You Are Not Alone
No one wakes up one day and decides he or she wants to have an addiction or disorder. It begins with that sly little voice inside your head whispering to you that you are not good enough. That when everything in your life is falling apart, you can control this one thing. Soon that voice turns into piercing screams that control your life.
I believe everyone has a variation of that negative voice. Mine was anorexia.
At the age of six, I experienced acute body dysmorphia. At twelve, I began restricting food groups and skipping meals. Secret, compulsive exercise entered into the picture soon after, and I began losing weight rapidly. By fourteen, my parents forced me to see a therapist and dietitian, which only fueled my disorder. With college came freedom from my parents’ watchful eyes, and I continued with the grueling demands that the screaming voice was ordering. Any problem or joy was met by my anorexia. It was the solution, the only thing that worked. Anxious? Run. My parents getting a divorce? Starve. Avoiding food was my way of avoiding the sadness. Being numb was the only way to survive. Emptiness was all I was used to.
By my sophomore year in college, I was too sick to function any longer, and my father medically withdrew me from my college courses. Off I went into the Arizona sunshine to Rosewood Ranch Center for Eating Disorders, where I was admitted to inpatient treatment for three months and then sent to a partial hospitalization program in Santa Monica, CA. I then went back home to live with my brothers and father and relapsed immediately. I refused to go back to treatment, but six months later my family did an intervention on my 20th birthday, and I was back on the plane to Arizona. Six months later, I left Arizona and went to stay with my extended family in Wisconsin. I attended meetings and stayed in a sober living home, but my anorexia snuck its way back again, a cunning and pervasive disease. I was kicked out of the sober home and told by my family that my only other option was treatment. Again. I looked into several other options before deciding to attend Rosewood one last time. They welcomed me with open arms.
They say the third time is the charm, and in my case, it was. I worked the program rigorously and delved into the trauma that had haunted me for so long. My depression clouded my desire to strive for any sort of recovery. But Rosewood helped me to develop new tools to get me through the darkest of days. Now I journal, listen to music, reach out to friends, run moderately, and talk about the negative voices that are inside my head instead of obeying them. I learned in group therapy that I was not alone and that others were experiencing the same pain as I was. This knowledge was so comforting to me.