My ED Story
My name is Meghan Blackwood, and in 2015, I lost 130 lbs in 9 months. Yes, you read that correctly. Half of my body weight diminished into thin air, along with all of my sanity. One-hundred and thirty pounds. #BodyGoals, right? Wrong.
In February of 2015, I decided that living in my fat body at university was too ostracizing to bear, therefore I made the decision to essentially stop eating. Should be simple, right? ‘Just… don’t eat. And if you do, exercise it away,’ I would tell myself. Somehow, I pulled it off and did exactly that, and within the first three months of the ‘simple’ task of starving myself, I was diagnosed with Otherwise Specified Feeding Disorder (OSFED), to be eventually diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and Bipolar II Disorder.
But wasn’t losing the weight worth it? Those diseases can’t be that serious. …They are. Eating disorders, with the main constituent of a full-diagnosis being that the individual has a distressing feeding disorder, will always come as a package deal with other psychological and physical issues. These coexisting health diagnoses that are present alongside an eating disorder diagnosis are called comorbidities. Common mental health comorbidities include but are not limited to: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, self-harm behaviors, substance abuse, sleep disorder, and body dysmorphia. (Fun fact, in a 2015 study by public health professors, it was found that 90% of Anorexia Nervosa patients show depressive symptoms, while approximately 20% are diagnosed.) Atop these, physical health comorbidities include but are not limited to: hair loss, bone density loss, tooth decay, cardiovascular abnormalities, low vital levels, severely weakened immune systems, fatigue, and muscle reduction. (Fun fact, the medical bills you rack up when you 1) get sick every week from a barely-functioning immune system, 2) have to see heart and bone specialists, 3) have to go to the hospital, SUCK.)
Having experienced a significant amount of the problems listed above, it became a game for me. A “collect-‘em-all” game, where the goal was to become as sick and as small as possible. All that I wanted was to destroy my body. I solely desired to shrink into nothing, and be no one. I wanted to die. I was utterly miserable (barely) living a life where I only focused on hating myself into the skinniest and darkest form of Meghan. It took months of convincing, but my dietician finally persuaded me to agree to in-patient eating disorder treatment.
I was admitted to Eating Recovery Center in January of 2016, where I would be surrounded by people, young and old, who understood the painful hunger and self-loathing. These people who were being punished by this deathly disease were also the very people that showed me the most love, respect, and humanity that I had ever experienced. I was given tools to help dig for my personality and morals again, I was given mental tricks to justify eating, and I was shown compassion even on my worst days. During treatment, I was able to remember what it felt like to be grounded again, to be human. The amount love I was shown during a time when the real Meghan was nowhere to be found is insurmountable. If all of these people could love me no matter how far up or down on the emotional and physical spectrum I was, shouldn’t I be able to look at myself in the mirror without crying?
It was hard. I almost died. But I recovered within the first 3 years of being diagnosed. This is rare, and I owe it all to family and friends, my outpatient team, and the staff and patients of Eating Recovery Center, Carolina House, and Body Image Therapy Center.
Since exiting treatment, I have lived in Colorado for a summer, visited multiple national parks, drove across the country, started college again, sang in Lincoln Center, NYC, placed in a classical voice scholarship competition, participated in an opera program in Los Angeles, and have received an invitation to pursue a master’s degree in music education. I am currently a student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. I am in absolute love with the school and my classmates. I am approximately the size I was before I lost the weight. I am healthy. I sing joyfully everyday. I laugh too loud. I joke too much. I eat delicious food. I wear cute clothes. I show love to friends and family. I have no physical or mental maladies. I am fat. I am gorgeous. I love myself.
Instagram, Twitter: @MeghanBlackwood
Facebook: Meghan Blackwood