Zoe s Story
"It sounds cliche, but you never do forget the first time you become aware of your weight and how strongly you dislike it. For me, it was at the age of thirteen, in the women’s restroom in the seventh-grade hallway. All it took was a compliment from a friend, a glance in the mirror and boom, that was it.
My eating disorder didn’t really become noticeable or concerning until a year later, shortly after our good friend died from a brain aneurysm. Trauma affects everyone differently. For me, I tried to find aspects of my life I could actually control. I couldn’t control my friend suddenly dying, I could not control my heightened anxiety and depression, but I could control and fix how I looked in the mirror.
That summer, I became thinner than I had ever been. I blacked out frequently, stopped going out to eat with friends, and stayed in bed whenever I could because I was so weak. The only pants I could really fit into were from Gap Kids- that’s how emaciated I actually was.
Throughout high school and early into my adult years, I got into some emotionally abusive relationships and friendships. I went back and forth between being in recovery and diving back into my all too familiar habits. Over the years, my very best friends and family members have come to learn how to be there for me during the bad times (also the good) and recognize when they may need to step in. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, these moments of my friends and my family intervening have been moments where my life has literally been saved.
This past summer, I experienced another traumatic experience. I ended up losing thirteen pounds in one week. I was so depressed, which caused me to not be able to eat more than a few bites of anything put in front of me. While the traumatic experience and depression were the main cause for my weight loss, the experience itself and loss of control in areas of my life were trigger points for my eating disorder to come back with full force. I ended up not really gaining any weight back, and my eating habits were completely wrecked.
One day, I was busy working and ended up having a seizure. My body just could not handle the lack of nutrition and both the physical and emotional stress being put on it day after day. It was literally and slowly breaking down. The seizure was a wake-up call for many things, one being that I needed to get back to a healthier state mentally and physically and the other being that I needed to work on recovering from my eating disorder.
Ever since then, I’ve been seeking help and working on getting healthier and healthier. One day, I’d like to speak to others who may be facing the same battles I do every day, and possibly bring hope that it can get better, you can be happier, and you can eat without being scared. There are so many more places to see, foods to try, moments to experience, and we can’t experience them if we aren’t healthy and giving our bodies the nourishment it needs and deserves. If you’re struggling, just know you’re not alone; we can do this."