Five years ago, I would have laughed in the face of anyone who told me to go to anorexia rehab. The truth was that I was in denial, and my health was declining each and every day. I also didn’t know that such a thing existed, or that it would do anything good for me.
When I suffered from my eating disorder, I wasn’t that scary-skinny you imagine when you think of someone who is anorexic. I was definitely small, at 5’6 I was only about 120 pounds. My lowest was 110. Not skin and bone, but pretty darn close. My goal was to be as skinny as the girls in magazines, but my problem was that even when I achieved that I wanted to get even skinnier. I was not only suffering from anorexia but also from body dysmorphic disorder.
I battled anorexia from the time that I was about 17 until 23. Too long to go without anorexia rehab, as I now know. While I may have looked somewhat healthy on the outside, the truth was that my lifestyle was horrendous. I drank a ton of caffeine and smoked cigarettes because it helped to control my appetite. From time to time, I would also dabble in cocaine. Thank god I never got addicted to that. When I ate, I didn’t eat nutritious food, instead I ate whatever had the least amount of calories in it. I was basically making my body slowly die from the inside out.
My mental wellness began to fade also. I developed terrible anxiety that at times prevented me from leaving my bed. I started to rely on Xanax to get me through my day. In reality, all I probably needed was a good meal and to lay off the caffeine, but all I could focus on was the next pound to lose. I lost my period and possible my ability to have kids in the future, I started to grow fuzzy blonde hair along my jawline – a classic side effect of anorexia, and I was starting to develop an arrhythmia.
If I had kept going the way I did, I could very well have died. Instead, one morning I passed out shortly after getting to work. I ended up being hospitalized to monitor my heart, and also to get fluids and nutrients into my system. My sisters confronted me about the problem, and presented to me the idea of anorexia rehab. Unbeknown to me, they had been talking about getting me into rehab for a long time.
I eventually agreed, and I can truly say anorexia rehab gave me a new lease on life. While there, I was given the opportunity to completely focus on my own wellbeing and to learn about what I was doing to my body. In retrospect, it is so crazy that I was so obsessed with weight, and I now realize that the number on the scale matters to no one but myself.
I was taught how to retrain my mind to think about being healthy instead of skinny. Healthy doesn’t mean you hit a certain low weight goal or BMI. It means your heart is strong, your organs are functioning properly, and you can get up in the morning with the energy you need to tackle your day. Healthy means nourishing your body with the right foods to help you have that energy and make sure everything is functioning properly.
Thanks to anorexia rehab I feel better than I ever have. My body simply couldn’t keep up with my lifestyle before, it would have caught up with me eventually. These days the dark circles under my eyes are gone, my hair is long and shiny, and my heart is back to beating normally. All thank to getting the help I need in time.