I lied last week.  This topic, which consumed at least 3 years of my life, deserves more than two posts.  So I’m not really putting a definitive number of when I’ll complete the series.  I can say with all honesty, that getting this all out of my head and onto the blog, has already proven to be a kind of therapy.  Thank you for reading.

If you missed Part I of this journey, go here to catch up.

I guess the best place to start would be right where I left off…Coincidentally, it was right around Thanksgiving.

I wore semi-baggy clothing to hide myself from scrutiny. Which seems odd, because at first, that’s all I wanted – for someone to notice that I was thin. As my anorexia grew worse, my thought process shifted. I didn’t want to be stopped. I didn’t want anyone to know and take back over. I only wanted to get smaller. And smaller. And smaller.

It wasn’t until the fall of my Senior year, that someone noticed and said something. Only it wasn’t the person who I needed to hear concern from. And I certainly wasn’t ready for help.

 

I remember that bus ride like it was yesterday.

My high school cross country team had just won a pretty important race and we were on our way back to the high school parking lot to pick up our cars.  Although we had won the meet, I had raced particularly bad that day.  I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that I had only eaten 150 calories that day – though I would have never put those two things together.  You ran well or you ran poorly, based on how hard you were training.  Maybe I hadn’t trained hard enough – I should have doubled up my running the previous week, instead of hanging out with friends.

I’m sure I was sitting alone, going over the race in my head, when my coach said, “Lindsay, come up here.”

That never happened.  I never got called to the front.  Or to the office.  Or called out in class.  I was the perfect student.  The perfect daughter.  The perfect girlfriend.  I disciplined myself to be that way – a tried and true “People Pleaser”.  You didn’t get scholarships and awards by being the one who got called to the office.  You moved forward in life being the person who everyone could depend on and the person who did as they were told.  I was that girl.

He said, “You look really thin.”  In my mind, that was a compliment.

I’ve noticed that you don’t have as much energy as you used to have.”

That meant, “You’re a bad runner.”

Do you need help, Lindsay?”  That equated to, “You’ve lost control.  You need someone to fix you.”

I can’t remember what my exact response was.  I’m confident that I said something that HE wanted to hear.  That I knew I was too small and that I’d try to gain weight.

That was a lie.

Somehow his innocent (and caring) comments about my weight and my performance triggered something inside me – I needed to prove that I didn’t need anyone to fix me.  That I was just fine.  That I had total control.

That I could push my body to it’s next limit.  Straight into bulimia.

The Rocky Middle – Part II

For someone with an eating disorder, holidays, birthday parties and family get-togethers are a true nightmare.  They are a) a change in the controlled environment that you’ve worked so hard to maintain and b) laden with calorically dense foods.

Thanksgiving of 1999 happened right after I crossed that thin line from anorexia to bulimia.

**Gah!  This is REALLY hard to talk about.  Anorexia is clean.  You just stop eating.  It’s almost an act of passiveness.  Bulimia, on the other hand, requires action.  It’s dirty.  You get dirty.  Your face and fingers get dirty.  Just thinking about typing these things out, makes me more aware of how disgusting bulimia is.  Vile.  Repulsive.  I hope that you, as readers, don’t associate who I’m about to describe with the Lindsay you now know.  Because that would break my heart.**

Back to Thanksgiving.

someecards.com - Good luck masking your eating disorder this Thanksgiving.

I had already tackled multiple birthday parties and holidays while anorexic.  You simply “fake eat”.  After putting very little food on your plate (all acceptable items, nothing unhealthy or God forbid, something that had even touched mayonnaise or butter), you simply scoot things around.  Always eating while talking (a distraction from the fact that you aren’t eating) and if possible, while walking around.  I was a pro.

Becoming bulimic opened up new chapters for me, especially for that Thanksgiving meal.  Now, I didn’t lose control completely.  That wouldn’t happen until months later.  Throwing up was still something new and novel for me and I didn’t trust myself yet to go overboard.

My plate contained all of the things I would have normally put on it, only this time, I actually ATE them.  I ate the turkey, the green beans, the small piece of homemade dressing.  And a sliver of pie.

