Eating Disorders

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    Community Voices

    Keep it simple

    <p>Keep it simple</p>
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    Adele Espy

    How Roe v. Wade Ruling Impacts a Sexual Abuse Survivor With Anorexia

    I’m a sexual abuse survivor. I also have an eating disorder — anorexia, binge/purge type. My abuse started at age 4 and lasted until I was 21 years old. During each episode of abuse, I felt helpless, afraid, trapped, and powerless. While I can’t say I was lucky to experience abuse, I can say I was lucky I didn’t have my menstrual cycle yet. I was training my body too hard and starving my body too much to have a period, and therefore I didn’t get pregnant. I can’t imagine raising a child who has DNA from one of my abusers. It would be incredibly hard to have a reminder that I’m responsible to love. Now I have an implanted birth control, so I feel fairly safe (for now…), but what happens in three years when I need to change the implant out? Will I still have my right to birth control? Or will that be gone too? The feelings that flooded me when Roe was overturned were the same feelings I felt when I was abused — helpless, afraid, trapped, and powerless. I am privileged to live in Maine, where we haven’t yet lost our rights to safe abortions. But knowing that women’s rights are being stripped away makes me very scared for my future. It’s not that I don’t love and want babies either. I have a genetic condition that I don’t want to pass on to my offspring. Once I’m healthy enough to raise kids, I will absolutely adopt. I don’t want to create another sick kid when there are sick kids who already exist and need good parents. I want to be a good parent to a kid who needs love. That is my human right. And if I get pregnant unplanned, suddenly that is no longer my right as a woman, and that makes me want to scream and rip off all of my skin. Because it wasn’t my choice to be held down against my will and raped again and again throughout childhood. That wasn’t my choice, and this would not be my choice either. I identify as asexual. I could be asexual because of trauma, but it doesn’t really matter what caused it, it is what it is. That doesn’t mean I won’t get sexually abused again. Honestly, this ruling makes me want to get a hysterectomy and remove my uterus even though I don’t have sexual intercourse! And I have no reason to have a hysterectomy. It is really triggering to my anorexia too, because, despite having a birth control implant, I still do not want my menstrual cycle. Being able to make choices about my body is incredibly important to me and my recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Roe being overturned is a trigger to restrict my calories because it’s the only thing I feel I have control over. It makes me want to give up on life. What’s the point of sticking around if the world is so fucked up? Restricting my calories and losing weight is all I feel I have control over these days. I don’t want to get sucked back into my anorexic patterns. I want to be healthy and free to be the driver of my own life, my own body, my own uterus, and my own feelings and actions. We cannot go back to 1973 when abortion was illegal. My whole body is shaking with rage because my gender and uterus status shouldn’t determine my legal rights.

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    What It's Like to Lose a Friend You Met in Eating Disorder Treatment

    I live with an eating disorder. Since I was 13 years old, I’ve been battling anorexia and have been in and out of treatment centers. Currently, I see a psychiatrist, therapist, and nutritionist regularly to manage my eating disorder on the outpatient level, but I was in inpatient treatment again this past January through March. Back in 2019, I went into inpatient care at an eating disorder treatment center where I met a young woman who I became very close with. We both were working extremely hard to battle our eating disorders while trying to get as healthy as possible. She was one of the sweetest and most hard-working people I had ever met, and she became a huge inspiration to me. Unfortunately, I found out this past week this young woman passed away due to her eating disorder, and learning of her passing absolutely crushed me. Eating disorders are so stigmatized, and people always assume those who are “sickest” with an eating disorder look and act a certain way; but that was not the case with this young woman. She fought to her very last breath to fight her eating disorder and become healthy, but her heart couldn’t take it anymore. She was on a waiting list to be admitted into an acute eating disorder treatment center when she died in her sleep a mere five days before she was to be admitted into a higher level of care. Hearing of her death absolutely crushed me. I am still in shock that this woman who fought so hard could be taken by this terrible illness in the midst of her fight. I have never been more angry at eating disorders for taking away my friend, and her death has made me even more fearful for myself. I have always known that eating disorders can be fatal, but my friend’s death hit soclose to home now I can’t stop thinking about the danger of these illnesses. I am terrified for myself and my own struggle with anorexia, and unfortunately, the stress has caused me to struggle with even more intense anorexia symptoms. I feel as though I am a mess, and it is so hard to try and fight my own illness when I am grieving the death of my friend. Losing someone to an illness that you struggle with yourself can be incredibly daunting. For the past two weeks I feel like I have been having trouble functioning day to day, and I am plagued with nightly nightmares. I can’t stop thinking about my friend and the pain she experienced prior to her death. I am absolutely devastated by the loss of her. I feel like I don’t know how to keep going when I am struggling with such intense mourning that is affecting my ability to fight my illness, but I am thankful to have the support of my treatment team. I don’t know what I would do without them. With all that being said, I know I can still mourn my friend while continuing tofight this illness. Her death has brought me great sorrow and fear, but I also feel like I must keep fighting in her memory to get through this illness. Not a day goes by that I am not working hard to battle my anorexia, but I know that I also need to be kind to myself during this difficult time. I am so sad to have lost my friend, but her death has also urged me to fight this dangerous illness.