Escaping Control: Jen's Recovery Story
This two-part article was written exclusively for EatingDisordersOnline.com by Jenmac18, a member of SupportGroups.com. In this article, Jen discusses how her eating disorder began due to the pressures her father put on her and what has finally helped her overcome anorexia.
My name is Jen, I am currently 36 years old, have been married for 13 years, and have a 7-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. I had always been a very shy girl, but I had a great childhood. I was the oldest sister in the family. For some reason my sister never struggled with an eating disorder, depression, OCD or social anxiety like I did and still do.
Fighting Against the Current
My mom was a stay-at-home mom and pretty much did everything for me. According to my mom, my father was a bit controlling when it came to family. When I graduated high school my father made me go to college. To him it was extremely important that I get a degree, but I didn't really want to go. There were only a few schools that had the degree I wanted to pursue. I roomed with my best friend from high school, but she soon decided college wasn't for her and left.
I believe that this is when my anorexia and bulimia started. I was stuck at school not knowing anyone and I really wanted to return home. I was homesick, but my father wanted me to stick it out. Meeting new people was very hard for me because of my social anxiety. Most of the time I would be in my room doing homework or studying.
Too Happy for Anorexia
I believe my anorexia/bulimia stemmed from stuffing my feelings inside and not knowing how to express them. During my senior year of college, I saw a therapist on campus who was of tremendous help to me. That same year, I had gotten engaged. After I graduated college my health improved. I think I became better because I was back home planning a wedding, and I had a job that I really enjoyed. I was really happy and too busy for the eating disordered thoughts to affect me.
After two and a half years of marriage, I had my first child. I stayed home to raise him. I believe that I had postpartum depression, but I was never officially diagnosed. I also started to have extreme OCD and everything had to be like clock work; if not, I felt totally out of control. This is when my eating disorder started to creep back in.
Fighting Once Again
Three years later I was pregnant with my second child, and I started having major panic attacks and full-fledged bulimia. Nineteen months after my daughter was born I went into an inpatient treatment center. I was there for three weeks and gained 15 pounds. I came home feeling awesome, but the feeling didn't last.
In Part II of this article series, Jen discusses how she struggled to find the right therapist, and how with the help of a caring oncologist she took her first steps towards recovery.