom or dad set it up right. When I didn’t have this meal I would enjoy a breakfast treat of pancakes (explains my love for them now!) but my pancakes had to be cut up into very small pieces or I would refuse to eat them too.
I have also loved patterns and order. When I first learned about patterns in school I attempted to make everything into one. And I admit I still do this today especially with my food. Order on the other hand was different. I was not neat, my room was always messy and I never cleaned. But my socks always had to fit just so, and I loved my routine. The neatness has grown as I have grown and now I do love to vacuum and fold laundry just so.
I have also always been too competitive. Now a little competition here and there is a good thing, but I compete with everyone including my parents and best friends. Looking back this is probably why I had so few friends growing up. My competitive drive was only encouraged through the dance environment I grew up in. Dance is a cut throat sport (yes it is a sport) and to make it you have to push yourself and everyone else. To make it you have to be the best.
And I was always preoccupied with my appearance. I guess standing in front of the mirrors at a dance studio in clothing that could be used as a back up bathing suit if you forget yours and fancy a swim after class could do that to a person. But I think that even without that in my life I would have had this obsession with mirrors and weight. When we got measured in class for costumes I would stand by and listen to everyone’s measurements and then suck in and hope mine was the smallest on the list. A lot of times it was, and a lot of times it wasn’t. I would sulk silently wondering how I could become the smallest again if I wasn’t, and smile with pride if I was… When you are destined to never grow above 5 feet tall being the smallest is sort of the only thing you can count on… until it’s not.
You would think that with this competitive nature that I would always want to first in everything I did. That was true in everything except for when it came to food. At every school party I can remember since 1st grade I can remember sitting with my piece of cake or my cookie and waiting for everyone else to finish before I took my last bite. I wanted to be the last person to taste the treat.
And finally, growing up there were multiple times I would silently declare that the easy mac I just devoured because I was bored would be the last time I would eat. I would think about how I could make the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and all over my body go away but never have the conviction to throw it up or stop eating. The thoughts would invade, but be pushed away by other (more important) things in a child’s/adolescent’s daily life. AKA barbies, best friends, the first time I was allowed to wear make up, my first crush and love…
Looking back, I see that there were a lot of the warning signs for a potential eating disorder. But warnings are just that. None of these things guaranteed I was going to develop an eating disorder. In most cases, an eating disorder in someone like me (someone who has it almost in her genes) could still lay dormant all his or her life. A trigger has to push the disorder into motion. Unfortunately that is what happened to me.
Now this post is long and i have covered a lot of thought contemplating ground. So this feels like a good stopping point. I will continue with my story Next Thursday