My ED Story

I don’t remember a time in my life when being thin wasn’t on my mind. Most of my memorable moments as a teenage girl were bogged down by the obsession with food and physique. All the major events like school dances and graduations were filled with shame and suffering. I was bulimic by the age of 12 and I started starving myself shortly after that.  I was doing drugs like Adderall and cocaine because they curbed my appetite and gave me the feeling of confidence I was desperate for. I would get my hands on diet pills and laxatives and abuse them daily. I was addicted to it all. I was so desperate to look and feel skinny, because it was portrayed as the most wonderful thing in the world thanks to our society. Being thin is highly valued in our culture, and everyone is always on some form of fad diet. It felt normal. I had no idea I had an eating disorder and substance abuse problem. Everyone else was glamorizing their diets and starved bodies, and I wanted in. 

To this day, most people close to me have absolutely no idea I had an eating disorder for most of my life. They don’t understand the severity of it or that it’s a mental disorder. You see, I didn’t fall on the spectrum of what you would consider a person to be clinically ill. I never looked physically sick. No one ever saw me binge, purge and restrict. I was an expert at hiding the fact I was abusing drugs. To them, I was a healthy happy girl, who was just experiencing normal female things. It’s hard for them to believe it. It’s even hard for me to believe it.

I didn’t get help until I was 27 years old. I’m 28 now. I never went to official recovery or spoke to an eating disorder therapist. Because I still didn’t understand the magnitude of it. I thought I would grow out of it and move on.  I started journaling a few years back to get it off my chest. I would make note of my good days and my bad days in full, brutal detail. After falling into the darkest cycle where I would lock myself up for weeks and call into work because I was too ashamed to go out into the world and face myself, I decided this is it. I was done. My precious life was moving so fast and I didn’t want to live it that way anymore. I couldn’t. There was too much beauty out there for me. I was worth seeking help and finding support. I was ready to move forward and live my days to the fullest and love myself to the max. The biggest factor in my recovery was accepting myself for who I was with my eating disorder and who I am now. I promised to love myself every day, no matter what I was feeling. It’s okay to fall on and off the wagon. It doesn’t make us weak. Some things worked for me that wouldn’t work for others. I am very careful about what I put my energy into and who I exchange it with. I refuse to engage in talk about dieting or body image. I will not follow social media handles that make me feel any certain way besides being badass. Some days I have guidelines and some days I don’t.  I am constantly taking steps forward and backwards, but my end goal never changes. I will never look back or fall into the comfort that was once my ED. I am stronger than that. We are all stronger than that, and life is incredible if you let it be.

Instagram: @bwhaircolorist

Lydia Rhino