The motto of this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” In honor of that credo, Sovereign Health is sharing the stories of eating disorder patients in recovery. Their words provide invaluable insight into the mindset of a person with an eating disorder as well as serve as inspiration to overcome that mindset.
In this article, Victoria S. talks about how she developed an eating disorder at a young age and has achieved a successful recovery.
Question: People with an eating disorder (ED) often obsess over food in a love/hate interplay. Many will work in the food industry or play farming and food prep games. They may also cook in large quantities for friends and family without touching the food themselves. Has this ever been true for you? Describe your train of thought and mood when preparing food or playing food apps.
Answer:I believe that when someone caught up in an eating disorder obsesses over food and making the food is sort of like having the control and knowing you do at all times. It was very true for me. I always wanted to help with the food and try to make my family cook as little as possible. I always had to know what was going into what my family would try to get me to eat. This also gave me time to look up on the internet how many calories this meal would contain.
Q: If you’ve ever had a time when loved ones brought up ED treatment, or perhaps you awoke in the hospital after a medical emergency related to eating disorder, what were your first frantic thoughts? What were your fears with an outsider “stepping in to help?”
A: When my mom brought me to the first treatment center at the age of 12 she did not tell me until we arrived. We had talked a little bit about it earlier, but I was not agreeing to it, which made her take further action. When they dropped me off there I felt betrayed and unloved. I thought they just did not want to have to deal with me anymore. I did not know at the time that they were trying to save my life.
Q: Looking back, what do you recall that instigated a disordered relationship between you and food?
A: The first statement I can clearly remember when this began was said by a family member. They had told me that “I can have whatever body I want as long as I work for it each and every day.” This statement is not bad, it is true, but my brain decided to take it the wrong way and I began obsessing over any and everything including food and exercise. It led to me not being in control and not knowing what was actually good for my body.
Q: Some eating disorders begin with medical conditions that require strict monitoring of personal diet. If this happened to you, please describe the medical condition, how it changed your relationship with food and the series of events that dead-ended in an eating disorder.
A: I did not suffer from any medical complication, but I do know that it is rough not only for the person with ED but the family and friends. I just want you all to know that it IS possible. A good life again for your family is right around the corner, I promise.
Q: When you had a harmful; relationship with food, what statements by friends or family would trigger you most?
A: In my relationship with ED I was really triggered when a family member or friend would try to make me eat something that my ED did not allow. It in a way made me only want to eat less and be more persistent. This only made me grow further apart from family and friends.
Q: As a person recovering from an eating disorder, what statements by your loved ones, quotes or reminders lift you up and keep your mind centered on nourishing your body and wellness?
A: Anyone recovering from ED just needs to know they are absolutely beautiful and that will never change. I love hearing that I am loved and that I am capable of accomplishing so much more in my life. Therefore, I work every day to keep my body healthy, and I absolutely love my life now. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” –Psalm 139:14
Follow this series
Sovereign Health is publishing one testimonial per weekend during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Check back tomorrow for another look inside the world’s deadliest eating disorder. You can also review the other installments of our series:
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health provides behavioral health treatment for eating disorders as well as other mental health disorders, substance abuse. Trauma and chronic pain. Our residential treatment facility in Rancho San Diego, California, offers an eating disorder program for adolescent girls, while our facility in San Clemente, California, treats adult women with eating disorders. Both facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission, the most respected health care accreditation institution in the United States. For more information, please contact our 24/7 helpline.