I’ve been thinking about doing this page for a while but I’ve been kind of hesitant. It’s hard for me to even look at what I have put my body through in four years. But with this blog I promised to be honest and show all parts of my eating disorder.
My parents always cooked healthy, we didn’t even keep a lot of sweets in the house. During the end of 8th grade and beginning of high school I began to feel like I didnt fit in. I got glasses, acne, and was no longer the string bean I was in middle school. I put on some womanly curves and muscle complements of 6 days a week of basketball practice.
To deal with feeling left out, I ate. Everyday after school I came home,shut myself in my room and ate the pain of school away. At the time I didnt know why I was doing it, I just knew it felt good. By the middle of sophomore year I gained 20-25 pounds!!! Honestly I’m not sure what my weight was because we did not have a scale in our house (still don’t) I do know I was a size 15/16 in jeans and XL in shirts.
In January 2007 (new years resolution)I decided to lose some weight. Sadly I knew NOTHING about calories. I would only allow myself to consume the exact amount I burned off. I thought that’s how calories worked. I didn’t know you burned calories just breathing.
I spent everyday either running 5-6 miles or doing my mom’s Firm workout video. After a month of dieting I lost 10-15 pounds. (again no scale) By the middle of february I ate an apple and one yogurt a day (150 calories) and increased my exercise. The weight still wasn’t coming off fast enough.
February 2007-Even with all my baggy clothes and school uniforms, my parents were noticing my weight loss. They began to ask me to eat more because they were worried, not about my size, just about my health. I saw an episode on the Tyra Show where girls were vomiting everything they ate. I saw this as a new way to lose weight and get rid of the calories my parents forced me to eat. The only problem is even though I was eating roughly 200 calories a day, that wasn’t enough to throw up. I was dry heaving so much blood began to come up.
One morning I got so sick I couldn’t go to school. My mom assumed i had the flu and took me to the doctor. After one look at my red throat the doctor diagnosed me with strep. I spent the next 2 weeks avoiding school and trying to purposely make myself look sick to my parents. Two weeks at home living off diet ginger ale and ice, I lost 12 more pounds!! Everyone at school LOVED the new skinny me. My doctor didn’t love it at all!! She had figured out my secret and told my parents. I realized I could no longer throw up.
March 2007-As long as my parents saw empty containers or half eaten apples they assumed I was okay. I wasnt throwing up right?? Little did they know I spent the next month hiding breakfast, skipping lunch, and running off dinner in the middle of the night. By April, teachers were calling my parents, my school uniform was falling off me, and my friends were scared to talk to me. The more kids avoided me because i was too thin, the less I ate trying to gain their affection.
By May my doctor wanted to see me again to see if I had gotten any better. I was down to 109 pounds!! After seeing how much worse I was she wanted me to go to a clinic. My parent begged for me to finish the school year and she agreed. School had become a nightmare for me. The teachers watched me at lunch, girls talked behind my back again, I couldn’t even think in class!!
I was so happy when summer came, little did I know it would be the summer from hell. My doctor threatened to have the courts take me away if my parents didn’t agree to put me in the hospital. By the beginning of July I was admitted at a weight of 103.2, my all time low!! My loving mom and dad refused to leave me overnight and the hospital grudgingly let me register for their day time program that lasted 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. It was hell, but better than a clinic. After 3 weeks in the day program, I had only gained 3.5 pounds. Even though I was eating 3000 calories a day I was exercising like crazy. The hospital gave my parents an ultimatum, let me stay overnight or watch me die. I stayed in the hospital 7 days and nights and gained 8 pounds!! I literally ate everything in sight just to get back home. The hospital docs referred me to a clinic, but my parents refused. I agreed to get better on my own.
Septemeber 2007-I began seeing an in town psychiatrist and got a note to have my school work delivered to my house. School was a major source of anxiety for me. Within 4 months (January) I was at a healthy weight but still addicted to exercise. I was doing 3000 squats a day as well as 1500 situps. I eventually had to stop after getting arthritis in my knee. This caused one of my darkest moments. I began to self harm. I couldn’t exercise or starve and had no way to deal with anxiety. I would hit my ankle with a weight, trying to break it. I hit my head against a wall until I had migraines. The first part of 2008 is a blur to me. Its been so long and honestly every day with ED is the exact same. Thats the way ED has to have it. Walk the same amount of steps, shower the same amount of time, eat the same food…
August 2008 I gave up exercising and self harm. I have no idea why but I woke up one morning and just quit!! I was excited to start a new job and for my senior year of high school and the kids at public school were much more accepting of me. I was partially going to class and partially doing work at home. Little did I know I was eating 4-5,000 calories a day!1 I became addicted to these little bottles of spray butter I thought were 0 calories, I was wrong!!!
