30 going on 60 – The truth about eating disorders – Trigger Warning

I am going to be 30 in a matter of days…I am starting to feel nervous…Mentally I feel like a 20 year old but physically I feel much older. I didn’t listen when professionals and family members told me that one day all the starvation, laxative abuse and purging would take its toll on me.

At the age of 12 I started to notice changes to my body, I was given some clothes off an older cousin and in the pile of clothes were a pair of jeans. I always wore really horrible leggings as a child so I was really excited to get a pair of flared jeans. Only problem was…they were to small. This was the first time I ever thought about weight.

I was a chubby child when I started high school and I would hear school pupils muttering nasty things about my weight under their breath. I was already suffering with mental health problems and acceptance was something I longed for. Having people say nasty things was nothing in comparison to what I already thought about myself and my appearance.

At 15 I was in the full swing of anorexia, I would survive the day eating one apple or sliced cucumber and water…sometimes a calypso drink if I was feeling dizzy. I would take mass amounts of vitamin tablets but none containing oil. I would come home from school and do 4 hours of exercise every night.

At 17 I was very ill, my moods were erratic. I had already taken 4 overdoses and was self harming on a daily basis. I hated myself and my mind. I would drink alcohol to numb the thoughts but this would make me worse. I remember the first time I made myself sick, I had a drink, not ate all day and was at a fireworks display with my family. I remember feeling so hungry and all I could smell was the burgers that everyone was eating…I gave in and ate one. My mum was thrilled that I was eating but  I felt awful…I had to get it out of me…I would rather be dead than be fat. I found a port-a-loo cabin and made myself sick…it was easier than I thought…that was a bad thing.

At 22 I looked awful, I was very thin but my face was puffy from the constant purging I would do on a daily basis. I would binge up to 4 times a day…I would eat piles of food and then make myself sick. I would also take up to 70 laxatives if someone interrupted my binge. I was barely 6st and told by the doctors I would not live to 30 if I kept up this lifestyle.

The pain I would feel was so bad, I had blisters on my hands from the stomach acid, my tummy would ache from the laxative abuse. My throat and chest would burn. I would make myself so sick, I would try to get everything out of me to the point where I would be sick blood. I never had periods and was told I would find it hard to conceive a baby in the future.

At 24 my mindset changed, I was scared I was going to die and I wanted to be a mum. I would faint often and have heart palpitations. I had to go on potassium tablets as the doctor said my organs would fail if I didn’t. The waiting list for ED help was so long that in the end I had to read everything to help myself get well. I stopped making myself sick and started to eat healthy and exercise 3 times a week. In time my periods returned and I was 8st. I felt really good although I will admit that falling pregnant and having children was the thing that really helped to improve my eating disorder.

6 years on I feel healthy, I have two children that I am very blessed to have had. I eat very healthy but I do restrict certain foods…I call them my trigger foods.

Living a life with food restrictions will take its toll eventually. I now have to take pain medication everyday for arthritis in my hip, wrists and shoulder. I have a very sensitive tummy. I have acid re-flux and take medication for this. I have very little enamel on my teeth resulting in me having a very bland diet…even eating an apple can cause pain in my teeth. I have daily heartburn and suffer with tummy problems and pain. I am almost 30 and I feel like a 60 year old. It makes me feel down at times.

I look back and I really wish someone would have given me the honest truth of what a long-term eating disorder can do to you. I probably wouldn’t have listened but I feel sharing with others what it has done to me physically and mentally will perhaps help one person living with an eating disorder.

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