When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease and vitiligo. I was 5’9″ and 95lbs. My thyroid was running about 6 times normal. Medication was not helping, so doctors decided it would be best to give me radioactive iodine and kill the majority of my thyroid. There also was a point in all of that they thought I had thyroid cancer. Nothing quite like being told at 12 years old that you might have cancer. Turns out I didn’t have cancer, just a fucked up immune system.
When they did the radioactive iodine, I was 13. I went from being 95lbs to 160lbs within 6 months. It took months for them to successfully level out my thyroid with medication. I had no clue the impact that would have on me.
My mom has massive issues with food. She grew up dancing pointe and spent most of my early childhood years with an eating disorder. She was hospitalized over my first birthday for anorexia. Growing up, she strictly monitored what and when we ate. I remember sneaking food up to my room to eat, or hiding my Halloween candy under my bed and rationing it out for months, only allowing myself to eat one or two pieces a day. When I gained 65lbs in 6 months as an 8th grader, I was so disgusted in myself. It didn’t help that my mom was constantly commenting on my eating habits and telling me I was making myself fat.
I spent all of high school battling an eating disorder. People who learn this about me ask, “How could you ever starve yourself?” It’s easy. The hunger eventually just goes away. I was a calorie counter to the extreme. I wouldn’t allow myself to eat more than 500 calories a day. If I consumed more than that, I would take a cold shower to burn more calories or force myself to vomit…or cut because well, why not? By the time I was a senior, I was 117lbs. My therapist from then still reminds me regularly that I used to eat 4 French Fries and 10 grapes at lunch my senior year and that I really don’t want to go back to that lifestyle 🙂
She’s right: I don’t want to go back to counting grapes and fries. I don’t want to take cold showers to burn an extra 100 calories or eat a cup of frozen raspberries for dinner (which is only 70 calories by the way). But I still struggle with those thoughts, with that need to be skinny and count calories.
There’s a song by Silverchair called “Ana’s Song.” It perfectly depicts the love-hate relationship I have with Ana. No matter how many years have passed since I was considered full-blown anorexic, I still hear her voice in my head everytime I eat. I struggle daily with the image that I see in the mirror. I cannot buy clothes without getting someone else’s opinion first because I can never tell if I actually look as fat as I think I do. I also can’t help but wonder how many calories I’m consuming a day, even though I rarely count them anymore.
When I do yoga regularly, I see myself the way that the rest of the world sees me. But right now, I’m not able to go to yoga classes regularly. For the last 8 weeks, I’ve seen my body distort into this huge blob. My therapist told me last year that when I’m ready to address this problem, she’ll refer me to a nutritionist. Well, it’s not really a “problem,” first of all, but here’s the issue: it doesn’t matter if I’m 117lbs or 160lbs, I will never be thin enough.
There are 40 calories in 2 Starbursts by the way…in case you’re wondering what to waste your calories on today 🙂 Personally, I really only like the pink and yellow ones.
PS: Apparently there is a link between sexual abuse and eating disorders…not really sure why that is. I guess between that and having a mom with an eating disorder, I was pretty much destined to have one 😕