Her Story: The Aftermath Of Anorexia And Bulimia

      It’s 8 pm and my phone rings-- my friend Emilie is calling and she’s getting married in June. I know why she is calling me, and I have been thinking about calling her back for two weeks now. I answer immediately:

“I know-- I am the worst bridesmaid ever—I have been meaning to order my dress for weeks, but I just can’t look at my measurements.”      I am lucky that she gets me, and we laugh as she tells my girlfriend to slap me back in to shape. My girlfriend, Chelsea, is the real hero of this story; I do not know what I would do without her. Every night when I get home she asks me if I ate that day. If I dodge the question, she persists until I answer. If I say that I haven’t eaten she will not go to sleep until I do.  I know this is irrational. I know this is unhealthy. I do not want to be like this. I do not want to speak or think negatively about my body, but I do. I have an eating disorder.     I have been struggling with Anorexia and Bulimia for more than half my life. I have gotten to a point in my recovery where it and I just kind of exist together. I do not act out symptomatically as I have in the past. I do not intentionally starve myself. I do not live with my head in the toilet; somehow still, it stays with me wherever I go. In the past year I found a therapist who really works for me, but if I were not open and honest I would be wasting our time (and my money). Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness week, and I always try to do something to help the cause, so I present to all of you who might be struggling a list of resources to consider. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you are not alone.  USF Health Resources

We are lucky to go to a university overflowing with medical resources for the student body, and this continues mental health. Please check out these resources here on campus if you are struggling with mental illness in any capacity:

http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/counseling-center/

http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/student-health-services/services/psychiatry.aspx

 

Twelve Step Meetings

Unfortunately, there are not many Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous meetings in the area (the only one I found is in Dunedin, which is kind of a hike from campus), but all people struggling with food are welcome at Overeaters Anonymous meetings. I have been too many in the past decade, and I have never once found out of place. The Twelve Step program is free and confidential—what we say here, and what we see here, let it remain here:

http://aba12steps.org/aba-meetings/meetings/usa/florida/dunedin/

http://www.oasuncoast.org/meetings.html

 

In/Outpatient Treatment Programs

At the age of eighteen, I entered treatment at Hyde Park Counseling Center in South Tampa. Though they have changed owners, they have kept two fantastic therapists from my time there. I honestly can say that I would not be who I am today, if it weren’t for the guidance and kindness they gave to me. I recommend reaching out to the two treatment centers listed below if you feel you may want to fully emerge yourself in recovery:

 http://www.hydeparkcenter.com/

http://www.tpoftampa.com/

Individual Therapy

I see a therapist once a month, and it is necessary for my continued recovery. This woman is an inspiration to me—she is always pushing me kindly towards a healthy lifestyle. She has never broached the topic of psychotropic medications with me; my father is a drug addict, and I did not want to jump down that rabbit hole. Mari Broome is a healer who truly cares for her patients. She specializes in body image issues, and provides safe environment for those who are willing to help themselves. Her practice is located in Clearwater:

http://www.maribroomelcsw.com/