~As promised, here is part 2 of LA Sunshine’s guest blog post. She is an courageous woman to share her story with us. We hope that it will help others dealing with this Illness and for people to understand more about the disorder~
I wish that at this point I would have had some guidance, or done some research on the hellish adventure I was about to embark on. I didn’t think twice about following in the ways of my fellow classmates. (*sidenote* I didn’t mention before that I was a competitive dancer at this time, and I also had the impression that a thinner body would lead to me being better at dancing.) The thing about eating disorders is they usually do not come from just one place. It is clear to me that there were multiple factors that lead to me developing an eating disorder. Because of this the disorder developed over time and wasn’t a drastic sudden change. First came the body image issues, next came the start of eating less, then eating not much. By 17 I had added diet pills into my daily routine and thus truly began my spiral into hell. Diet pills and laxatives played a major part in my eating disorder, and probably did the most permanent damage. Every time I wanted to lose weight, my motto became “pills will”… I would say that to myself every time my stomach was writhing in pain. The bleak reality was that they did work. But they also hurt so much inside my body and my mind. Somehow taking diet pills added fuel to the mental fire causing me to do these terrible things to my body. The more pills I took, the more my mind focused on food and not eating it, or when I could eat. Or how much weight I could lose if I took more pills and ate just a little bit more to keep myself awake during the day. It almost disgusts me to write down that I did all of this to myself and just kept making it worse and worse. My mind was in a totally different place. I was completely removed from reality by this point, and somehow trying to manage university. Having a long distance relationship that was unhealthy added with the pressures of school and the consuming thoughts of my eating disorder pushed me into a deep depression.
The problem for me was that I didn’t realize I was depressed until I was extremely depressed… weeping on the floor of my bedroom for no particular reason other than the strongest feeling of sadness inside. Not being able to focus enough to read my homework on a computer screen, the words blurring in and out… These two specific factors were what pushed me to get help. Depression is a really hard place to be in, because once you are there the snowball effect takes place. No motivation to do anything and not enough self-worth to motivate yourself.
Smoking pot became my only saving grace, constantly stoned or else I was doomed. Getting stoned before school every day, smoking again between classes wherever I could find a spot, and again after class, and when I got home, and every half an hour after that. It numbed the pain, brought me into a different world where TV shows could ease my mind until I would go to bed again. I tried some weird stuff with food around this time because being depressed and stoned I wanted to eat all the time, but I was terrified of gaining weight. I actually blocked this out of my memory for a few years and just remembered a couple weeks ago that I used to chew up my food, swallow some and spit the rest out into a napkin, tasting the food but not consuming a lot of it. Somehow that was more traumatic to me than being addicted to diet pills and laxatives, although it is possible I just forgot about it because it was probably the least self-damaging habit I attainted during this time of my life. Thinking about this year in specific (my second year of University), it feels like a dream… or rather, a nightmare. I am not surprised I didn’t make to the end of the school year before breaking down. I was about half way through my second semester (midway through the Canadian winter) when I realized I had fucked everything up. I hadn’t been doing any school work, except for my Theater Tech class which had mandatory attendance, and I was quickly realizing I could not catch up even if I had the motivation to try.
What was I going to do? My dad had always been so upset when I didn’t do well in school and I was terrified of telling him that I was failing almost all of my classes because I was depressed. I thought he wouldn’t understand because although my dad and I have very similar souls, he is much more logical with his emotions and it could be hard to get through to him. I called him one night, shaking, heart pounding. As soon as he asked me how I was I started bawling my eyes out. I told him I had really messed things up with school and that I was also feeling unexplainably sad and lifeless. I was completely shocked with his response. He told me to do whatever I needed to do to be happy. He told me I could drop out of school right then and he would even pick me up from Guelph that night and bring me to my family’s house. He said he supported me no matter what and that my happiness was the most important thing to him. I guess he had witnessed my downfall over the past few years and realized pushing me forward wasn’t working or what I needed. It was incredible to finally feel that support from my dad.
Feeling ready to work towards the happy fun loving Lee-Anne I once knew, I started taking some majorly needed steps, which you will read about in part 3!
If you are interested and want to read more about what my life is like today, please check out my blog “facts from my head (and other interesting things)” leeannegribbon.blogspot.de