To try and go back to the beginning is more difficult than anything else. Considering that my mind has perceived things differently over time due to the influence of the eating disorder.
What I can tell you is that there were clues and signs of my struggles with anorexia as early as middle school. As I have been in therapy and diving into my life and struggles to correct past behaviors I have found notes and comments that I felt that I was anorexic. It made me wonder, who around me knew and why is it they never said anything or did anything about it? Why did they let me tolerate the comments and let those comments eat me alive? How could these people stand idly by and think it was okay that men told me I was fat in front of others? That I was to just take it like it is okay and hysterical?
In high school, I was a minority. I am a Caucasian woman who is of mixed ethnities. I have what men claim they want: hips and curves galore. But in my high school which was primarily Asian, I was deemed fat. Asian women are stick straight compared to my hourglass figure. And the men I grew up with in high school reminded me of that multiple times a day.
Being a competitive dancer, I was used to being on stage. I never was fearful of standing up for myself and speaking up for others. I loved being on stage in the spotlight. Dancing I could express myself and just be free. And apparently I was good at dance. But I remember feeling inadequate and not fully grasping my abilities. But that is for another time. The point of this was that I was very physically fit. Yet I never felt I was. My best friend who was a girl constantly told me I was never pretty enough or good enough. I believed everything she said because why would your best friend lie to you? It took me literally a good 10 years to figure out that she was jealous and really good at putting me down so she would feel better. My boyfriends would consistently cheat on me… with her because she put out.
But Ed was there. I could hear Ed’s voice. Constantly reminding me that they were right; not cruel. Just nagging me and telling me how I was not good enough because I was fat. I needed to eat less and remember how food is the enemy. Whenever I was not successful or something did not go my way, I would be beyond upset not with the situation but myself. Everyone in my life had always made me feel like everything was my fault. So I would sit in my room and cry. Cry. I would let Ed’s Voice take over. I would scratch my inner arms and thighs. Scratch them till they would bleed. Hoping that if I got rid of that visible fat that it would be gone and so would Ed’s Voice.
Fast forward to college. I was 18 and had moved away to college. I had a boyfriend that I was deeply in love with. He was back home. The distance was hard on me. I was trying to find myself. My identity had changed–I had been in a car accident my senior year of high school that left me with injuries that meant I could no longer dance or cheerlead [future post]. I was trying to find myself amongst my new peers. Unfortunately, at a school with a ratio of 4 men to 1 woman, I found solace and comfort in men. In men’s views of me. Having been so harmed by the traitorous best friend mentioned earlier [another future post], I despised women. I did not trust women at all–they all contributed to my boyfriends cheating on me.
Unfortunately, in college, men end up wanting typically one thing. The one thing that a pretty, naturally curvy and skinny, blonde haired girl can provide.
I had a lot of anxiety in college. A lot of trust issues and still suffering from fresh PTSD. I was bored on my tiny college campus. I also felt like I was getting fatter and fatter by the day. I started decreasing what I ate and spending more time at the gym. So much so, that by the time my Nutrition instructor caught on, I was exercising 2-3hours a day 5 days a week. I was also only consuming about 500-600 calories a day. Yes that means it was quite a negative deficit.
This was my first major crash. I had intervention by Nutrition instructor. I started an awkward therapy intervention–attending AA meetings because that was the closest to the support group I could have in the area. I also checked in with the Nutrition instructor every other day. I was not allowed to go to the gym unless I went with a buddy to keep the timings appropriate. I ended up meeting a boyfriend at that time [first one and I had broken up around Thanksgiving because he could not handle the distance–irony he was suffering from anorexia as well] who supported me.
I doubt that Coby* realized how much he was saving my life. I stayed with him in his dorm room away from the tension and drama living with 5 other girls in one room creates. He is also the person that got me to eat again. I feel like he knew because our frequency in eating together increased from once every few days to several meals together daily. He made me feel safe. He made me feel like I could overcome this ridiculous power Ed’s Voice had over me. When I was with Coby, Ed’s Voice disappeared.
Coby and I messed around but I was a virgin. He never pressured me into doing anything I was not ready for or wanted to do. He respected me. First man to do so. Anyways, the reason I mention this is because while I never really accepted that I was “Annie the Anorexic” the next moment should have nailed it home. But Ed’s Voice did not allow that. It was right before summer break. I had stopped getting my period. So naturally, I was pregnant. No, I had not had sexual intercourse or anal sex or anything that would have led to pregnancy. But Ed’s Voice, in the usual fashion, was irrational. It made more sense that I was pregnant than I was amenorrheic because of anorexia.
I told Coby, who I am sure thought I was crazy. But he never treated me as such. I took several pregnancy tests which of course all indicated that I was not pregnant. But it was not enough for me. I made an appointment to see my doctor the minute I got home from college. I said it was for a wellness checkup [to my parents] and told my doctor that I had stopped getting my period and thought I was pregnant.
Mind you, I weighed in with her and I was now 130lbs. Yes, I was 5’6″ and according to that I would be of overweight. So while I had stopped menstruating, my clueless doctor enabled my anorexia. She told me that I still had cellulite and 15 more pounds to lose to be healthy. So after all those months of therapy I had received at college, everything was out the window. No, I had not told my doctor I was in therapy for anorexia because something like that would make me ineligible for insurance. But also because, Ed’s Voice reminded me that if I had a real problem my doctor would pick up on it. Yet another example of how Ed’s Voice was slowly killing me and ever so irrational.
My doctor was clueless. She thought I had just stopped getting my period all together because I was “stressed.” I took a blood pregnancy test and multiple full panel blood workups. Yet that doctor never picked up on the fact that I was anorexic. So my behaviors continued. Ed’s Voice got louder. I kept restricting. I kept on exercising.
I was 18 when this all happened. I did not realize how much of an idiot my doctor was until I was 26. This epiphany left me crying for days. My life relied on this specific healthcare provider and all she kept telling me over and over again was that I was too fat, I was morbidly obese, I needed to lose weight, etc. I kept telling her how I was constantly exercising and not sure what to do differently. She never picked up on it.
This did not help my trust in people needless to say.
So here I was, never fully recovered at 18. Bad habits and Ed’s Voice to rely on to get me through hard times. Seemed legit. Seemed absolutely perfect. Besides, it felt much better not eating. Kate Moss said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels;” yet as an anorexic, I identified. Nothing tastes as good as having the ability to not eat and deal with that feeling.
I guess that is the beginning of Ed’s Voice.
*Name has been changed for the protection of all parties involved. All names through out these posts will be changed for the protection of myself as well as others.