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Speak Up: How Have Eating Disorders Affected You?

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week encourages eating disorder sufferers to get help and educates the public. Some of you are all too aware of them, whether you've personally suffered or watched someone close to you.

Part of raising awareness is speaking out. Whether it's recognizing their effects on the mind, body, and relationships or understanding recovery is possible, opening up about your story could help someone else. How have eating disorders affected you?


Join The Conversation
glowingoasis glowingoasis 7 years
i'm currently in recovery from anorexia nervosa. it landed me in the hospital two years ago and has been coming back in waves ever since. i'm off to college now and no one is there to tell when and what to eat so it's been a struggle but i'm learning for the first time that i have to love MYSELF in order to find balance and be truely happy in my skin.
lmkt26 lmkt26 8 years
I am also gonna share my story. I became anorexic when I was thirteen. I had always been a chubby kid but all diets I did together with my mom where useless. We'd eat only pineapple or beef and swiss cheese...strange. Then, at thirteen, I had a stomach flu and lost 6 pounds in three days. I was completely fascinated and stuck with eating very little even when I was better again. I'd eat half a plate of plain rice a day...then, when my mom became kind of suspicious, I had to resort to more "normal" eating habits which was a piece of toast in the morning an something like 2 potatoes and a little bit of vegetables for lunch. I learned to pretend eating more than I actually did by letting food disappear into my school bag an getting rid of it on my way to school. At lunch I'd hide food in a napkin or in a plastic ziplock back in my underwear and flush it down the toilet later. Once I got caught and was slapped for it. I lost 40 pounds in 3 months, then I was hospitalized for kidney failure because I also didn't drink enough and was undernourished. They wanted to keep me in hospital for my eating disorder but under all the pressure I started eating again, so I was let out, but only if I came to see a psychologist once a week. I ate again, but I was totally binge eating, chugging down everything I had deprived myself of for so long, potato chips, chocolate, ice cream...I'd binge enormously one day and then eat nothing for the following three days to compensate for it. My mom was only happy that I actually ate again and let me do it, I never told the therapist and after two months I didn't go there anymore. I soon started eating less again and lost all of the little bit of weight I'd gained. I ate less then before, like an 8th of an apple for breakfast and a piece of bread with two lettuce leaves for lunch...but I always had to have something sweet, I'd become addicted to it, so I had 2 cookies or 4 pieces of chocolate candy after lunch. Then I didn't eat until breakfast next day. I was taken out of class all the time to be told be the school's physician that I was killing myself. I was so weak, I couldn't walk the half mile home from the school bus. I dozed off multiple times during the day. I cried a lot. My period had stopped long before (I'd had it only two times in my life then). My hair was falling day, after washing it, the brush became stuck at chin length because so much hair had fallen out that it had formed a tight felt from chin down. I had to cut it all off, my beautiful almost hip length hair. I was freezing all the time, I was wearing two pairs of wool tights in June. I had to put a pillow between my knees if I wanted to sleep on the side or a pillow under my hip bones if I wanted to sleep on my stomach. I dreamed of death a lot and rarely spoke to anbody. I had done different therapies three times until then, and none of it was had been helping. The therapists were all very nice, understanding people, but I kept losing weight. I reached my lowest point at 77 pounds. I had been written a referral to a hospital by my current therapist that I knew would lock me up for at least 8 months. Then l found out about another private hospital two days before I was supposed to go to the other one and went there immediately. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, I just knew it only took one month. It was living hell. Boot camp. They searched through all our stuff at admissions, even sticking their fingers in face creams to see if laxatives were hidden in there. We were not allowed to be visited at all or receive phone calls the first two weeks. We had no private sphere, they were even watching when we went to the toilet or showered. And we were FORCED to eat, huge amounts of food (normal portions). It was all vary healthy, macrobiotic. Almost every girl threw up at first, because our stomachs weren't used to holding so much food. But a new plate was brought every time until it stayed down. It hurt so much. But we also had writing therapy, massages, aromatherapy, light impulse therapy and so on, and talks with a psychiatrist. It WAS hell, but after a month I was out and not life threateningly skinny anymore. Afterwards we had to come back for weekly therapy for one year. We were also weighed, and if you went below a certain tolerance level, you had to stay there again. Luckily, I never had to, but another girl came back 7 times. I struggled to keep the weight up for the whole year, since I still wanted to eat almost no normal food and only sweets. So it was losing weight at the beginning of the week for me and gaining it back until Saturday when therapy was. Very slowly I acquired more normal eating habits when I changed school and got new friends. Food was still very much a topic for me, I never could chug down just anything without thinking about it. I also had the habit to cut up everything into tiny little pieces before eating it. so it took me ages to finish a normal meal. It was my rebellion to the hush hush force eating at the hospital, and I like to eat slowly until today. Then at seventeen I had a little acquaintance with bulimia for like three months, but I helped myself out of it again, I was just looking at myself and saying, what are you doing? So I became even a little chunkier when I stopped throwing up, but I thought it was worth it. It took my about 7 years to have a halfway normal relationship to food again. Now I consider myself healthy and slender at 123 lbs. and 5'7'' and I throroughly enjoy eating without thinking about any of it. I do eat junk food, but I also eat healthy most of the time. I like my body most of the time, some days I don't, but I don't get desperate over it anymore. I finally feel I can worry about more important things in my life than food and weight. I won't recommend my therapy method to everyone out there, because it was very goal-oriented and not too deep psychologically, so I will probably have to give psychotherapy another shot in my life to tend to my unresolved issues, but I know for me, it worked, because I needed to be taken and shaken and have my head cleared up. I was so stubborn, I just wouldn't listen to any nice words and compassion only made it worse for me...I wish you guys out there all the best, don't stop fighting, life is too good to waste it with torturing yourself!
