Recently I was interviewed by an editor at Cosmo regarding my past battles with an eating disorder. Following significant trauma and the divorce of my parents at age eight, I decided I wanted to be thin more than anything else in the world. Sadly, I already was.
A preoccupation with my body and my weight steadily increased every year and I began to feel guilty about my food intake. With an athletic build, I felt huge as a fifth grader. I remember weighing a “whopping” eighty pounds while other girls my age seemed to be so much thinner. At thirteen, while pursuing a career in modeling, I began to regularly starve, over exercise, binge and purge.
Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness and the statistics are staggering, according to an article on WebMD:
“Anorexia is the most lethal psychiatric disorder, carrying a sixfold increased risk of death—four times the death risk from major depression. The odds are even worse for people first diagnosed with anorexia in their 20s. They have 18 times the death risk of healthy people their age, according to an analysis of the medical literature by Jon Arcelus, MD, PhD, of the University of Leicester, England, and colleagues.”
Suicidal side effects
The editor of the story was particularly interested in understanding the link between suicide. How often did feeling a sense of not belonging for those suffering from an eating disorder tend to allow suicidal thoughts to creep in?
Outside of the physical consequences of eating disorders, hopelessness often leads to despair. It did in my case. After two failed treatment stays, twelve weeks the first time and eight weeks the second time, I had concluded there was no hope for me. Since purging was a regular part of my disease and because of the progression of my physical symptoms, I knew I would die by a toilet, if hopelessness didn’t get me first.
I’m so grateful a tiny voice inside my head kept whispering hope, which propelled me to give in-patient treatment one more try.