By: Megan Wordsworth, Project HEAL North Carolina Chapter
I decided to start writing this blog post specifically on March 18th, because it marked a special occasion for me. It made five months since I landed from Denver, to a full life ahead of me in NC. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind, to say in the least. My eating disorder really started for me about four to five years ago. I had just had a pretty serious surgery to remove a cyst in my thymus gland, at the young age of thirteen. I can remember going to countless doctor appointments prior to and leading up to the surgery. Not once during this whole time did I feel emotion; I was not scared. I never cried, not once. I was fine.
I have always been good with pain, but even now writing this I recall what a traumatic time in my life that was, and I never shed a single tear. You might be wondering why, and looking back at it, I think I know why now. I believed that I had to be strong, and that I could handle any sort of pain possible and that I deserved to feel the pain. This thinking later contributed to my eating disorder.
A few months after the surgery was when I started puberty. Among puberty, things at home not ideal, and such a recent traumatic experience, my life just seemed out of control. I was more scared after the surgery because I felt my body had betrayed me in a way, and I was terrified something was going to happen again. I became very concerned about exercising and what I put in my body. Once I saw that I was starting to gain weight during puberty, which I had no idea was supposed to happen; I began to restrict to lose the weight. It became my addiction. It was a goal and a game to see how little I could eat. Losing weight became my obsession. By the time I was a junior in high school I was completely committed to a relationship with my eating disorder. I hated school. I once had many friends, a triathlete and somewhat social. Once the anorexia became my life I was living a dark life and needed and wanted help, but friends slowly seemed to disappear. I stopped all sports except cheerleading and was now the “wallflower” in the class. My senior year was miserable! I had absolutely no energy to do anything, and I was beyond ready to leave school. I felt so unnoticed. At that point my eating disorder was so bad that I was wearing my winter coat in the summer. I can remember my other classmates making jokes about me being so cold, but they did not know how that I was so cold because my body was shutting down on me. Even though I did not believe it at the time, but I was dying. I was praying and begging for help.
I was at my worst when I started college. I was waking up in the middle of the night and did not know where I was all because of horrible blood sugar attacks, and even then my eating disorder would win. I knew I needed help. I finally told my family of my four-year struggle and thankfully was able to get into ACUTE hospital. ACUTE is located in Denver, Colorado, and is the only hospital that has a floor solely dedicated to eating disorders. I leaned in God’s strength to get me through. I stayed at ACUTE for almost two weeks and then I transferred to inpatient treatment. I had never been so open to the world before. Meeting people from all over the world and learning that I was not the only one struggling was eye opening. I was at inpatient level care for two months and then moved to partial treatment where I stayed another two months. I left treatment healthy and happy for the first time in five to six years. I was so looking forward to starting my life over without my eating disorder. Now, I am finishing my first semester back in college and working towards living out my dream of becoming a casting director and all without my eating disorder. I don’t know why I had to deal with an eating disorder, but I am thankful God is giving me the opportunity to promote awareness for eating disorders and healthy body image. I am so grateful to have my life back!