annie222 annie222 8 years
I am so ashamed. I am probably the oldest person to ever have anorexia and still be alive. It started when I was 13 and I am now 54. I have spent the last 20 years reading everything I could on the subject in hopes of finding the answer. I have been in therapy for 10 years and have been hospitalized for low weight. One thing I know for sure is that I do not want to die. I keep begging my doctor to please stop me from killing myself. It has nothing to do with how I look. As a matter of fact I think I look like a skeleton. There is a voice in my head that is forcing me to do this and I have not found my way out. I was once so depressed that I didn't care if I died or not. Thanks to my strong faith , I truly believe that God put me here for a reason and I will never give up trying to find it. It must have something to do with preventing others even if it is one person, from letting this rule their life. There is nothing good about it . It is lonely and sad . Iwould love to hear success stories from people who have suffered for a long time and finally came out of the dark. Thanks
xkarax xkarax 8 years
I don't think I ever had an actual eating disorder (I never saw a doctor about it anyway) but when I was about 11 or 12 I was heading that way. For years i'd had to go to dancing classes almost every night of the week and with that added to family problems there was a point that I stopped eating. I'd just started high school as well and was getting to the age where I was starting to worry about weight and looks as well so everything built up and it was really stressful so I pretty much stopped eating. And dancing more and more. It got to the point where bones where sticking out and I hardly had the energy to move never mind dance. So it was only when I started losing out on dance auditions etc that my mom finally let me quit. But that was when things turned around, because the whole thing was kind of rebelling against constantly being under control, but after things had changed I started to feel better about it and eat healthier. If i'd have carried on for a few more months it would have got worse and i'd probably have had to see a doctor but luckily it never got that far. But it did have a lasting effect on me, because even now, if stress is getting too much and I feel really down for some reason I feel like depriving myself of food will make it better. It cant be an e.d because it was never diagnosed, but it must be some really weird ocd type thing going on. But I dont really know :S
hunkeydoree hunkeydoree 8 years
I guess I would say my ed started when i was fifteen...not really knowing who I was , having an entire overweight family, and having both parents one summer getting weight loss surgery, all of it through me off the wrong path. It started a week into my junior year and I started loosing weight imediately. Soon after I found a friend in my 4th period class who also had an ed and we started learning tricks from each other. I ended up loosing 20 pounds and I was thin to begin with. The nurses never said anything when they weighed me even though there was a huge weight difference from the previous year and I told my parents the weight loss was from marching band. They didn't think twice of it. I eventually told my boyfriend and he helped me slowly regain the weight but it was a quick solution not a perminate one. Only a month or so of eating relatively normal I started up again when marching band started up. I got some tips from a friend who was bulimic and started throwing up. I lost all the weight again and blamed it on band. It was horrible and I felt so isolated. I never ate and when I did i threw it up. Finally I couldn't take it, I told my boyfriend again and went to a school physiologist. I told my parents which was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Today I consider myself still under recovery. Though I never was hospitalized my condition was severe and I could tell through my body's reaction to my actions. No one should have to go through such misery. I am just glad I am finally on the right track.
