Shana's Story Anorexia & Bulimia Northern California

To the outside world my life was perfect. I had everything that I could ask for and I was loved and adored by my family. No one could see the self-hate and misery that I lived with. No one knew about the sexual abuse I endured for years at the hands of an uncle.

As a teenager things just APPEARED to be getting better and better but honestly the self-hatred was getting louder and louder in my head. I had always been known as being very small and I would wince when I heard my friends and family talk of this one or that one gaining weight. I could never be the topic of one of these conversations, it was all I had! Going off to college my biggest fear was the dreaded "Freshman 15". I just could not return home on vacation and be fat! Off to college I went with the vow to exercise and diet constantly. I succeeded! I returned home thinner and was given all sorts of compliments on how good I looked. After three semesters of dieting, exercising and laxative abuse, I ended up with adema (swelling due to lack of protein) in my hands and feet and could no longer walk to class. I visited home for a weekend and never returned to school again. I was hospitalized for the first of five times, not including the countless trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night with my parents who feared I was having a heart attack. During this first hospitalization all I could do was look around and scream "I am not like these people, THEY are sick." My first four hospitalizations were for anorexia, but my most recent stay was for bulimia. My lowest weight was 70 pounds at the age of 21. When deep in the hell of anorexia people can see you are sick, but often when bulimia strikes, people woulf tell me that I looked healthier. I struggle with both diseases on a daily basis and the struggle is a lonely one. These diseases have stolen a big part of my life from me. I will never have the full college experience. I will never have the "normal" later teen years and twenties. Those years will be filled with memories of weighing food and just wanting to die so much. I cannot be certain what the future holds for me, but everyday I have that is a "good one", is a gift.