Why? That has to be the one question that I asked my self over and over again when I was in treatment. Why did I end up with an eating disorder? Of course, there is the trauma, there is the pain and the hurt. But, I thought, lots of people live through what I did and worse and never had eating disorder, or any addiction. So what in me made anorexia or bulimia the answer?
Three years ago when my husband and I started dating, I was living in a house I had recently bought. I had no business owning a home. I had no idea what I was doing. So, when I needed some handy work done around the house, he was kind enough to help me, except, I had no tools. I literally had a hammer and one rusty set of pliers that I found in the back yard when I bought the house. Somehow, at the age of 32 I never found myself in a position to need tools. Why would I buy them if I never really needed them.
That is exactly what I think happened in my life. I had a good childhood. Actually a great childhood. I had loving, caring parents. I had four great siblings. I was fed well. Had clothes. I can't put my finger on anything that would really have happened in my childhood that caused much trauma. In fact, I would say that I was probably rather sheltered. This is a good thing. My parents did a great job protecting me.
Then life hit me. I lived on my own in a different state then my parents. I had to figure out how to survive on my own. I had to make all new friends. I am horrible at making friends. And of course, date! Turns out I was not prepared emotionally for what lied ahead. I survived my childhood borrowing tools from others. My parents tools, friends tools, members of my churches tools. But I never invested in my own.
I really believe that as I began to find myself being hurt, in pain, and looking for a way to cope, I turned back into a 5 year old girl. When dealing with trauma, I was just a child. I couldn't use my voice. I couldn't get any words out to communicate how I was feeling, so I thought that if I started to lose weight, stopped eating, people would see I was hurting. They didn't see I was hurting. They thought I was getting skinny. The message I was trying to tell everyone didn't come out at all the way I intended it. I was complimented on my weight loss. I was told how great I looked. And, it felt good. I was using my tools incorrectly. My pliers were my screw driver, my drill... anorexia became the tool I used for everything. Happy - restrict food. Sad - restrict food. Fearful - Restrict, restrict, restrict!
It has taken me a long time to work on getting my own set of tools. I had to invest in myself. I found that desire to learn to love my self better. To enjoy life more and the people in it. I spent many years surviving, 8 years after I left treatment I was still suffering inside. Today, I have a box full of tools. Tools that help me communicate. Tools that help me love myself. Tools that help me seek happiness.