BabyNorbert BabyNorbert 8 years
Eating Disorders have had a negative effect on my life - I've never had one, but I've been acused of it more times than I remember. I realise now that when my doctor asked she was doing her job, but everyone else who just assumed without knowing me - that was really tough. I used to beg my parents to let me go to a doctor and get a fattening diet - they didn't let me as they knew I'd get more fat on my body when I got my period. I still get the feeling of being too thin once in a while, but I feel loads better than I did 5 years ago (thank God). I hope that girls (and boys) with eating disorders get the help they deserve... I hope that they can pull through it and become if not fully happy then more happy with themselves. It's too easy to judge and I hope people realise that.
OhMyDragonflys OhMyDragonflys 8 years
I was anorexic and I to this day I still have anorexic tendencies. I started starving myself about the time I was thirteen. I went online and saw some pro ana sites, they really got me going. I lost weight very rapidly then my parents got concerned. I had to start seeing several doctors. I'm still working on being healthy. The easiest thing for me is to just not eat, I see results and really look better faster. Now that I'm out of the house it's so much easier because I don't have people monitoring me, but I'm honestly scared sometimes because all I want to do is be skinny. I'm scared I'll kill myself to be tiny but sometimes I'm helpless to it.
candace87 candace87 8 years
Thank you Missyd. While I do appreciate others sharing their stories, I just don't agree with people saying 'well.. once i went on a crash diet! I got really thin I totally have an eating disorder!' In reality, anyone who has SERIOUSLY had an eating disorder that has been diagnosed, understands why this is offensive. Many people, even those that tell themselves they have an eating disorder when in reality they were just on some diet, do not understand EDs. Anyone who has or has had a real problem with this will tell you that it doesn't just affect you for those few weeks or that month you felt you had a disorder. It affects you for the rest of your life, even after "recovery." Yes, you may now eat more than a celery stick and a cup of black coffee in a day, but the thoughts are still there. Its hard to explain.. and also, like someone said before BDD is a large part of EDs. This isn't like every single person in the world has gone through ' oh i feel fat today' this is like.. being 90 pounds and seeing a whale in the mirror. Literally seeing fat. It can be other things too, not just about weight, but this is whats most commonly talked about. This is a touchy subject for me but, everyone is entitled to their opinion and this is just mine. Don't attack me for it, I'm just stating my piece.
Casieee Casieee 8 years
I've been battling bulimia & anorexia for about 5 and a half years now and it's something that i feel i will never quite get over. i have seen therapists, a nutritionist and last year went to an eating disorder treatment center, but nothing seems to really help or stick. I feel like most people don't understand how terrible this disease is, it's something that you deal with every single day, it;'s horrible. i'm so restrictive in my diet it really leaves me no possible options in what to eat. it's something that defiantly has a strong hold on my life, my choices, even my personality. i want to get better, but at the same time i don't because i'm scared of what my life would be like without it. my ED is something i have grown so used to & is such a big part of my life i couldn't really see what it would be like without it.
jessie jessie 8 years
how do you know if you have a ED?
johnsonkm20 johnsonkm20 8 years
On the subject of amenorrhea, I lost my period for four 1/2 years and have finally gotten it back for about 1/2 year. Still I've been at a the same healthy recovery weight for about a year and 1/2, so it take times for your body to adjust and return to normal functioning. In addition, my gynecologist thinks that the loss of period and return has something to do with your body fat percentage when you first started getting your period. I for one was chubby when I got my first period, so I think that is why it took so long to return now, even though I've been in recovery and at a healthy weight for my body for awhile. Still depending on how long you've been without your period, it's really important to get it back - as I'm sure you know. The lack of estrogen really screws up your bones.
johnsonkm20 johnsonkm20 8 years
Wow, it shocks me how many have had issues with eating disorders. As much treatment and groups as I've been too, it always shocks me that so many others are going through the same thing, considering that none of my friends deal with it. I also have been in both camps of anorexia and bulimia, which started in high school. Being a chubby kid in middle school, I lost weight in high school without trying and slowly it turned into an obsession. It sucks how much my weight obsession has taken from my life, but at the same time I wouldn't be the person I am today :) Although I've made fairly significant recovery I still have stressful times when I regress, but it's all about how fast your are able to pull yourself out of the starvation, binge, purge cycle. It makes me sad when I hear people talk about how they wish they had anorexia or could make themselves throw up. Honestly, you don't want to learn how to make yourself throw up. It took me months to really learn &, so now it is always this option in the back of my mind as unhealthy as I know it is. So please seek counseling if you find yourself desiring to start.
