love hate relations...with food

I don't know when I threw up for the first time. I used a toothbrush because I couldn't gag myself. I think I was maybe 11? My stomach was always upset. In the third grade the doctor said I had a "nervous stomach". At some in elementary school I had an upper GI and I think that was the point I was diagnosed with peptic ulcers. I don't remember exactly but from then on through high school I would leave class to sip milk and crackers in the nurses office all day. See drama.

I had been athletic and thin but puberty had hit hard and I really hated by body. My breasts were huge I was curvy and I was constantly getting unwanted attention. Grown men would flirt with me. I loved and hated the attention to be honest. I wanted them to like me but I hated myself for being pathetic and needy for it.

As I gained weight no one would let up on me. My weight was, is, a constant topic of debate and discussion among the women in my family.

I started out wanting to lose weight. I threw up only occasionally for many years. In 1985 my friend Cara was killed in a car accident. She was not my closest friend. It hit hard though. The mortality. She was beautiful popular, not all screwed up like me. I thought it should have been me. Why couldn't it have? I'd had suicidial thoughts before but I became quite focused on death and began to have thoughts of suicide frequently then. At first they were random and in no small part it was an attempt to get some attention. I was crying out for help.

After the rape I began to binge and purge. Eat a lot and then vomit. It gradually got worse. By summer I had a boyfriend. I was not keeping much food down. I had sunken into a cycle of eating little, then binging and throwing up.

My parents were fishing one weekend and I went to the stock car races with my aunt, uncle grnadma and cousins. I collapsed in the bleachers. At the hospital I was spitting up some blood and my stats were all over the place. I was tight lipped. My mom came to the hospital. My dad stayed behind to watch the poles. The County Police had notified them at the lake - no cell phones. I will never understand why he didn't come that night.

At the hospital another aunt, one my age and close to me told the family she thought I was throwing up my food. The doctor asked me, I said sometimes. He advised them to have me admitted but talked with her about outpatient options. My mom said she would take care of it.

I was discharged later into my grandmothers care, my boyfriend took me home and stayed with me. Mom went back to the lake and didn't come back until the end of the weekend.

Late that night, my grandmother was asleep. My boyfriend sat on the floor by my bed, he seemed so worried. It meant so much to me that he would be there with me, that he really cared. I woke up and told him how much it meant. He kissed me. Then he began to try to grope me under my covers. I was crushed. I said no and he was sorry immediately.

For me, I remember thinking that no one cared about me. Not really. There I was vulnerable, hurt, damaged and just when I thought someone might be different they turn out exactly the same. Was he sitting there while I slept having sex thoughts? Is that all men think about?

I broke up with him a few days later. He was furious with me and I swear that guy hates me to this day. He has no idea the mess he had on his hands or the grief he was probably spared getting out early!

Nothing was discussed about my hospital trip for the rest of the summer. I began dating another boy. One I'd known since elementary school and whom had dated two of my close friends. When I began to date him I quickly lost those friends and the ones we shared in common. He had taken the virginity of one and the mother was quite vocal about it.

My parents knew but objected little. They had a talk with him. He was different to me. He listened to me. He bought me things, told me I was beautiful. He protected me from everyone and the more I shared with him, the more he was protecting me from my parents too. He was a year ahead of me in school. He was responsible and confident, even cocky. Not like me scared all the time of everything. I was drawn to him and I wanted to feel safe.

Having him in my life helped me move past the thoughts of suicide then. But one day we returned home from a date and my parents had a bag packed for me. They had found my suicide journal. I had to laugh. That journal was the most obnoxious, glarng red flag I could muster. It wasliquid angst, an unabashed plea for intervention. But I'd ditched in some weeks before and I couldn't even remember when I'd written in it last.

It didn't have any facts. It was funeral plans, and dark poems. It was ideas about how I could do it, or where. What people might say. Last letters to people.

They carted me off the Jefferson Hospital where the reject kids went. I was not happy. I wanted the help but I didn't want some lame local counseling for dropout place. In all honesty it was probably fine but I knew what kinds of kids went there, and eventhough I WAS one of them, I didn't want to be.

I had my interviews and the counselor told my family I was a field of red flags. They thought I should do inpatient treatment...till they heard the price tag after insurance. They had to sign a waiver saying they understood they were being warned that I might hurt myself when we left. They said they'd get me some counseling. I explained to them the journal was old, it was after Cara's death and they were satisfied with that explanation. I think they were relieved.

The next year went off alright. Danny and I grew very close, and I became completely dependent upon him. He was my world. We talked about our future, marriage. He was joining the Marines. We would move away.

The following year in August he left for boot camp and I began one semester of my senior year of high school. I'd been on track to graduate early but ditching some summer school to spend time with Danny before he left, I had fallen short a half credit. I went the first semester and only need an English credit. There was no modular scheduling so I had to go a full day, though I didn't usually.

While in boot camp as often does for young people we decided to get married. The wedding was hastily planned for immediately following his graduation from Basic Training. We married on November 18th, 1988. I graduated midterm in January 1989 and left for Virginia Beach, VA.

I ran from Indiana like my tail was on fire. I never wanted to go back. It was initially going to be a visit for a couple weeks but once there I couldn't go back. I called my folks to tell them the winter rates were cheap weekly in this little hotel by the beach and I could afford to stay. Danny was in his technical training and only able to join me on weekends.

I lived on Corn Flakes and watched Mtv. I was terrified of being alone though. I would stay up all night waiting for someone to climb the balcony and axe murder me, then sleep all day.

I stayed for 3 months then I went home, packed up a U-Haul and my parents drove me back t ou first apartment. I turned 18 in Virginia, married. Several months later I had a miscarriage. I didn't know I was pregnant and hadn't really thought about getting pregnant. After learning of the loss I wanted a baby very much. I was pregnant before my 19th birthday. When I was 12 weeks or so along I threatened to miscarry the baby again.

After the threat had passed I told my OBGYN that I had been throwing up ocassionally to keep my weight in check. I was 5 months and not gaining. I started counseling, and the flood gates opened up. I wanted my baby s desperately. I wanted to be healthy and not be a whack job like everyone else I knew. But I had no idea how to get that way. No model, no book. It was a long road I began then with a counselor named Anne.

How sad it makes me to be sitting here some 18 years later still thinking about the same pains. It's a tragedy really.

I stopped throwing up then. I did not know vomiting would hurt the baby. Pregnant women vomit right? I was a genius then, did I mention that?

I gained weight, lots of it. It was so painful. I made them weigh me backwards.

A shift occured in me during my pregnancy. I no longer lived for me. I never really cared much about me, but this baby, the baby was special and I would live for him. He would be my whole life. He would save me, give me meaning, and purpose. He would change me.

He would be born having no clue that his mom was a disaster.

I pulled it off. He really did change my life. He made me hungry to give him all I never had and through my counseling I learned that the first gift I had to give him was a good mother. I would have to learn from scratch about being a decent person, a healthy, normal, mentally stable, regular person. I didn't know any.

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