Honestly, I don’t know why it began. I just remember that restricting my intake made me feel I had some control over my body and my life, and bingeing made me feel numb to the feelings I didn’t want to feel. A few years later, I started having flashbacks to early childhood sexual trauma, which increased the need to numb out and feel in control. By age 19, alcohol and pills became a growing part of that cycle of numbness and control. I also used those substances to fuel my ED.
I have no family support, and no health insurance, but I have a wonderful therapist and a great physician at a low-income LGBT community health center. I have two years of sobriety, and my 12-step groups have been an incredible social support system. In early sobriety, I did have a relapse in my ED, but sobriety has also helped me feel like I don’t need to be afraid of feeling my feelings.
I never thought I would live past 21, but now in my 30s I’m discovering so much about myself, and learning that I have dreams and desires. I want to continue having the health and energy to pursue those things.
I want others to know to find some way to connect to something bigger than yourself. Learn to communicate with it in whatever way feels good. Learn to listen to it. Maybe it will help you combat that voice that keeps trying to tell you terrible things about yourself.
I am a 30-something, middle eastern, nonbinary trans queer.