It happens to be my birthday next week. I'm turning 20...and I feel so old! I know, I know. I'm not old. 20 is just starting life. But it feels so strange...
I think having ED makes me feel this way. I don't feel as though I really had much of a teen life. I can trace ED back to when I was 13, but it was very weak then. Nevertheless, ED has been on board for a while. So turning 20 is like I'm leaving all my teen years behind...and they weren't without their problems - thanks to ED.
As a teen, I always felt fat. I was the biggest girl in elementary school, and people always made fun of me for it. Then, when ED came along, I felt good. I was losing weight. Good! Things were going to get better...
But they didn't. They got worse. Weight loss became an addiction. I couldn't stop losing weight because I might get fat again. I had to eat less and less each day just to lose more weight. I had to fake eating at home and at school. I had to convince myself that I was full, not hungry. I ignored my stomach pains. If I was losing weight and not fat, that's all that mattered.
And lose weight I did. But I also lost my personality, my laugh, and my happiness. My world became revolved around losing weight. My body image suffered, my self esteem was non-existent. But now I couldn't stop. I could never be too skinny. If I stopped losing I'd be fat, people would tease me again, and I would never live a happy life.
Well, I didn't lead a happy life anyways. I suffered under ED for a long time. Last summer I nearly died in the ICU because of ED. I remember my last birthday - last year. I was so sick that my legs could barely hold my weight. I limped when I walked, hardly able to move. I was barely eating anything. I was very, very sick. My face looked sunken, void of life.
This year, things are different. I'm not starving or weak. I'm eating enough to fuel my body. My face is back to normal, full of smiles and happiness. My personality is back - laughing, joking, sarcasm - the whole package. My body image is still not good, but I'm working on it. At least I'm healthy. This year, my birthday will be different. 20 is a big thing for me - bye bye, teen years. But it's also important because its the first birthday in a long time when I'm actually eating enough, not worrying about how I'll avoid the next meal, etc. I'd by lying if I said that ED is gone, but at least I have control over him now. I'm choosing to eat, to laugh, to smile, and to live life. I'm still recovering, and I know I'll be doing so for a while. But I'm thankful that this year, on my 20th birthday, I have my life back. I'll be with my family and friends and not dead because of ED.
'Thus far the Lord has helped us' (1 Samuel 7:12).