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September 25, 2002 8:24 PM Bad Day. Very bad day. I feel more depressed than ever. It’s like every step I take and everything I do is just a struggle to not break down & cry. That’s the only thing I feel like doing anymore. It’s really scary because I’ve gotten to the point where I just hate life and every day is a struggle to get through. I’ll always just be the ugly girl with no friends. I’m being forced to gain weight and I don’t want to anymore. What’s the use? My weight is fine where it is now. I feel fine physically. Mentally? I’m deteriorating. I just want to have friends. I want to be pretty. I want to be happy. I want to be how I used to be.

November 28, 2002, Thanksgiving 12:51 PM Oh my god. I just passed out two times. When I was getting out of the shower, I just passed out on the bathroom floor. My head kills. Then I managed to get up, walk to my room, close the door, and collapse and pass out on my bed again.

December 3, 2002 9:07 PM Yesterday was so horrible. After my Mom weighed me on Sunday, my extreme depression from my gross weight gain carried over to yesterday and today. I cried all day yesterday, and at one point I was really going to hurt myself. I still am. I don't understand why I’m alive if I’m going through so much pain. December 23, 2002 9:47 PM So tomorrow is Christmas eve. Did very good with keeping my weight down the past week, so hopefully the rest of the holiday vacation won’t be too bad. I’m at my all time low weight- 73! I’m actually sort of aching and having trouble breathing, my chest hurts. The past couple of nights I’ve been scared, so here this is just in case: I love you all so much. Mom, Dad, Brit, and Sasha. You’ve done nothing but make me happy. I love you.

“My journal entries showcased a deep rooted hate for myself and a troubled, confused girl who was becoming more and more locked in her own mental prison.”

In these 2002 journal entries, I was 14 years old. I was never even slightly overweight. My first vivid memory of my self-hatred and raging anorexia is from 6th grade. Of course, I didn’t know what it was at the time. My friend, Jena, would let me borrow quarters some days so I could buy a breadstick at lunch. One day, I asked Jena , “Please don’t give me any more quarters.” Those breadsticks would become the first food I feared, and the first food that I eliminated from my diet.

Over the next two years, my life spiraled completely out of control. I was journaling daily, and every single journal entry showcasing the same deep-rooted hate for myself; they showed a troubled, confused girl who was retreating further into her own mental prison. There is no way to describe how much pain I was in, both physically and mentally, but these entries in seven leather bound books act as a time machine back to that life.

My eating disorder was my entire world. I started out wanting to lose 5 pounds, until I wanted to lose 10 pounds, then 30—and actually doing it. It was never enough. I lied, I hid and threw away food that I was supposed to eat, I stole diet pills, I did things I couldn’t imagine in order to satisfy these awful, controlling thoughts in my head. I was rushed to the emergency room soon after that last entry with a broken nose from passing out and the beginnings of organ failure as well as osteoporosis. I spent a long, miserable month there and the following months in an intense day program. The ideal ending to this story would be that I got help and lived happily ever after.

The truth is, recovery wasn’t that simple and my medical complications didn’t scare me. Recovery took over 10 years of attending multiple treatment centers, 10 years of obsessing over food, and 10 years of fighting with insurance companies and spending a ton of money. During my high school years, I brought a food scale everywhere I went, afraid to eat without measuring my food. I lost almost all of my friends and was labeled as “sick” and “crazy.” My college years consisted of starving myself for days just so I could go to the bar with enough calories left for alcohol. I worked out at the gym 2 or 3 times a day, living off of diet Coke and junk food, and hiding from my roommates so I would be able to purge without them knowing.

I didn’t grow up in a broken home. I didn’t grow up without friends. I didn’t grow up overweight. No one made fun of me. I had a normal, happy childhood. However, I’ve lost both a brother and grandfather to suicide. Alcoholism and depression run in my family. I’ve learned that my genetics, environment, and personal traits came together to make a lethal combination.

I didn’t recover overnight, but I did recover. I will never weigh myself again and I will never look at the nutritional facts on food again. This doesn’t mean that I’m still ill; it means that I finally love myself too much to put myself in that position.

I am Jamie. I am 27 years old. I am intelligent, adventurous, and sarcastic. I am quiet and introverted, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get to know me. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a fiancée. I am fully recovered and there isn’t a day that goes by when I am not thankful for this new life.