By October of senior year I found I weighed 148 POUNDS!! I freaked!! I thought I was huge, fat , a whale!! I threatened to jump out of my tree house If I didnt lose the weight. I brought my intake down to 800 calories a day and walked 4 miles a day. By Christmas I was back at a comfy 133 pounds.
May 2009-Of couse I couldnt stop losing. By graduation and my 18th birthday I was down to 122 pounds (and thought I was fat). I was eating 1000 calories a day, but still not exercising. That summer I was so stressed with the thought of going to college I lost MORE!!
August 2009- I started college scared and afraid. I hadn’t been to school in two years!! While I don’t know if the anxiety from school caused my ED, i do know it contributed. Unfortunately I never really dealt with those issues because I never went back to school after I gained weight. Naturally due to stress from school and pressure to fit in I LOST MORE.
Christmas 2009- I was down to 113 pounds and happy with my looks. Most of my family hadn’t seen me since May and almost fainted when they saw me at Christmas dinner. I still refused to eat in front of anyone and only ate after 3:30pm when I got out of school. I spent the other hours of the day living off sugar-free gum and diet cheerwine.
I pretty much continued this way all through the spring. The less I weighed, the more OCD i became. I was obsessed with what everyone else on campus weighed, I had to be the thinnest. I would stop my dad in stores asking if that girl is thinner than me. I only ate fat-free foods and only ate after 11pm when my parents went to bed.Finally a girl in my psychology class, who was suffering from an ED as well, suggested I go see the campus nutritionist.
May 2010-I made an appointment with the nutritionist just to keep my parents off my back. When the nutritionist saw I wasnt making any progress she made me appts to see the campus doctor. Over the summer I juggled 3 different types of doctors and lied to all of them. I was sleeping until 3 everyday, working my butt off (literally) 6 hours a day, eating even less, and losing weight.
August 2010- I was warned all summer, ”gain weight or you don’t get to go back to school this fall”. But I didn’t listen, or maybe I did and I didn’t know how to fight it. A week before my sophomore year of college I went into the psychiatrist office and he threatened not to let me leave. I was 104 pounds. I panicked!! He wanted to send me straight from his office to a clinic. He called head doctor of his office, my parents, and school doctors. 2 hours later he finally let me leave his office if I promised to speak with my campus doctors that day. He said I was too thin to be walking around campus or to even drive home that day. I could die any second.
I went home and ate 3 OVERFLOWING bowls of Honeycomb and Boost protein shake. I went to the campus ED team that afternoon and vowed to visit them 3 times a week while I was on campus. As a sophomore at USC I ate in the school cafeteria for the first time!!
The next few months were a whirlwind! I joined a sorority and met some of the best girls in the world! They were the first people outside of my family I told about my ED and they accepted me with open arms. Three of my sisters in particular made me question everything about my faith. Eventually that led me to reestablish one of the most important relationships of my life, the one I had with God!!
I had my first real love, my first drink, my football game, and met one of my best friends.
Most importantly I just ate…and ate…and ate. I had to eat, I had to gain weight right? My dad even promised me a new car if i got to a healthy weight before the new year!!
By December I was healthy, had made so many new friends/sisters, and felt on top of the world!!
In January all the problems started. I was still anxious and now I was no longer taking anti-anxiety meds. (My dr thought healthy weight=healthy girl). I was no longer the skinniest, could no longer over eat to solve problems, and felt out of control of my life.
I used money from work to buy clothes/ makeup and look perfect on the outside. But food had become my drug and I needed money to buy it so I began stealing from friends/ family. It cost me some of the most valuable friendships of my life!! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could go back to those days and do it differently. I can’t believe I put food over friends.
March 2011- I was out of control!! 148 pounds and bingeing, purging, using laxatives, over exercising, starving!! Eventually I had to drop out of school on medical leave. My body was medically screwed up and mentally I couldn’t study. It killed me to leave my friends and sisters. It embarrassed me to talk about it and I hid in my bedroom most days.
Since March my weight has gone up and down from 140-165. Bingeing, purging, eating healthy, and not eating at all has become a vicious cycle. It took me 5 months to realize I wanted to be well. I realized it wasnt going to happen in a week and the weight should not be the focus of my treatment. Of course the weight is my number one concern, but focusing on the scale will only make me sicker. Some days I feel like 2 different people. The fat Ashley who eats everything in sight and hides in her room, and the skinny Ashley who can starve for weeks and loves being the center of attention. In August I started a journey to find just Ashley.