**Edited & revised to remove triggering numbers and behaviors**
After the second marathon, my brain started plying tricks on me.
It told me that I no longer deserved food because I wasn’t logging the same amount of miles anymore. It told me no one would marry me unless I weighed less than an arbitrary number my brain made up that deemed me lovable. It told me that no one would notice if I lost only a couple pounds a month and made it down to and eventually made it down to a desirable size. It told me I was a waste of space and that I was lazy. The marathon running defined me, and now that it was over, I was nothing.
This delusion told me that unless I was perfect, there was no point in even trying. I lost a considerable amount of weight. I started losing my hair. My skin alternated between massive breakouts and desert dryness. I went numb. One day, I was so desperate to feel something, anything, that I broke a plastic hanger from my closet and tried to cut my forearm and draw a little blood. I broke more than just the hanger that day, though.
I remember hugging my mom in her bedroom with my winter coat on in the beginning of summer. She started crying and told me she could feel my ribs through my jacket, and led me to the scale in the bathroom. I stepped on, and was shocked to see the number, even with my coat on.
After a year of trying to stuff this “thing” under the rug and attempting to get better, “on my own,” my mom decided it was time to go see a doctor.
Friday, July 24, 2009: My first introduction to Ed.
He was thriving, alive and well, excited to finally have a name. Ed is the name my dietitian gave to my eating disorder.
He decided to rear his ugly head for the first “real” time while we were waiting for a consensus to be reached by a team of a doctor, dietitian, and therapist. My poor mother, so confused and buried in grief that her daughter was becoming victim to an eating disorder, took me out to our favorite restaurant. Instead of being thankful for the sandwich placed in front of me, I freaked out that there were gobs of dressing and it had soaked through the bread therefore deeming the entire sandwich inedible.
My mother is an absolute saint. She stuck by my side and held onto the hope that I was still in there. She’s the definition of resilient. I told her how much I hated her countless times, yet she still believed that someday, somehow, I’d return to the happy, respectful, kind little girl that I used to be.
We went back to the hospital and got the diagnosis: anorexia nervosa. Therapy effective immediately.
I decided to ride the coaster called therapy for a year. It wasn’t until I had a bone scan, dove back into the Bible, and realized that I actually missed my pre-anorexic self, I realized I wanted to get better. I read a remarkable book called, “Life Without Ed.” It somehow made light out of the pitch black, all-consuming darkness of eating disorders. Jenni was so incredibly relatable and her writing was very easy to read.
Looking back, I never realized just how incredible God is. Somehow, He just removed most of those horrific memories from my mind. Remarkably, my mother remembers very little of the tragic events that transpired during that year as well.
I share this brief snippet of my past for only one reason: transparency. I believe wholeheartedly that trust is built on telling the whole truth and not withholding information that could potentially clear up confusions. It also eliminates the need for assumptions. I’m a firm believer that God does not waste pain, and that our everyday struggles make us more relatable and more real.