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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Living with an Eating Disorder (Guest Post)

A healthy relationship with food is a must.  However, there are times when due to various illnesses, people can't have the healthy relationship they seek.  Food becomes a frustration.  Nourishment becomes a problem.

Everything in life revolves around food - at home, school, work and parties food is present and its presence can be a problem in various ways for many. (See Family, Friends, Food And Fun!)

My struggles vary greatly from the guest blogger, but we can relate to one another as food is an issue for us.  A different issue, but an issue just the same. To follow my story (See Someone Asked Me Today How I Deal With...)

The guest blogger below gives us an open, honest look into living with an eating disorder.

Guest Post By Savannah Esposito of Millennial Mrs. and Mom

I never knew I had an eating disorder until I went to college. I knew something wasn’t right with my eating, but I dismissed it to me being a picky eater. I have struggled with anorexia for a long time. Mentally, I think I’ve struggled with the “ED” (eating disorder) thoughts since I was in first grade. I never considered skipping meals to be a problem when there wasn’t food around that I liked. I remember going over to friends’ houses for sleepovers and there wouldn’t be much food I’d want so I just wouldn’t eat. Or there would be amazing snack food, and I would feel too guilty to even try to eat a couple chips in front of the other girls at the sleepover.
In high school, I joined the soccer team freshman year and dropped all the “baby-weight” and kept dropping weight as the year went on. I was honestly freaked out by how much weight I’d lost because no matter what I ate or how much I ate I kept losing weight. The next year I didn’t go back to soccer, and that was when I consciously started restricting. I wasn’t aware of my actions truly because I didn’t think they were harmful, I just thought not eating meant I would be skinny and attractive and boys would want me. Truly stupid when I think about it now. Only one friend ever commented on how little I ate.
When I went to college my first boyfriend asked if I had an eating disorder because he saw how irrationally scared I was of certain foods, and how I had severe anxiety about going into the cafeteria, that often times I would just not go. I had been in denial about having anorexia simply because I wasn’t what society portrayed anorexia to be. I wasn’t emaciated, looking like a walking Skelton. I was just a bit on the thin side, and I rationalized that I was okay because I didn’t see bones sticking out. There was a time where I could feel my bones sticking out and I remember liking it, and wanting to feel more of that. I eventually went to treatment when I truly realized I had a problem when people close to me told me I had to go to treatment and that they were scared for me.
Going to treatment was one of the scariest things I’ve had to do. I had to take a semester off of school, and I hated myself for that. I am a perfectionist, and I have unreasonably high expectations of myself and missing a semester of school, to me, meant I was a failure. I got back to school the next semester but wasn’t ready for all the challenges. My friends watched me carefully and said if they saw me not eating they would call my parents. It was hard to have the relationships with them change, but I know it came from a good place. I eventually transferred schools, and took a semester off due to family obligations and got a job that semester. I worked as a waitress and as much as I loved that job I wasn’t ready for it. My anorexia kicked in overtime. I had a doctor’s note saying I needed a lunch break at the three-hour mark, but there were days that I wouldn’t take a lunch break and by the time I would get home (between 5-11 depending on which shift I had) I wouldn’t have eaten a single thing that day.

I’ve been in treatment three or four times to date. The last round of treatment really stuck. I went to a different treatment center and they were amazing. I am not “cured,” but in recovery. I still, to this day, have days where “ED” thoughts come up and I want to restrict. Recovery is something I have to choose every day. I have to consciously make the healthy decision to eat. There are days where I fit in everything I need, and there are other days, where the business of life gets in the way and I don’t get in all the food I’m supposed to, but that’s okay because I am consciously making the effort to try. I now have a child on the way and I have never been so determined to stay on track with my recovery. I am not only responsible for keeping myself healthy, but now a baby.

For more about Savannah visit her blog.

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