Little Debbie Part II – It Gets Dark

Little Debbie Part II – It Gets Dark

Disclaimer: This post contains sensitive subject matter about eating disorders. If this is a trigger for you, or something you’re not comfortable reading about, do not continue. I am not a physician. This is my personal experience with bulimia. If you need help dealing with an eating disorder, please contact a doctor immediately.

For information on eating disorders, please visit National Eating Disorder Association, NEDA. I’ve also included a hotline at the end of the article.

I’ve been delaying writing this post while focusing on a more ‘humorous’ direction, mostly because this is a very difficult part of my life to talk about.

I also know my friends, many of whom are supporting me but do not necessarily suffer from the same issues, are reading and subjects like these can make for gritty reading material. But, as my friend Ken texted to remind me, I need to tackle the difficult posts to eventually arrive at the resolutions. That’s the progression I’m attempting to build here… Messy and Badass can absolutely co-exist, and does, in everyone.

Anyway, he’s right. So annoying.

We need to stand tall and have the courage to talk about the difficult things…

Remember: We are never alone in our struggles and there is no shame in talking about them. Any of them. Things can and DO get better. They really do. I believe talking about these issues sheds light on them, brings them out of the dark. When we can admit things to ourselves and others, we can begin the healing process.

Unfortunately, things sometimes get worse before they get better, as they did for me in my continuation of Little Debbie.

I love writing with humor, but not all posts can be funny. Sometimes s@*# gets dark. I’ve made a commitment to myself to remain transparent on this blog, even when it’s difficult, in the hopes it helps just one person. One person would be wonderful. So here goes:

*Statistics show there are 30 million people in the United States suffering from eating disorders.

*Every 62 minutes a person dies as a direct result of eating disorders.

*13% of women over 50 engage in eating disorders.

*Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Statistics by ANAD

My Story…

When I finally quit Little Debbie, my evil, chocolatey foe, I immediately lost weight. It happened quickly, yet I failed to notice. I continued to obsess about my appearance. My brain was like a carnival mirror – I saw only hideous images within every reflective surface.

The true me was beautiful, yet I couldn’t see her.

I now know how powerful the mind can be: the tricks it plays and the lies it tells.

This picture is of my senior prom, and below it, a drawing in my journal depicting how I viewed myself. There’s really not much to say about this, other than it is truly heartbreaking for me to see. (Maybe I did chuckle at my drawing for a second, then immediately felt bad about it) Here is a lovely girl, blind to her self-worth – both inside and out.

Not that numbers matter to me anymore – I don’t even step foot onto a scale unless I go to the doctor – yet I recognize it might be pertinent in terms of reference. I was just over 5’7” tall and weighed around 150 pounds at the end of my senior year.

My goal was 125 pounds. I have no idea why this was the magical number. Perhaps it was something I read or the weight of a friend. I made myself a chart, hung it on the back of the bathroom door, and began starving myself.

It was effective, in the sense I rapidly lost weight, (I obsessively checked every scale I came across) but I couldn’t handle the hunger. I quickly changed course and in no time at all, I was a full-fledged, compulsive bulimic.

This is a photo of how I looked the following year when I accompanied a friend to his prom. He’s not really headless, I just figured he might not want his face out there for everyone to see.

If you don’t know me, you may look at this photo and think, ‘You look great’.

No. I was not great. I was the opposite of great. I weighed 118 pounds. Of course, once I had finally landed on 125, it still wasn’t enough.

Why is it never enough? Why do we not realize WE are enough? Strong enough, smart enough, beautiful enough. Enough. WE ARE ENOUGH.

Let me say that again: WE ARE ENOUGH

I’m not going to get into too much of the TMI of bulimia; although you might think this is already TMI, I can assure you it’s not. I can also assure you I was not well, physically or mentally.

I rarely went less than a few hours between bingeing and purging, frequently waking in the middle of the night. My bones poked out of my chest, shoulders, and hips. I started losing hair on my head and growing it on my arms. I obsessed about food, my weight, and when I could use the bathroom again.

My eating disorder dominated my entire day. I chose the places I ate to accommodate my disorder. I declined invitations to places I wasn’t familiar with. I looked in the mirror and saw an ugly thing. No one knew. It was my sick secret.

Being discovered…

About a year in, I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning. After the cleaning, the assistant sat down next to me. She had a look in her eyes – concerned, cautious – that immediately made me uncomfortable.

“So, Ashley,” she said, “We have something we need to talk about.”

It turns out dentists can determine a lot by looking at your teeth. She told me I had serious enamel erosion and they knew it was an eating disorder causing it.

I was too shocked to respond. I sat there, silent, as she told me because I was over 18 they would not contact my parents. She also said I needed to seek help. I left both embarrassed at the discovery and relieved my parents wouldn’t find out.

Someone did call my parents, though. Perhaps it’s against patient/client privilege – I don’t know – but I’m forever grateful the call was made. I would have continued to kill myself, from the inside out, had my secret not been exposed.

At the time, I was through the roof with disbelief and anger. It was yet another completely humiliating conversation with my mother. This conversation, as horrible as it was, facilitated the beginning of my recovery.

Once my parents knew, my habits became more difficult to pull off. I had just moved back into their house, after a year in my dingy hovel of an apartment, and my mom was right up my ass. She watched me eat. She stood outside the bathroom. Her beady little eyes followed me everywhere.

Loss of control…

I was outraged by what I perceived as a breach in my privacy, although I now understand I was frustrated by my own loss of control. It wasn’t my secret anymore. My power was gone. And as it is with many addictions, once the secret is out, others can hold us accountable.

And they did from that point on.

Fortunately, there will be only one more installment of Little Debbie before the successful road to recovery and healing; unfortunately, my rock bottom was pretty damn horrific. It could have been funny if it weren’t so horrible. I need to gear myself up for that one.

For the readers:

If you are a person suffering from an eating disorder, I beg of you to summon all your courage and, as painful and difficult as it absolutely is, take the first step and tell someone. Ask for help. I am no health professional; I’m just a person who fell into a hole and, scraping at the deteriorating edges, crawled my way out. You can crawl your way out, too. I believe in you. It’s so much easier with help.

– Ashley

Do you suffer from an eating disorder? Here is a website with a 24/7 hotline and multiple resources.

Read about how my addiction and obsession with food began:

My Sordid Affair With Little Debbie

Spread the love!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *