Hey! Not surprised you clicked on my link. Honestly, you’d be crazy not to be intrigued by a bold, blunt title. I wish I could tell you it’s only to get your attention, but the reality is I shouldn’t be alive.
Why I Shouldn’t Be Alive
I suffered with anorexia nervosa for over 9 years, maintaining a deathly low body weight, falling below a BMI of 14 (normal range is 18.5-19.9). Weight is not all, but it is the primary measure used to diagnose anorexia. However, MOST victims of anorexia nervosa never lose weight, resulting in their mental illness going unnoticed, untreated, and overlooked. (This is why you will not see before & after pictures. I do not want to perpetuate the false belief that anorexia “looks” a certain way.)
I shouldn’t be alive because my internal organs were literally eating themselves for energy. I couldn’t sleep at night because my brain was starving, keeping me awake in hopes I would feed it. Have you ever gone a day or week with hardly any sleep? Have you been so hungry you couldn’t think clearly? We all have. Now imagine that for 9 years. The reality is you probably wouldn’t survive, for one week of that is hard! (DO NOT TRY IT). Yet, this constant state of famine and sleeplessness became my normal.
Efforts to Keep Me Alive
In Hindsight, I am incredibly grateful I lost an exorbitant amount of weight every time I had a significant relapse. Sound crazy right? In a way, I am privileged to be one of the few victims with weight-loss as a symptom. Reason being because it’s the first and sometimes only symptom that get’s someone into treatment or that most doctor’s will recognize a problem.
During MANY impatient treatments, lasting approx. 3-6 months, I was typically only kept due to my low weight. I kicked the behaviors and followed the eating “rules” perfectly. I was the best patient! I knew how to play the game and get out. I was the All-star in treatment, there was my perfectionism pulling me through (temporarily). Sadly, I saw women struggling mentally, some with feeding tubes. They were abruptly cut off from treatment simply because their BMI was “normal,” Which we all know BMI is bolognie (read why here). I can tell you from experience the mental symptoms are so much harder to cure and fight than the physical. However, insurance cuts off or family stops believing someone is “sick” if they have a “normal weight.”
Why I Am Alive & Happy
I am alive because I LET GO. I am recovered because I LET GO. I am happy because I LET GO
I survived many relapses and cheated death when I had no desire to get better or belief I could. How? Two things.
- My parents did everything they could to keep my heart beating, my lungs breathing, and my body safe.
- God never gave up on me. Despite my lack of will to recover. He was not done with me. I never felt abandoned or upset with God. Instead, I accepted my mental illness as the “battle” He gave me to fight for life. Stay tuned to hear more about my conversation with God during my recovery in an upcoming post!
Check the Facts
If you don’t believe me when I say I have beaten the odds all because of God, then maybe these statistics will help.
- Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
- Young women with anorexia are 12 times more likely to die than are other women the same age that don’t have anorexia.
- Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.
- Over 30 Million American’s in the United States suffer from an Eating Disorder
- Nearly 90% of women with anorexia experience osteopenia (loss of bone calcium) and 40% have osteoporosis (more advanced loss of bone density). This means that if I got into any accident I would have literally broken.
- Between 5% and 20% of people who develop the disease eventually die from it. The longer you have it, the more likely you will die from it.
Give & Get Help
If you or someone you know may be suffering with an eating disorder or disordered eating you can find professional resources here. Many are free. The first step is the hardest, yet the most life-changing! You can do it.