I had an eating disorder from the age of 11 to 15. 4 years that I will never get back.
It was classed at EDNOS. This stands for eating disorder not other specified. From my point of view, this was probably the worst diagnoses I had because it’s almost the “almost” eating disorder. I was never size 0, on my deathbed kind of thin. I was thin but never dangerously thin. I always thought lot of people never truly believed me when I said I struggling because I didn’t look like I was.
I had anorexic tendencies as well as bulimic tendencies. I would restrict my calorie intake to 300-600 calories a day and at times I would last on only 300 calories for 5 days. I also used laxatives and purged a few times. I purged at home and, once, at my secondary school.
I was so conscious about what I needed to do to make sure that my secret wasn’t found out so I lost weight slowly. People wouldn’t notice if I lost the weight slowly because it wouldn’t be hard to tell. It wasn’t like I went from one size to the size below within a month. Overall, I lost about 2 and a half stone. My BMI did get low and that was good for me - it proved I was good and strong.
I had a few friends from my school who also had some forms of eating disorders/disordered eating and I would use them to feed my own eating disorder. I manipulated them in a way so I was in control of what I was eating and what food I was near/tempted to. Since recovering I obviously, feel guilty about using their problems to fuel my own. I knew what I was doing but for a long time I wasn’t the one in control. The eating disorder was.
It was never really about the food I ate, I was desperate to be in control of my own life. I didn’t feel like I could cope with the normal day to day happenings and mixed with my own insecurities about being liked and being accepted. I really think I would of developed an eating disorder in any circumstance I was in. It wasn’t at the fault of the friends I made or at the school I went to or my family.
I chose to tell a teacher in the summer of 2010, a few days after I purged for the first time at school. I knew then I wasn’t in control and if I didn’t get help then I wouldn’t never be myself again. Anyway, I told a teacher who told the pastoral care leader who organised counselling for me, visits to the school nurse who made sure I was gaining weight and kept an eye out for me. I will always be grateful for that teacher who I originally told and for the pastoral care leader. After about a year of counselling, feeling safe around food and learning to accept my flaws; I was ready to say I was recovered.
These days, I’m still recovered. I am thin, I know this. I eat 3 meals a day and at least 3 snacks (although it’s more like 6 snacks). I have bad days where I will skip a meal and I will feel like I’m a whale. These are far between each other. My aim is to help others with it and to spread awareness about eating disorders.