deannest deannest 8 years
to be brief, as i'm sure we've all had to be.....i was really sick with both anorexia and bulimia for about 8 years, hospitalized several times for one or two month spells. the key thing is here: i got nearly completely better about 3 years ago. i still have to be watchful (but not too watchful if you know what i mean) of my habits when i get stressed for a prolonged period of time, but i consider myself fully recovered almost to the freak of nature it is possible guys and girls. i swear to it. just keep believing and working and knowing you're worth it. please do.
meggster meggster 8 years
I started having an eating disorder in High School, I became anorexic but I did not really recognize it. I went to a clinic but did not cooperate. Then I had my first bout of depression and went on anti-depressants and off to college. During my college years I had varying types of eating disorders, anorexia for a couple of weeks, bulimia for a couple of months, over exercising, etc. I went off of anti-depressants but never really addressed my eating disorder which seems to go away and come back. Now it has morphed into binging, occasionally purging and obsessing over food. It seems to come and go and does not fit into a textbook of any type of eating disorder. I don't really know how to fix it and am wary of all the costs associated with going and getting help. Any suggestions and similar stories would be greatly appreciated!
LindseyVIolet LindseyVIolet 8 years
I have been effected by anorexia (w/ purging-type) for 8 years. I have been FORCED into treatment, but recovery is not really something that can be imposed. It's just something that I have accepted now, but I know that in the long run, it's not possible to have a full life with this taking up so much energy and time. I have been lucky not to have any serious physical ramifications, despite attaining a very low weight, but most people are not that fortunate. Eating disorders are not something that one can really understand unless you've lived with one.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I've had disordered eating for about 10 years. I still struggle and typically eat less than 1500 calories a day. Horrible. :( I am too scared to seek treatment because I am training to be a social worker and they don't let you do this if you have a diagnosis of a mental health problem.
MissKris02 MissKris02 8 years
I've been bulimic for over 3 years. Looking back, I can't remember a time in my life when I ever had a healthy relationship with food. I spent 7 weeks (over two stays) in a treatment facility in 2007 before my insurance gave me the boot. I have no friends and I dropped out of college because I never want to leave the house. I feel too fat to go out and I think that everyone who looks at me will see how fat I am (I know that I'm not really "fat". I'm on the lower end of normal weight for my height). Pretty much the only time I leave the house is to go to the gym. I'm not recovered, but I'm trying really hard. Eating disorders are VERY difficult to recover from but I believe that we all can do it. I wish all of you luck!
kclulu kclulu 8 years
I would just like to reinfoirce what starangel82 has said and hope that everyone suffering through an eating disorder can get the help that they need and are able to overcome it. It makes me so sad to read the stories and about these experiences but I think there needs to be a greater understanding of these disorders and you are all very brave to share with everyone. This is far too common and can ruin the lives of otherwise strong, beautful and wonderful women. Please hang in there, there are a lot of people rooting for you.
TinaDenali TinaDenali 8 years
I've suffered from EDs for over ten years now, starting when I was 13. I've gone from anorexia, to bulimia, to COE. It's ruled my life for ten years and I just can't make it stop. Sometimes I feel really out of control and just want to crawl into a hole and never come out.
sam28 sam28 8 years
My bulemia started in high school and has come and go over the past 14 years. I'm 30 now and still struggle with it. Sometimes I will go months without bingeing or purging and then I will do it everyday for months. The depression I also struggle with seems to go hand in hand with the bulemia. If one is worse, then so is the other. Right now I'm in the middle of a relapse and have been for the past 4 months. I do okay during the week but on weekends I consume ridiculous amounts of food and purge it til I can't stand to even look at myself. What is weird is that I exercise regularly and eat very healthy during the week, but I can't seem to do that on weekends once I have time on my hands. It's a constant struggle that I tell no one about. I have no social life on the weekends because I would rather sit at home binge. It's very sad.
A-Journey-To-Wellth A-Journey-To-Wellth 8 years
im with xbethanyx.. was anorexic with bulimic tendencies during college. I became addicted to all kinds of uppers my junior and senior years and therefore went days without any food. When I didnt have drugs I returned to my caloric restriction of less than 500 cals. However, when I broke down and ate something bad I couldnt stop and binged uncontrollably for a few hours and thereafter spent an hour purging all of it. My drug problem ceased and I have gained some weight. I eat about one meal per day and since I've been eating a pescatarian diet for over a year I try to make that one meal as nutritionally fulfilling as possible. My stomach has definitely shrunk and I would have to work my way back up to 3 meals per day but it seems like so much.. I typically lie when any conversation turns to meals eaten that day. It was and always has been great to have this to manage
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