ED life disrupted when I got married and became a wife and then a mother. It took a harsh waking up call to finally release myself from the illusion of ED haze.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH – SUNDAY, MARCH 4TH
Let’s Get Real- Highlighting stories we don’t often hear.
Please find below another story in honor of Nedawareness week 2018, ‘The Unexpected Life’. We’ve changed few things to seal the anonymity of author.
The Unexpected Life
This is a story of my unexpected life. It causes great pain to confess this to you all. I don’t know you, so it doesn’t make much of a difference who reads this and who doesn’t. I thought if I put this into writing then it will become a reality, and it may help shed some light of complexity of this illness.
I don’t remember how my ED started. All I know is desire to be thin and acceptable took priority over everything else. Everything paled in comparison to becoming a poster image of X model I admired and worshiped.
As I grew older, the intensity of my binges increased. I seeked comfort in food and exercise. I was 18 years old when I left education and started working in a fashion retail on high street.
I thought if I achieved my goal weight, looked certain way then life will be brilliant. I didn’t expect the unexpected life, I was going to live.
I worked 40 hours a week in retail and I spent rest of my time exercising and obsessing over my appearance.
During those times, my parents arranged my marriage. I met my future husband with a lack of interest. Everyone told me, he’s stable, has a house, good job and good manners, everything you need in a future spouse. We did connect and I thought this was a good break from my family, my job and perhaps my ED. Before we married, we did speak on phone everyday. Those were good days and it gave me incentive to get down to certain size to fit in my bridal outfit.
The first few days of my marriage were good, but then things started to change. I was a stay at home wife. I had no desire to go out and work. During those times my eating became more chaotic. I was either restricting or binging and there was no middle way. I was also forcing myself into compulsively exercising everyday for few hours.
When my husband came home in the evening, I would put on a happy face. We would dine together and often go out together.
My mother knew my problem. She would Skype me everyday and would try to reason with me. She absolutely hated my eating habits.
Soon I became pregnant and that’s when the real challenge began. I became very lethargic and completely lost my appetite.
I was sleeping too much and not eating very much. First time in my life, I was losing weight without effort and first time in my life I was having no cravings for food.
My mother being a wise woman she is, immediately stepped in and with her help and efforts I gave birth to my first child.
I did eventually fall in love with my child. The child care responsibilities mostly fell on my mother’s shoulders and my husband also stepped in from time to time. This gave me a free way to be with my ED. I wasn’t feeding my child. My eating was more chaotic and more restrictive now. I also neglected my house hold duties and my husband full time.
My mother was worried. She became my cover and tried to do everything herself. When my husband returned home in the evening, everything would be perfect.
When my mother left, my real challenge started. There was no longer a perfect house and no hot food on table in the evening. My child was also not gaining weight and constantly crying.
My mother thought this motherhood would force me into reality and would render me towards becoming more responsible. Things started to deteriorate and became worst. Soon me and my husband were arguing, he couldn’t understand why I was so absent minded and so lazy.
A voice in my head would tell me constantly, this was all happening because I was fat and lazy.
I would often look at my goal weight on wall and would tell myself, one more month, only one more month and then it will be all perfect.
I would promise myself as soon as I achieve this target weight, I’ll spend all my energies on my child and house.
Soon I kind of achieved my target weight and I shifted my focus on my family. My mother became content.
My husband was OK too. I was blind, completely blind and never suspected a thing that he was occupied else where.
It was during those times, I received another shocking news that I was pregnant again. And I just knew I could not go through with this pregnancy.
Once again I was sleeping too much and not eating anything at all. My child was completely neglected. Our house became a war zone and it was then that my husband gently started to push me towards abortion.
‘Your not well and your mother has her hands full, lets make a decision which is beneficial for us all’.
In a blind haze, I went to my GP and we went through with the abortion. We did not tell anyone.
One week after the abortion, I was rendered with guilt. I didn’t expect the guilt, but it came. To numb these feelings, I started to eat non-stop, and I stopped communicating.
My mother soon raised the alarm. My husband didn’t say a word.
When my child turned two, my mother pushed me to have another child. I wasn’t ready for it, in fact I thought, I would never be ready to have another child. My mother pushed me because she noticed my husband’s changing attitude towards me and the house. I was so stuck in ED haze that I didn’t expected this unexpected change of attitude.
I was always looking at the target number on wall and my focus was more on achieving my target weight.
This time it was a battle, it was a battle to get down to that number. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to reach my target weight.
It was during these times that I fell pregnant again. I hate to say this but I felt relieved thinking, finally I will be able to get down to my target weight. But faith had something else planned for me. This pregnancy was completely different. I was more alert and more hungry. I didn’t experience any of the symptoms I experienced during my first two pregnancies. I became blind with panic. My mother flew down to be with me. I had a full support of my mother and my husband’s family, but I wasn’t happy. With each day, I increased in panic and I also became depressed.
I couldn’t abort this child. It was written for this child to come and this child came into my life in mid-summer, a perfect boy with perfect weight but with very different needs. He was a child with special needs. In the seven generations of my family, this has never happened. This was a unique case.
I experienced post partum depression soon after. Now it was three people being neglected full-time. My new born kept on getting sicker and sicker. Now the whole blame fell on my shoulders and I simply went into hiding. Now I was a lazy, no good, self obsessed, selfish wife and mother.
Friends and family sympathized with my husband and he became even more fully involved elsewhere.
In mid-winter we bid final goodbye to our son. He didn’t make it to mid-summer to celebrate his first birthday.
My mother became numb with pain and grief. He was her very special grandson. You would have thought, this would have rendered me back into reality, but sadly it didn’t.
I found solace in my ED. This time, I couldn’t get my son out of my mind. I found his demise hard. I was soon hospitalized for depression and suicidal behavior.
I spent months in care. My case was worst and perhaps this is what my husband was waiting for. He slapped the divorce on my face and left.
Not to mention he took our child with him.
And I never thought my past behavior, my exercise, my eating habits would be held against me, but they did. All of a sudden tables turned and I was labeled unfit to be a mother.
Today I have supervised visits with my first child. I’m back working in retail part time. I’m lucky that my parents took me in. But I see the stress it has caused the whole family.
And perhaps this was what was needed to pull me out of my ED cycle. The therapy and mindfulness sessions helped. My quality of life did improve with all of this combination.
I confess that it hurts to see my ex-partner so blissfully happy in his new marriage. He married the girl he always wanted to marry.
It hurts to see him have a sole custody of our first child.
Today I sit with a family lawyer to fight for our first child’s custody. I have such a hard battle to fight but now I know what I want in life, and that’s to be with my child.
I’m on my meds for anxiety and depression. I don’t go through mindless binges any more. I no longer seek that kind of comfort in food.
In therapy I tried to make sense of my married life and now I realize that I did enter the marriage with whole heart, mind and soul. My ex was on rebound and didn’t have same intentions as me.
Even if I tried my level best to make him happy, he would have eventually returned to his Ex.
Families really need to pick on early signs of Eating Disorder. My parents did best by me, I can’t really blame them for what happened to me. I wanted to leave education, they let me. They tried their best by me, but they also knew I had issues with food, self-esteem and body image. They also knew I suffered from winter blues and I had anxiety. They were happy to see me get married, even I was content. I thought I accomplished something in my life. It didn’t matter to me or my parents that my husband had a past and wanted to marry someone else.
This is my unexpected story. This is my reality and I share this in honor of 2018 #NEDAwareness week.