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Me and John, ages 25 and 2. I weighed approximately 90 lbs. at this point.

I did stop cutting for quite some time; however, I replaced it with other self-destructive behaviors. I began to experiment with drugs for awhile. I first must tell you what prompted me to do so. I used to baby sit the children next door every weekend while their mother went to work as a beautician. When she went out at night I would also watch the children then. There was one Saturday night when our neighbor went out and did not return until after midnight. For reasons I can no longer remember, I was extremely tired that day. After I put the children to bed I fell asleep on the couch while watching television. It was then that my mother decided to call to check in. I was in such a deep sleep that I did not hear the phone ring.  I am not sure how many times she called but she eventually sent my dad over to check on us. He found me fast asleep on the couch. My mother decided that since I was in such a deep sleep that I could not hear the phone, then surely I was doing drugs. Even though I had never touched an illegal substance up to this point, my mother was irate. She refused to be believe that I had not taken anything and I had hell to pay. I then decided that if I were to be punished for something I did not do, I may as well have the pleasure of committing the offense.

I began smoking marijuana and then added Black Beauties (Speed) into my daily regiment. When I discovered that the Speed kept me awake all night I then added Quaaludes. I am really not sure whether or not Black Beauties and Ludes still exist today because it has been decades since I wanted to take drugs.

I loved how the Speed made me more outgoing and sociable. I was well know for being quiet and shy and this also did damage to my self-esteem. When I was on Speed I felt as if I were a different person. I had no inhibitions and felt free to say what was on my mind. I was no longer afraid to be in social situations. Although I had been thin all my life, I enjoyed the added benefit of weight loss. The pounds just melted off.

I began to take Speed so often that my parents became suspicious of my change in personality and rapid weight loss. My mom decided to search my room and found my drugs. I was yet again punished and decided to stop taking drugs in order to keep my life from being a continuous living hell. I obviously was not addicted because I did not find it to difficult to stop.

The pounds quickly returned and did not stop at my previous weight. I was not overweight but I did feel fat and my face looked much rounder than before I began taking Speed. One day my mother mentioned that I needed to watch how much I was eating because I was beginning to get a double chin. In our family watching what you eat is very difficult. When my mom put food on the table you were expected to take seconds or she would be insulted. This did not just apply to my father and brother, but to my sisters and me as well.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I made a definite decision to truly watch what I ate. It eventually got to the point that I rarely ate at all. This went on from the time I was 18 years old until I was 30.

When I got my first job I did not return home until after everyone else had eaten dinner (dinner was always PROMPTLY at 5:00 pm with absolutely NO EXCEPTIONS). This all worked out very well for my budding anorexia. My mom would save me a plate to eat after I returned home. I would sit at the dining room table for awhile with my dinner while everyone else was in various other rooms of the house. After I felt that I had sat there for the appropriate amount of time I would throw my dinner away.

Eventually I got to the point where I could go for up to three days without eating a morsel. When I began to feel the dizziness set in I would usually eat something small and low in calories. I did, of course, have the occasional binge. To counteract this I took laxatives. Vomiting is something I abhor and only did that a couple times when I felt backed into a corner and forced to eat by others. Of course, my mother insisted that I threw up constantly.

Things just kept progressing and I became terrified of food. I memorized the calories and fat of every food imaginable. Every time I ate I felt that I had gained massive amounts of weight in just that one piece of food. I would panic, cry and have anxiety attacks. I weighed myself several times a day. I remember one late night after I weighed myself, I became so upset because I had gained one pound since the morning that I threw myself on my bedroom floor and cried inconsolably.

My first husband enjoyed my low weight a great deal because he prefers his women as thin as possible. We married when I was 22 years old and I became pregnant a month later. I was so thin that doctors could not believe I had the ability to become pregnant. Besides pre-ecamplsya, my pregnancy was normal and healthy.

When my son, John, was 4 years old, we were discussing what he would dress up as for Halloween. He looked at me and said, “mommy, you would make a good skeleton for Halloween.”

Most nights when John and I sat down for dinner, I would merely pretend to eat. Since I do not give birth to stupid people, my son caught on and asked why I do not eat. I did have times where things would improve and I ate better. Unfortunately it was not enough and my eating disorder had an effect on my son when he grew older. The older John became, the less he seemed to eat. I realize that he was depressed but I do feel my eating habits when he was a child played a huge role in this. By the time he crossed over he was terribly thin.

I eventually got down to 78 lbs and ended up in the hospital at the age of 28. I had gotten to the point that I wore girl’s sized clothes and when having my blood pressure taken the medical assistant or doctor would need to use a child’s cuff on me. I should have realized things were getting really bad when my ex-husband (yes, we divorced by then) whispered to me one day “don’t you think you are getting too thin now?” I never dreamed I would ever hear him say such a thing.

My eating disorder got under control when I was 30 years old. This was when I met my second husband who, even though we are now divorced, is the love of my life. I will admit that to this day, my thoughts about food are still very anorexic. I do eat well and healthy but the thoughts still creep in. If I eat before noon I feel as if I have eaten too much, even if it is only a bowl of oat bran or fruit. – Michelle

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