IAmA recovering Anorexic who spent more than 2 years hospitalized and weighed 60 lb (27kg) at 20 years old (10.6 BMI) AMA
Wow. This had such a great impact. Thank you everyone. I will soon be lost among the other AMAs, but I am always here to answer questions. Thanks everyone for the encouragement. Let's spread the word!
Back before college in High School, I had gotten to my highest weight. I'm 5' 3" and I weighed 147 lb/66.6 kg. I decided to loose some weight.
Fast forward back to college. I got there weighing about 120 lb/54.4 kg. My boyfriend was pretty verbally abusive, and I was crazy insecure and jealous. I had to be perfect.
Me before the Anorexia: http://i.imgur.com/A0NgD.jpg
To summarize to get to the Anorexia, I got pregnant and he insisted I terminate the pregnancy, afterwards leaving me home alone and with no medications. He felt no sympathy.
This is when shit went down. This was January 14th, 2009. Soon, I was restricting food all day, waiting until night to eat. And getting really stoned. The weight fell. My campus had a huge state-of-the-art gym so I started working out and the weight kept falling.
Eventually I went to go visit my aunt and uncle 45 minutes away. To their horror, I was about 90 pounds. When I left, they called my mom, which then prompted her to fly up from Texas to Ohio without my knowledge and stage an intervention.
When she came to my house, I flipped. I threw things, screamed, got in her face, and all sorts of horrible things. She told me I was to start a partial hospitalization program at a place called the Center for Balanced Living. This is where you are at treatment most of the day, eat 2 monitored meals, then go home, 5 days a week.
I entered weighing 84 pounds and basically failed miserably. I ended up about a month later weighing less so they said I either needed to go inpatient or back home to Texas with my family.
Here is a picture of me at that first treatment center with some other girls. http://i.imgur.com/XBC8Z.jpg
Went down to Dallas - August 2009 -tried a PHP (partial hospitalization program) there. Hated it. Eventually I started seeing a psychiatrist two times a week - he was damn crazy. Didn't work.
I started riding my bike 12 miles a day and vicious workout regimen restricting myself to 150 calories/day. Weight started plummeting.
I then realized I needed help when I saw myself in the mirror and just... cried. I was scared. I couldn't stop and I knew I was dying.
I picked out a treatment center and decided to give them a call. They did a phone assessment where I told them I thought I was in the lower 70 lb/32 kg range. I later drove to the treatment center with my mother (it was in Oklahoma, we lived in Dallas) and went through admissions.
I don't really remember because my brain was mush, but my mother told me that these treatment professionals began a calm panic because they had found my weight to be 60 lbs/ 27 kg. They told my mother that "God willing, we might get her through this".
I ended up on strict bed-rest and isolation because my white blood cell count was too low. My room was right in front of the Nurse's Station. I had to be fed through a feeding tube (with a small combination of actual food) because I was at risk for AND got re-feeding syndrome, where your body flips out when it gets food and shuts down. I was in a wheelchair at all times and had a shower chair when I was cleaning up.
I ended up being in kidney, renal, pancreatic, liver, and acute heart failure. I wasn't able to speak much, or write well. Eventually I was allowed to go to groups and eat in the dining hall. We were under strict rules. Only 45 minutes to eat, no behaviors, no weird food combos, before and after every meal our trays were checked to make sure we had all of are carbs, fats, proteins, etc. and to make sure we ate EVERY LAST BITE. At the end of each meal we had to "process" saying how we felt emotionally, and it was documented.
Here is an example of a huge meal plan that was extremely painful to go through eating: http://i.imgur.com/jFiXk.jpg
After each meal and snack we had to wait 45 minutes to be able to use the restroom, you had to have a psych tech with you and some people were not allowed to flush until the tech saw it. We weren't allowed to walk a lot, or even shake our feet or anything. We had to be still. Most of us were heavily medicated zombies, so we were in a daze all day.
Here is a list of all my medications I was on: http://i.imgur.com/kZozT.jpg They eventually added Zyprexa and Ativan.
We had groups every day and all day. Saturdays and Sundays were more relaxed, letting us watch TV in the group room, play games, or do crafts. Again though, we were stuck in there for 45 minutes after every meal and snack.
Eventually I gained weight and was released back home. Not two weeks later, I was at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital in the psych ward (oooh, fun) awaiting to be transferred back. There were cameras in my room, so to exercise I would hide behind them and time when the techs would come by every 15 minutes.
Went back to Laureate and started basically over. By the time October of 2010 hit, I was kicked out for exercising/restricting/and triggering the other girls. I went to the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, FL where the documentary film THIN was made. It's on YouTube I believe.
Once you were on certain levels, you were allowed to go to the "Healing Garden" during breaks. I would play my guitar there. http://i.imgur.com/rSqmN.jpg
I eventually was released in early 2011. I spent every holiday in the hospital, multiple times. I am happily recovered now, living in Melbourne, Florida with my boyfriend. I am at a healthy 110 lbs/49.8 kg. Here are some recent pictures:
Casey Anthony Trial Verdict day at the courthouse http://i.imgur.com/OsD6O.jpg
Sorry if this is so long. Three years of hell is a lot to explain. I hope people on here with eating disorders or disordered eating can learn from me. Feel free to ask me any and all questions.