E.D.N.O.S. This acronym is only five letters long yet it rules almost everyday of my life. I, like many other people my age, suffer with an eating disorder. Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: bulimia with anorexic tendencies is what they call it. It’s been almost four years since my diagnosis and I still struggle everyday and every meal. It all started my junior year of high school when I was a little heavy for my age. One day I decided to “take control”; I began exercising excessively and eating as little as possible. Although I lost the weight, I also lost countless other things. I lost friends, family, relationships, and most importantly: myself.
In the peak of my downward spiral it appeared I had it all. I was beautiful, smart, funny and no one knew I was struggling. After months of purging and extreme weight loss my family and friends intervened. June 2011 I entered treatment. Although it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done I credit treatment with saving my life. I cannot even begin to explain the support I received from all of those around me during that difficult time in my life.
Coming to Lehigh I was recovered and confident with my body and myself as a person. I thought I had conquered my E.D.N.O.S. Then this past summer I hit another road bump. Everything spiraled back out of control for no apparent reason, my weight again significantly dropped and people noticed. This gave me the harsh reality that an eating disorder is not something you conquer, it is something you deal with. My E.D.N.O.S. will most likely always be with me everyday of my life. I have to choose to keep fighting and take each day one at a time.
This week is National Eating Disorder Week and the theme is “I had no idea”. This is extremely powerful given that people with eating disorders are experts at hiding it. For example, I may be in one of the worst spirals of my entire life right now and although I am seeking treatment, almost no one knows other than my family. Stories like mine are why it is so important to remember that you never know what other people are going through and what goes on behind closed doors. If you think someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder talk to them about it, your intervention might be what saves their life.
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