My struggle and recovery from my eating disorder


When I was 18 I moved from the comfort of my parents’ home to go to school in Orem, UT at a college there. I spent many a summer in Utah, as we have plenty of family that lived there so I figured I would feel comfortable and it wouldn’t take long for me to adapt to a new area and make new friends. The only problem is, I am extremely shy and not good at making friends. I also think I had some deep rooted insecurities. As a result, I looked in all the wrong places to try and fill that void with someone or something . I met a boy. And I used him as that someone to help me fill that void and get my security from. Slowly over months, he turned into someone who didn’t build me up, but tore me down. I really struggled emotionally after the relationship ended. I no longer had him to fill that void, even if what he filled it with was damaging. I remember almost immediately the eating disorder

really took shape. I had slowly been eating less but nothing too intentional. But when I fell into the disease, I fell hard. It wasn’t but a few months before my weight dropped almost 30 pounds, to below 100lbs. And I just keep restricting my food until I eventually would only allow myself to eat 200-300 calories a day. I obsessed about calories. I went to the gym every day. Working out for hours. I worked at Wal-mart in the bakery and went to school full time. It didn’t take too long before my eating disorder consumed most of my life, and I found myself having to back down on school classes because I just didn’t have the energy any longer. I finally had people urge me to seek help. I was confident I could over come this on my own. I visited the nurse at the school I attended weekly as well as the school counselor, weekly. But I only got worse. I eventually started binging and purging as well. My parents tried to get me admitted into an inpatient facility as my health was declining very rapidly. I would say this was all within a matter of 2 years.

The next year I had to quite school and not much after that I found myself missing much more work because I didn’t feel well all the time.  was going to have to quit my job because I could barely get out of bed any longer. I remember I had mostly stopped driving because I always had that cloudy feeling when you are in extreme exhaustion. I always felt confused, and couldn’t focus. One morning I woke up and just knew I was going to die from this eating disorder. I had a choice to allow this disease to take everything I had worked toward and everything I knew i could achieve, or fight back.I finally found the courage to accept the help from my parents to be admitted into an inpatient treatment facility.

By this time I had such little self esteem. Since that initial abusive relationship ended, I found myself with more abuse, put my self in situations I would never have imagined just a couple years before. I honestly felt as though I deserved the abuse. It just felt like the pain and anger and hurt was so deep that I would never heal.
I had stopped weighing myself months before I was admitted. I couldn’t handle the pain it added each day I got on the scale. One of the first things the doctor asked me when I was admitted was how much I thought I weight. I honestly thought I was maybe 105 lbs. He wouldn’t tell me how much I weighed, but he did tell me I was under 80 lbs. Today I think about that, and I cannot even believe I weighed that little. I shopped in the little girls department, because all other clothes looked huge one me, but I couldn’t see that when I looked in the mirror. When asked if I saw a problem with the fact that my clothes were made for young girls, not woman in their 20s, I would mentally justify it because the clothes were cheaper and I was a poor college student.

Fast Forward 5 months, I was released from treatment and moved in with my sister temporarily. I now physically looked like a normal healthy woman. I had some weight on me. And could mostly make good food choices on my own. But I was scared out of my mind. How would I ever fit back in with the real world. How do I face real world problems without resulting to my eating disorder.

For many years after this I felt like I was just surviving. Using other things to numb my pain and put my thoughts behind me. I still sought out abusive men, and put myself in horrible situations because I frankly just didn’t care about my self.

March 13th 2013, I found myself in a place so miserable and dark I knew I needed to do something different. I spent most of my free time learning what it looks like to love myself. Figure out what my faults were and how I could change the things about myself I didn’t like. I looked for the things in my life that I could be grateful for. That is when I really started recovery. Even though I didn’t act out in my eating disorder addiction for all those years after I got out of treatment I didn’t spend any time loving who I was until that day in March four years ago. I wasn’t learning from my mistakes and looking for my strengths. .
Today, I still focus on affirmations daily to remind myself that I am worth it. I still remind myself of all the wonderful things I’ve accomplished and the loving people in my life. I am finding myself each and every day. I keep showing up to life every day and always look for ways to be of service to those around me and how I can help other woman who may be suffering from the same perpetual cycle of low self esteem. I know I hurt a lot of people and took advantage of a lot when I was in sick, and I am always looking for ways I can now contribute to society as opposed to burden it any further. I love where I came from because it has built me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing from my past. I only hope that sharing and talking to others will prevent one person from diving to the depths depths that I went to before I could see what my life should be. Happy, Joyous and Free.

Michelle Turnbow


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