PLEASE NOTE: Recovery is possible for ANYONE and that mental illness holds no limitations to whom it reaches or how it affects us. London lived COMPLETELY BLIND (still) through 10-year battle with eating disorders and control issues.
Notice the sense of gaining control, to losing control, to what we think is control while it being the exact opposite. Especially with mental health disorders. We may find that sense of control as a "system of relief" and form of coping, like London, while we have no idea the true negative impact it is having. We are unaware to our own consequences because those in front of us may view nothing from an invisible illness until we become so sick that the invisibility is too hard to hide.
So please, do not be afraid to ask for help. Especially if there is ANY question in your mind, that's a reason to find an answer from anyone trusted instead of letting ourselves wonder to where we may induce more danger than ever expected.
This is London's story on living blind with eating disorders, mental illness, and control issues...
I suffered with an eating disorder for a little over 10 years. I am fully recovered now, and here is my story.
In the beginning, I suffered a lot of emotional and some physical abuse growing up. Every day I was put down, degraded and let know that I was worthless. I was not cared for very well when I was ill or emotionally hurting, all I was told was that I was "fine." So over time, I learned that emotions were not ok, saying what was wrong was not ok.
In high school, I competed heavily in power lifting competitions. I set a few records, and did some huge lifts. My parents were always wanting me to get in first place in the thinnest weight class there was for females.
"YOU LOOK PREGNANT YOUR STOMACH IS SO BIG!"
When I got weighed a few days before the meets, I heard my weight told to me. When I went up a weight class, I thought that I was fat. My mom did not help the situation by telling me things such as, "you keep eating as much as you are, you won't be able to fit into your pants!" and, "You look pregnant your stomach is so big!" That's when the thoughts really intruded.
Along with weight loss to make my parents happy, I wanted control. I couldn't control how I was treated at home and at school due to some other mental illnesses, but I could control what food went in and out of my body.
It started at 17.
I started trying to avoid meals at boarding school, skimping on the amount I ate at lunch, etc. Making excuses every chance I got. The weight came off, slowly, but it came off.
When I felt my body becoming thinner, I felt happy. I felt I had achieved something.
Now in my senior year of high school, a family member passed away, which hit me quite hard. Again, I wanted control. I was not allowed to feel, I was told not to cry, so I kept it up with avoiding food. After being kicked out of an independent living program due to my eating issue, I was abused at home even worse.
My older sister tried forcing food into me. Every night was a fight, I argued and cried at the table. I refused to finish my food, so they eventually gave up.
I was cold in the dead of summer, sitting in front of the heater and wearing layers. I didn't care. All I knew was, I was in control, finally had control.
One day, I had my first scare. I was lying in a tub of hot water, and my heart started slowing down. I felt dizzy and weak, my arms falling to my sides and I was too weak to pick them up. Then I suddenly got what little strength I had back, and my heart was beating normally. I thought I was going to die. I told this to Mom. She supported me for 2 weeks, then went back to her abusive ways.
For two more years this went on, then I moved out.
I experienced lots of stress at college. I then switched from anorexia to bulimia.
I went through Hell every day after that. Binging and purging 8 to 10 times a day. I was dizzy and weak, and it got to the point where I passed out in the kitchen trying to just get a drink.
When I started purging in public places and at school, I then decided I could no longer go on, and needed help. I had stopped composing music and singing. I could no longer sing, my voice was destroyed.
I dropped out of college and started seeking help. After calling many treatment programs, I eventually went to one.
I went to a hospital for 2 months. I worked hard and didn't give up. I went in at a weight of almost 80 pounds. I gained 17 pounds while in treatment, learning many new coping skills and how to use my voice to express needs and emotions, instead of using food.
After I got out, I did well for quite a while. I had slips but I got back on the bandwagon.
It's now 5 years after leaving treatment, and I am fully recovered. I have my life back, and slowly redeveloping my interests. I almost had to have vocal surgery at one point, but when I stopped purging after I had a long relapse, the doc said I didn't need it anymore.
I persevered through the hurdle and never want to go back. I give special thanks to all the staff at the eating disorders treatment program at St. Vincent hospital in Beaverton, OR. You all saved my life, and gave me tools I will never forget.