Then, WHILE my family was chatting downstairs, letting their food digest, I snuck upstairs to my bathroom and threw all that food back up.

All the food my mother had spent hours cooking earlier in the day. 

All the food that, just mere minutes ago, we had thanked God for blessing us with. 

And I didn’t stop until I saw the first thing I’d eaten: the turkey.  I had to be quiet, cautious with every sound I made, so as to not alert anyone downstairs.

After I was finished, I washed my face and hands.  I scrubbed my teeth.  Careful not to look at my reflection in the mirror.  That girl was evil.  Crazy.  I hated her.

But I needed her to help me reach my goals.

I slinked back downstairs.  Drifted in and out of conversations about when everyone would be putting up their Christmas trees.  I talked and I actively listened.  Anything to take my mind off of the sin that I’d just committed upstairs.

This pattern of eating, purging, then regretting, would continue for another year.

Getting worse before it got better.

—————

If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from an eating disorder, PLEASE get help!  Tell someone!  A friend, your parents, your spouse, a pastor.  And act NOW!!  Living with an ED is a WASTE of precious life and, quite frankly, an act of treason to the body that God gifted you with!

Feel free to talk to ME too!  lindsaymwright at yahoo dot com

—————

splendid…lindsay

      • calee says:

        Lindsay! I keep responding to comments b/c I’m on the iPad and don’t see a comment form (whoops!)

        Anyway, I am glad you’re not this person anymore. I agree. I did this. But with laxatives. And it gets dirty (your mindset and literally you get gross and dirty).

        Because of my abuse of laxatives, I screwed my GI system so royally that I find myself puking like that girl sometimes just to alleviate the pain in my gut from eating food. Sometimes it’s random food. And sometimes things just refuse to digest. AND IT HURTS. But I feel like that girl when I do it, though I’m seriously just trying everything NOT to feel like I am going to die from a stomachache. (Unlike that girl, I fill my belly with something easy-for-me-to-digest like ice cream — not the healthiest but it settles!).

        Anyway … I’m almost in tears over here.

  1. Ameena says:

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all this. It just seems like eating disorders are so much more prevalent than ever before and I hate that it is! I fear for my 6-year-old daughter, I really do.

    Thanks for sharing…I’m sure you’ve helped so many people in the process.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you my friend!

  2. Eden says:

    I told you I’d get around to reading this!!!!

    anyhow, I feel like I have SO much to say about this….I feel like I should give you my phone number so we can talk about it!

    But I’ll just lay some points I MUST get across:

    -yes, anorexia totally morphs into other disorders and I hope people get help before it really gets out of hand.

    -YES! secrecy is the root of this disorder. Secrecy, lying, its so tiring! Thats why I really try to be as honest as possible. On my blog and in real life. I say how I feel about my thighs and my food and somehow, it gives the ED a little less power.

    So brave of you to share. I have a million other things to say but I really just want to relax right now and not type a whole novel comment! hahaha!

    Love you!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I’m so sorry, friend. (I know you’re not posting these because you want pity, and I promise you that me being sorry is not the same as me pitying you…I am genuinely, sincerely SORRY that you suffered so much.) The characterization of anorexia as clean and bulimia as dirty…such a well-worded juxtaposition. Gave me shivers.

  4. Katie @ Peace Love and Oats says:

    Thank you for opening up about your eating disorder, I’m sure writing this and re-living that time is not easy for you! And it’s so true about feeling like it’s a sin and you’re disgracing the body and food God gave you. I know what it’s like to know what you’re doing is wrong, but still doing it anyway. It’s hard to stop that control!

  5. Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well. says:

    As so many have already said, thank you for opening up and letting us into this difficult chapter of your life. I hope others can get the help they need for themselves or someone in their life by hearing about your story. I know it helps me to be more mindful of the girls I supervise at work. Just making sure I keep an eye out for them and reach out whenever I can, just in case.

    Enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and family! You have so much to be thankful for! I know I’m thankful you’re *in* my life :)

  6. Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health says:

    Wow, Lindsay, you are so brave for sharing this! And thank you for opening up. I truly think that if someone is in the right mind to start seeking help, hearing another person’s story can really aid with that process! I think it is amazing to see how far you have come since that time. You are such a strong woman!

