Every week, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered.
I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack.When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts and behaviors take up most of our time and shape our days, it is hard to remember that there is a way out.
I am hoping to inspire and motivate you with these interviews and that you too will see that you can get your life back.
1. Tell us something about you. Who are you? What do you do in life?
My name is Micah. I am a high school senior who is going off to SUNY New Paltz next year for college. In my spare time I enjoy photography and playing the drums. I also help run a support/recovery blog on tumblr. I enjoy helping others.
2. When and why did your eating disorder start?
My eating disorder started when I was about 14. I had always had a lot of health issues and spent my childhood in the hospita. People always treated me differently and I felt like I was not good enough.
I had a hard time fitting in at school and wanted to control something in my life. I also always hated my body and thought that I would like myself more if I lost weight.
3. What was your biggest fear? Why did you starve yourself?
My biggest fear was not being good enough for anyone else or myself. I also did not want to be seen as fat or ugly. I started to starve myself to lose weight and have some control over something in my life.
I had no control over my health or how others saw me. I also started taking stimulant drugs to suppress my appetite. I later became addicted to them.
4. When did your healing process start and do you know what made you decide why you wanted to change your life?
The healing process started after I was arrested for being under the influence and in possession of a controlled substance. I was ordered to go into treatment. I went to a treatment center that specialized in treating drug addiction as well as eating disorders. At first I refused to eat so they put a NG tube in me.
Getting arrested, having a feeding tube shoved down my throat and seeing the pain I caused my friends and family was the tuning point that made me decide I wanted to change my life and get better. I also wanted to live a life free from eating disordered thoughts and actions and wanted to be free from drug addiction.
5. Can you tell us more about your healing process?
I went through detox from the stimulant drugs and then went to the treatment center. At the center,there were many groups that I would attend and meals were supervised. I gained back the weight I had lost due to anorexia and am now at the low end of the healthy weight range. I also learned about myself and my reasons for developing an ED.
I learned that I wanted to please others and did not feel confident in myself. My therapist and I worked on ways to improve self-esteem and how to deal with emotions in a positive way. I also conquered most of my “fear foods” and learned valuable things about myself and about ED’s and addiction.
I came home from treatment and went to a boarding school for teens with mental health issues. I stayed in that school for the rest of the year. While I was there, I met many teens struggling with various issues. I felt as though they understood what I was going through and how I felt. I did not need to “be perfect” for them and this helped me become more confident in myself. I attended IOP and PHP programs when I returned home.
6. Do you still have a “black list” of items that you won’t it? Or can you now say, you eat everything you want?
I do still have a “black list” of items I wont eat. The list mostly consists of dessert and fast food. While in treatment, I conquered many of my “fear foods” which included pasta, bread, pancakes,
soup, candy, sugary drinks, sauce and dressings. I wish I could just eat everything I wanted but at this point in time I can’t.
I still feel guilty after eating a normal meal. I hope that with the support of my treatment team, I can continue to cross off items from my “black list” and start to enjoy food again.
7. Do you consider yourself healthy now? Do you feel comfortable in your skin?
I am at the low end of the healthy weight range so medically speaking I am considered “healthy”. I personally believe that health goes beyond just weight. I don’t consider myself truly healthy because I am not comfortable in my own skin and I still have ED thoughts sometimes.
I really dont like my body and find it hard to accept the weight gain. I know that with time and support I will learn to love and accept my body once again.
8. Do you think that there could be done more in order to prevent eating disorders?
I do think that schools could educate students more about eating disorders and the stigma about them should be broken. I also think that the focus of eating disorders should not just be about weight. I have many friends in treatment who showed early signs of eating disorders or had EDNOS but were not taken seriously and not given the help they needed until they were dangerously underweight or suffered serious health issues.
I think that in order to prevent eating disorders,we should help those who show signs before it gets to a serious level. Many people dont get help or are turned away because they are “not sick enough or not skinny enough”. Help should be given when someone first has ED thoughts or ED behaviors to prevent an eating disorder from occurring or progressing. I also think that more education on binge eating disorder would be helpful.
I also think that the media should stop sending out messages to young girls telling them that they have to be skinny. The media should focus on loving and accepting yourself no matter what you weigh. Magazines for teens are covered in diet tips. This can cause someone who is already hating their body to go to extreme measures in order to lose weight and be seen as perfect.
If society and the media focused on loving our bodies perhaps it would help stop eating disorders. Treating people who show the early signs and symptoms of having an eating disorder would also help stop the ED from getting worse.
9. Is there any advice you could give our readers?
I would tell the readers that if they feel as though they are struggling with an ED or showing signs of developing one to tell someone and get help right away, don’t wait. Please dont think that you are “Not sick enough”. Anyone who has ED thoughts or behaviors deserves treatment. It does not matter your weight, ED’s are also about the thoughts feelings and disordered actions.
Please dont let it get worse. I would also tell your readers that recovery is possible. It is a long journey and I am still struggling everyday but I am making progress. Little by little I am beating my eating disorder. In the end, this struggle will be worth it. Please dont give up!