Angela's Story Non-Specific Eating Disorder

Hi, my name is Angela. I am a 20 year old college student and in the past year my non-specific eating disorder has taken hold of my life. Since I was a little girl I have always felt a bit on the outs socially. My parents have always told me I am beautiful, smart, witty, etc., etc. I have always had friends and even boyfriends who have told me the same exact things. But something has always felt "off". I always feel uncomfortably different-- especially physically.

I was scrawny in middle school: no tits, no ass, braces, and a perm. A dork, but it's middle school so these things happen. In high school, my best friend, who was roughly my height and size decided that she was fat. She was perfect. Every guy fell all over themselves to flirt with her and she said she was fat, disgusting, a beast. Well, I was too. I began to notice that my stomach was not flat, that it was really round and protruding. I would stare at photos of models in magazines and cut out their pictures along with diet and exercise plans.

At fifteen I was skipping breakfast, eating very little a lunch, swallowing generic diet pills, then going to whichever sports practice was after school, then home for the family dinner. I would cry a lot, I still do. In high school there were never any physical indications that anything was "wrong" with me. I was never sick or underweight. In fact, my senior year, after dropping two sports and extra partying I gained about ten pounds. The most noticeable difference was my increased breast size which was constantly commented upon. Granted, it was usually a compliment but I only heard "you've gotten bigger", bigger, fatter, larger, rounder, affronting. I hated it. I didn't know what to do. I tried diet pills. Nothing. I began smoking lots of pot to forget or relax. When I was high, I would gorge myself. When I came down, I wanted to die, to puke, which I have never really been able to pull off. Because of bingeing, then starving, my weight stayed around 125.

Then I went to college. All through high school, I feared the freshman-fifteen. By Christmas break, the fear was a reality. Too much drinking and too little physical activity put me somewhere between 135 and 140 lbs. I am only 5'3". I wore really baggy pants and hooded sweatshirts all the time. I always felt disgusted and ugly and to relieve this anxiety, I just kept partying. Finally, that spring I knew I had to do something about my weight gain so I started going to the gym. Exercise too became and continues to be an obsession. That summer, I would run sometimes twice a day but I was also bingeing frequently so I never really lost any weight. I was a little more toned but still bigger than I thought I should be. Second semester of my sophomore year I got a single room, declared a major, and got a new boyfriend after a year or more of hook-ups and jerks. It was a clean slate. I began limiting my food, trying to be more health conscious really, and I also began to exercise more intensely. The weight slowly began to come off. During the summer months when I was separated from my boyfriend I began to limit my food and work even harder. I was always tense and cranky. I had started taking the Pill and waiting-table so I figured my mood swings were because of this--not my lack of nutrition. I would come home and cry, stare into the mirror and think "I hate you, fat, ugly, gross, bitch. I hate you, useless, fat, fat, fat." I felt so alone and frustrated and disgusting. But, I still had to go to work and be upbeat and put on a good show.

When I returned to school this past fall, I stopped taking the Pill but my condition only got worse. On my own, without roommates, I had no one to answer to, nobody that I ate every meal with or did social things like that. I began working out for two hours, six days a week, drinking coffee, eating apples and maybe dinner with my oblivious boyfriend. I wanted to die. I was pressuring myself to succeed in every way possible. Since August I've stopped getting my period and I'm at about 110 lbs. I have been diagnosed with a non-specific eating disorder. I don't know how to eat. Three meals a day is incomprehensible and the holidays have definitely been stressful with all the goodies threatening my physical appearance. Some people tell me I look fantastic and I feel guilty and sick, uneasy. Others tell me I am too skinny and I never needed to lose weight and I feel guilty, sick, uneasy. My boyfriend says I am beautiful no matter what. Last time he said this I said, "no, I am the same person no matter what." He said, "that's what I mean, you're beautiful." All this time he's thought I was a beautiful person and I always took it as a comment on my looks. How shallow am I?