Written By: Ryan K
Originally Posted: 6/9/2015
Ed (the eating disorder personified, duh) and I have been in an abusive relationship for a very long time, but it wasn't always that way, and it wasn't always public information. Like so many stories of others who struggle with this illness, I didn't see it coming. Nobody saw it coming. I was raised in a loving household by immigrant parents who worked their asses off pursuing the American Dream. As a child, I was fun, bubbly, curious, animated. I made friends easily and was always laughing. In high school, I was Prom Court, Homecoming Queen, top of my class and held a leadership role in at least five extracurricular organizations, including editor-in-chief of the yearbook, service chairperson of the National Honor Society and four-time class officer. I was voted "most involved," "most spirited," "best hair," and "most likely to be a model" (shut up). I went to a top "Little Ivy League" university (seriously, shut up) and from the outside, I had it all.
Unbeknownst to many, body image problems started to poison my mind junior year of high school. I started obsessively counting calories and exercising to cancel out those calories. This tapered off senior year, but by the end of freshman year of college I was up 20 lbs and not too thrilled. Around that time, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, not long after my aunt passed away from lung cancer after never smoking a cigarette in her life. Now, I was really not thrilled. That summer, I refused to eat and started taking diet pills. I lost 10 lbs and upon return to school, people noticed, and I was happier. Or so I thought.
Turns out, being 19 and having to tackle a rigorous International Relations five-class course load while my mom was home going to chemotherapy and radiation -- all while starting to develop serious eating disorder behaviors -- is not a good combination. Who would've thunk? I returned to school that fall refusing to eat with a penchant for binge drinking. Naturally, a recipe for success. I had emergency medical services called on me two times within two weeks. School was not pleased and sent me home on medical leave for the rest of the semester to go into alcohol counseling. Once again, Ryan is depressed. I told the counselor what he wanted to hear and petitioned my way back for the second semester. I managed to do OK for about a year, after which a very traumatic incident happened that I would rather not blog about.
Ed is like that asshole guy in the bar who preys on the weak and vulnerable girl. He started coming by more often, flirting with me while I was feeling down and out. Bitch was getting bamboozled.
Then the summer before senior year of college, I became bulimic. I always knew what bulimia was, and I even tried it once a year prior. I couldn't do it, so I tossed the idea. Except this time I was successful. Holy shit! So I can eat whatever I want, and not gain weight? COUNT ME IN!
So the disease started, but was sporadic for a long while, more on a "as needed" basis whenever I saw fit. My weight was higher than it is now, but I was generally OK with that. A few months after graduating from college, I got in trouble with a DUI. Ryan depressed, Ed stronger. A year later I entered my first adult relationship with Sean, and he was one of the few people who knew. We spent too much time together for me to successfully sneak around with Ed so often. While with Sean, we went through a few profoundly traumatic experiences together, and creeptastic Ed wouldn't leave me the fuck alone. Sean made me tell my PCP, who promised to have a counselor call me. She forgot. Ed told me, "See, even your doctor doesn't think our love is dangerous. We're fine! Let's just hang out some more."
A few years later, I was in a horrible commuter rail accident and ultimately needed brain surgery. Ryan depressed with PTSD and brain trauma, ED STRONGER. Furthermore, the brain injury greatly affected my senses of taste and smell, exacerbating my fucked up relationship with food. Ed started coming by all the time.
Last summer, I experienced a loss. Not a death, but a loss. I couldn't handle it. I spent the entire summer on the couch using behaviors, lying to coworkers on Monday about what I had done over the weekend since the weather was so amazing. "I went to the water fire show thing in Providence!" No, I didn't. "I went to my friend's birthday party at a nightclub!" Sure, Club Couch, population: one. I would promise and commit to plans, but when it came time to make moves, Ed would swoop in and whisper, "Do you REALLY want to go to the movies? Why don't we just watch a movie here? If you hang out with me instead of them, you could also order two large pizzas. Now can you do that at the theater? Come on, you've had a long week. You deserve this."
Fucking Ed. He made me his bitch.
Original post can be found at www.ryandoesresi.com.