Personal Story: Sarah's Story

Since the age of seven I had been overweight. Traumatic events and family issues affected me greatly and led to an emotional attachment to food. I gained weight and, at the age of 23, was medically obese. I decided on gastric bypass surgery. I attended classes and knew that I needed to heal my stomach by eating soft foods, initially, and continuing with healthy choices and small portions, but the urge to eat the foods I loved took over.

When I came home I ate some macaroni and cheese and got sick from it and threw up. It wasn’t hard for me to get sick and I got satisfaction from eating the foods I loved and not digesting the calories. I lost weight very quickly because I purged every meal. That led to bingeing and purging, sometimes three times a day. Within a year I lost so much weight my health was in jeopardy. I was spending up to $90 per day on eating. Everyone I saw told me how great I looked and, in my mind, this was a perfect way to stay thin.

When my father passed away, my disease took control of my life. I met my husband in 2005. He is amazing and I have been with him ever since. In 2006 my daughter was born. When I got pregnant, I went through hypnosis in order to help me give her the nutrition she needed. And, although I still binged, it was much less, and I did keep some things down such as yogurt and nutrition shakes. I also took vitamins. My son was born sixteen months later and once again I managed a normal pregnancy.

After having my children, my bingeing and purging started up again full force. Financial worries added to the normal stresses of family life and my behaviors worsened. I would binge and purge after getting home from work. I always ate in mybedroom because I was ashamed and wanted to be alone. My daughter wanted me to eat with the family, but I just couldn’t. And I could see the pain in my husband’s eyes whenever I walked upstairs to begin my bingeing.

My lab work showed my electrolytes and potassium were low and my blood pressure was always low. I was even hospitalized for having dangerously low potassium levels. After a hospital stay for pneumonia, the physician said that I was in poor health and that if I continued the bulimia, I would die very soon.

I remember a specific moment, 5 or 6 years ago, when I was in a restaurant with my husband. I guess a woman knew I was throwing up and I assume she saw me go back and forth to the bathroom. When I got out of the restroom she grabbed my hand and said, "My daughter passed away last year from doing what you are doing, please take care of yourself and I pray for you." I was shocked and speechless, but seeing the pain in her eyes really impacted me.

I finally realized how serious my condition was and that I could die. The only thing stopping me from entering a facility was the cost of the program. That’s when I applied to Moonshadow’s Spirit for assistance and received financial support and entered the Rain Rock residential treatment center for eating disorders.

I am back home now and am doing very well. I feel so much stronger and my mind is much clearer. The stress of daily life can be challenging. In the past I would have used my eating disorder to feel better. I have to remind myself of the horrible state I was in. It is not worth it at all and my new release is playing with my children and meditation.