Jade's Story Anorexia Nervosa

I have always had a pretty "normal" life. I was very social and very athletic. My parents and I got along well, and I had no problem maintaining good grades.

As young as fifth grade, kids made comments about my legs, like "thunder thighs" because I have always played soccer and loved to run. When middle school began, I tried out for a really good soccer team, and I made it. My dad put a lot of pressure of me to be the best. He would make comments about my legs getting "chunky" and would encourage me to go run for 30 minutes. I did, and he would comment on results of being in better shape, but I couldn't tell a difference. I was 5'4 and 120 pounds, so I have never been overweight. Throughout middle school, my body went through a lot of changes due to puberty. I filled out more. I saw it as fat. So I continued to play soccer and also joined the track and cross-country teams to keep in shape.

Food never became an issue, until high school. I began to purge dinner every night and then go run. The results were frustrating me because I still felt overweight. A year and a half later, I finally told my mother that I was purging several times a day and now there was blood. I immediately began to see a therapist who I saw for 8 months. She was no help. I was sick of purging so decided to quit eating anything with fat and low calories.

I did this for several reasons. One, my parents were very strict about everything I did, so of course eating, or lack of, was something I could control. Another was, I thought if I didn't put anything bad, there would be no need for it to come back up. I was wrong. I started losing weight very noticeably to everyone else, but I new they weren't telling the truth.

I stopped seeing that therapist, and went for about 4 months with no therapy or medical help. I felt totally in control. I was not allowed to eat more than 100 calories a day, and I had to exercise at least 3 times a day. By this time, my parents new I was in danger.

I went to the doctor for a check up, and weighed 96 pounds, but all the doctor said was "EAT". Being anorexic that was one of the scariest words in the human language. I started seeing a great psychologist and dietitian weekly. I would not respond to outpatient, and after seeing them both only three times, they had no other choice but to put me inpatient.

Anorexia was my coping skill. I am not assertive, nor do I stand up for myself. I could starve myself into numbness, and it was like a high. I was not about to go to the hospital and give it up.

When I first arrived in the hospital, I refused to eat and exercised in the shower, at night in my room, and in the mornings. My weight dropped to 80 pounds, and that was way too much for me. As a result of restricting in the hospital, I had to have a feeding tube for 3 weeks. I was at risk for a heart attack, and even hooked up to a tube I would exercise and not eat.

Eventually, I realized the more I continued to act out my disorder, I was never going to leave. I still struggled, but eventually just "ate my way out", meaning as soon as my weight was stable, I could be released and start over again. I even passed out one night when I woke up to use the restroom, and was rushed to the E.R. because my blood pressure was 40 over 19 and my pulse was 36bpm. That was my first wake up call that I was in real danger.

I was discharged after 3 months of hospitalization, but couldn't deal with giving up my disorder. In fact, I water-loaded 68 oz of water every morning to fake my way out without really gaining the weight. I have had nothing but struggles since I have been back home. I am seventeen, I have just graduated high school and hoping to go to college this fall. I have to admit, I am still very into my disorder, and my doctor said I will probably be readmitted in about 2 weeks. If that does happen, this time I am willing to go and actually work my treatment. I have been diagnosed with chronic anorexia, so I will deal with it the rest of my life.

For those fighting anorexia also, just remember it is a trick. That what you see in the mirror as negative, and the voices telling you you're fat or your not good enough, try, try, try, to remember that it is all lies. That is not you speaking, but the power of your illness. I believe I can get better, and anyone else who desires to get the most out of life. Because life isn't about your looks, it is about happiness and love. You don't control your disease, it controls you. You will find your happiness in health.

Jade Hughes