I have been asked many times, “How did your eating disorder start?” I am not sure that I can answer this honestly. Mainly because I did not know that what I was doing was considered an eating disorder. I really believed that it was normal and all grade school girls were doing it. I have since learned that an eating disorder is more than just anorexia and bulimia. It is more about the voice in my head that sends my world into a downward spiral, constantly telling me that I was not good enough and that I didn’t deserve anything better. Anorexia and bulimia are the outward symptoms that I put in place to deal with the emotional conflict (ex: self-imposed views of my own self-worth and my self-esteem).
But to answer the question, I can remember as far back as 11 to 12 years old displaying signs of an emerging eating disorder. For me, my eating disorder was not a byproduct of a bad childhood. I grew up in the typical American family – two parents, three siblings and a dog (most of the time). My eating disorder was born out of a desire to be thin. When people first met me or when visiting with family members during the holidays I commonly heard, “You are so skinny.” In my warped preteen mind, I heard “I will only like your or talk to you if you are thin”. I know this may sound absurd, but tell that to the little preteen girl who was just trying to fit in. I remember a time in grade school when the school called my parents to say that my lunch consisted of eating crackers and ranch dressing. My mother’s response was, “did she eat it all?” Under my breath, I muttered “fat-free ranch dressing, get it right”. The fact that I was able to fool those closest to me made me believe that I was in control. This is what I lacked the most in my life – control. I realized then, I had found my new best friend – TED.
There are many things in my life that I can point to that pushed me toward an eating disorder, but it is very important for me to say at this point, that it was completely my decision to choose to have an eating disorder. Many other preteen girls are faced with the same dilemmas and have these same feelings, yet head in a completely different direction.
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