  7. Caitlin says:

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for opening up to your readers – you are so brave! I have dealt and am still dealing with some of this stuff…And your comment above to Katie about the slap in the face to God really resonates with me. Thank you for inspiring words that give me courage as we get close to this foodie-holiday!

  8. Allie Finch says:

    I see you for who you are now: strong & beautiful. Thank you for talking about this (honestly, without using rose-colored glasses & words) & having the courage to voice it as a “waste” & disrespect for our amazing bodies. Love you Lindsay.

  9. Ericka Andersen says:

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence you decided to start writing about your eating disorder as the hoildays approach. Same thing happened to me. And, I completely know what you mean about crossing from anorexia to bulimia — same thing happened to me. I wrote a post on this last week if you are interested (http://www.sweetlifeericka.com/2011/11/winter-binge-mode.html.) Anyway, just wanted to chime in. I know how it can flare up even when you are “healed.” The holidays are the hardest for me. Stay strong.

  10. Laura says:

    this post tugs at my heart. as someone who has been down the absolutely horrific road of bulimia, your words REALLY resonate with me, particularly the line “All the food my mother had spent hours cooking earlier in the day.” i can’t tell you how many times i’ve thought that very thought after committing such horrible acts thanks to bulimia. i destroyed so many people i loved. getting help is SO worth it. life exists on the other side no matter how badly it seems now. there is hope!

  11. Bonnie says:

    Wow…thank you for sharing this Lindsay…for opening up and being so vulnerable to share your experiences with us. It’s interesting to think of how we treat our bodies as either pleasing or not to God – it’s all over the Bible, and yet oddly easy to compartmentalize and separate our bodies from our spirituality. Thanks for that reminder in the way it hit me today. :) …I love you!

  12. Christin@christinjoyful says:

    I know it must be really hard to share this story with us…but thank you for doing it anyway. You have such a talent for making your personal story open and relate-able…As a sister in Christ, it is such a blessing to see how He has worked in your life…I am so glad you are in a better place now, and hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving :)

  13. Kris says:

    ooh, Lindsay, I know this is helping you! I am so happy you made it through this and can share and help others with your experience. I admire your courage. big hugs my friend!

  14. Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut says:

    The good thing about you sharing this story..is that you must be over it enough to bring it to light. And I think these things need to be brought to the surface not only for those with a disorder, but because these are the types of things we do in secret. I believe girls with eating disorders think that no one could understand what they are going through, but you have your story right here for anyone to read. And written with some emotion!

    Thank you for being so brave to share! And for pointing out that its not just our body that it’s hurting…we are hurting God’s heart because he made us! (This applies to anything we do to hurt our body including overeating or drinking too much which I am guilty of.)

    Hope you have a good Thanksgiving friend! :-)

  15. Cait @ Beyond Bananas says:

    Another wonderful post that I can related to so much. The feelings of guilt. Not wanting to look at yourself in the mirror. And then I got to a point where I would look myself in the mirror.. and just break down.. cry. Basically yell at myself in the mirror.. questioning who I was…

    I’d vow to never do it again. Vow to stop.. to never allow myself to hate myself so much. But then it would happen again. It would build up.. and after a particularly bad binge, I’d scream and cry in a fit of rage.. hating myself once again.

  16. Jess says:

    Wow. I can tell this series has been hard for you to write. But I am thankful that you are sharing such a difficult time in your life with all of us. It shows not only how far YOU’VE come, but that pulling yourself out of a scary time of disordered eating can happen and you can find healthy balance, even if not everyday is a cake walk, so to speak. Thank you again for sharing this, seriously.

  17. Katie @ Raisins&Apples says:

    “Bulimia, on the other hand, requires action. It’s dirty.” I think those words really pinpoint the shame I felt when I was in high school.

    and an act of treason against God? THAT thought & the promise of who HE is truly what motivates me in being obedient, even in the way I choose to feed, dress, and work my body.

    I thank you greatly for sharing :)

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