Eating Disorders: Part Three of the Impact Chesnee Series
The following post is part of a larger blog series authored by Impact Chesnee High club members. These high school Impact Clubs seek to tackle challenging teen topics with the goal of empowering their peers to make healthy decisions. The teen authors are given discretion to choose a topic of interest and receive mentoring from their club adviser. We are excited to highlight this series and their contributions towards critical dialogue about often overlooked topics. We hope you enjoy. For this particular post we want to give an extra thanks to our author for her incredible strength and honesty tackling such a sensitive topic. We are constantly humbled and impressed by the maturity of our teen Impact members.
Blog written by Bayley Hutchinson of Impact Chesnee High
You are Not Alone
If you think you have an eating disorder you’re not alone. My name is I’m Bayley Hutchinson and I have suffered, and still suffer, with an Eating Disorder called Anorexia Nervosa.
First off, I want you to know, whoever is reading this, that there is hope and help out there if needed. The hardest part is stepping out, but after taking that first step, life will be regained in your hands. The intent of this blog post is not to be a substitute for treatment but rather to give people some basic background information and share a small part of my story. At the end I have included local and national resources.
There are three major types of Eating Disorders.
- Anorexia Nervosa: obsessed phobia of weight gain, fat, changes in shape and size and certain difficult foods
- Bulimia Nervosa: obsessed with thoughts of food- compelled to overeat followed by a compulsion to try to negate consumption through vomiting or exercise
- Binge Eating Disorder: Bulimia without the “undoing behaviors”
I want to talk about “undoing behaviors” because this is a thought process that I personally experienced. Mine started out as an ongoing obsessive thought process that I needed to run three miles every day. By running I thought” my body will be in better shape from me eating that extra macaroni and cheese that has so many bad ingredients in it that will potentially hurt my body”. Thinking and feeling as though all foods were “bad” created a scary cycle and caused my weight to reach a dangerously point.
My thinking them got me down to 80 pounds and on my deathbed. Yes, this illness can be deadly. When your body is desperate for nutrition, your heart rate slows down and your platelet levels can drop. Even your brain is affected. Without enough fat in your body, your brain actually starts breaking down itself. This causes increasing memory loss and trouble concentrating. Your brain and heart works harder and harder, but without enough nutrition, all your body can give you is poor peripheral circulation, and a heart plagued with low voltage and dysfunction. My bone density went way down and my advance in puberty slowed down.
The Internal War
Even as my health was at risk, my brain was searching to fill a desire to be ”skinny,” weightless”, light”. My brain was at war with itself and struggled to understand that nurturing my body would help my life be lived longer. I’m telling you all this not because it is easy to share but because I want to help you see the intensity of this illness.
Think of it this way, if you or your child had cancer what would you do? You would do whatever you could do to save them- same thing with this eating disorder- it can be life-threatening and requires fighting for a better tomorrow. If you know someone who is going through this battle, they need you to fight for them just as strongly. Support from loved ones is a critical part of helping someone seek help and treatment. Feeling uncomfortable is something in this world we all have to deal with sometimes, so sitting in it, believe it or not, makes us stronger. If you know someone in need of support, be ready to fight with them, not against them.
To this end I want to clear up a common misconception. Anyone who meets the criteria for any eating disorder should be considered malnourished, regardless of weight state. When eating becomes dysregulated, your body suffers even though it may not be visible from the outside. Waiting until the internal battle becomes visible only slows down the healing process.
Support is Near
No matter what circumstances of the present are, future ones can be better with the choice of recovery. Below are a few resources to learn more about disordered eating, support options, and anonymous help. I want all who read this blog to know I LOVE YOU, you are my hero and no matter what society tells or shows you what comes first is the mentality and your inner self.
Eating Recovery Center
12 Maple Tree ct #101
Greenville, SC 29615
National Eating Disorder Awareness Hotline (NEDA)
Monday-Thursday: 9AM to 9PM ET
Friday: 9AM to 5PM ET
For crisis situations, text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Monday – Friday: 9 AM – 5 PM CT
Eating Recovery Center
This blog was developed, in part, under grant number SP019776 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The views, opinions, and content of this publication are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of ONDCP, SAMHSA, or HHS, and should not be construed as such.