In February 2007, I went on a trip to Florida. It was not the best trip as my body was struggling from the eating disorder. I tried to enjoy the trip, but it was difficult to. I wanted it to be one last fun thing I would experience before ending my life when I went home.
I was alone the day I decided to end my life. I don’t recall the days before it or much during it. I had the two pill bottles in front of me and for some reason was sitting at the computer but don’t remember if I was talking with anyone. I had started taking some of the pills and then someone I had met online messaged me. We had talked for a bit before this point in time (I still don’t remember that though). I explained what was happening and that I was giving up. I did not expect that they would tell me they would help me get treatment, but they did. I thought they were saying it just to stop me from hurting myself. They had me phone 911. I can remember a firetruck, ambulance, and police showing up. Because of what I took, I was laughing uncontrollably. I was trying not to because I did not find any of it funny and thought they would not take me serious, but it was the type of medication that I took which was why that happened. I got to the hospital and was treated for the overdose. The person who had interrupted the overdose called the hospital to talk to me to make sure I was okay. He said again that he would help me, and he stayed true to his word.
It took a few months of researching places in the US and getting information together before deciding on a place to go. The date was set for June 11, 2007. I was supposed to spend three months there.
In 2005, my uncle had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He tried chemo and radiation, but they did not help. I had gotten really close to him over those few years and spent one final week with him before I left for treatment. It was really difficult to say goodbye, and I tried so hard not to cry when I hugged him for the last time and walked out the door. I saw him change over those last few years from a man who I did not really like because he teased me (and others) and wasn’t the type of person I liked to be around. He changed to someone who had softened. He also became a spiritual person. He tried to mend broken relationships and wanted to make sure that when he died people would be okay. It was from watching him and how humble he became and the quiet strength he had that gave me motivation to overcome the eating disorder or at least give it my all.
I spent two months in treatment before signing out against medical advice because I felt I was in a better place and couldn’t get any more help there. It was hard being away from my family and not being able to go to my uncle’s funeral. The day I heard he died, I was told via instant messaging from one of my nieces. I was dissociated for the whole day. The last thing he said to me was that he would see me soon.
I had planned on changing to a new treatment center near where I lived, but it didn’t end up happening. I had not been able to leave the building at treatment much over the two months I was there because they were short on staff. I was lucky to be able to even sit outside. It was a shit show with some of what happened there, and I found it very difficult. I wanted to leave every day, but I also knew I needed to stay. Some of the girls there were young and forced to be there by their parents, and it upset me only because I fought SO hard to get help and have support from family and didn’t really have it.
Even though I was in my 20s, I was treated like a child from day one. I was told when to go to sleep, when to wake up, when to eat, when to use the washroom, when to shower, what groups to go to, etc. It sucked. We had vitals checked between 4 and 6 a.m. including peeing in a cup to determine how much water you would be drinking that day and other things. For the first week and after meals, I had to count while using the bathroom with a staff member standing outside to make sure I was not exercising or making myself sick. Meals were supervised, and the food was horrible. My meal plan went up every few days, and it was difficult to finish everything I was supposed to. If I didn’t gain the weight needed for that day, I was on chair rest which meant not moving except to walk to groups/therapy, etc. I wasn’t even able to do my own laundry (and others weren’t allowed to do it for you). I outgrew a lot of my clothes and wasn’t able to go anywhere to get new ones.
I tried getting into a trauma program, but the process was slow, and I had just started talking to the trauma counselor I had there about hearing voices and feeling like there were other parts of me. I wasn’t able to get into the other program while there, and I got fed up and decided it was best to leave.
I left treatment at the weight they wanted me at and threw my meal plan out the second I left the building. I felt confident that I would do okay.
Going back home was scary, but I managed to not have a panic attack even though the second flight I was on got stuck on a tarmac for four hours due to a software malfunction. I was stuck between parents with twin babies who cried the whole time, and I nearly pushed people out of the way when they finally let us off the plane. We had to switch flights, but by that time I had nowhere to stay that night as it was really late. They put me in a hotel for a few hours and then gave me a first class ticket back home. It was AMAZING (and I had really yummy eggs benedict).
And so started a new life in recovery from the eating disorder.