Possible trigger warning with mention of number and behaviors:
Despite my intensely reckless and very unhealthy behavior, I am still alive. At my lowest point, I weighed less than 80 pounds at a height of five feet four inches. I was having seizures and was in the beginning stages of complete organ failure. I was jaundiced. My pituitary gland wasn’t functioning properly. My hair was falling out, and my skin was scaly. I had edema and was constantly thirsty. I looked like a concentration camp victim, yet I felt fat all the time. I had lost touch with reality. I was anorexic.
Anorexia is – pardon the expression – a heavy topic. For more than one reason, it’s not the kind of thing to bring up at the dinner table. Then again, how many anorexics actually sit down to eat dinner? It’s a sad, painful, scary and destructive path that an anorexic takes-a path that the people around her often end up being forced to travel as well.
I became anorexic when I was 13. It happened in what seemed like an instant. I made a firm decision that I was going to lose weight, and there was no turning back. It wasn’t so terrible at first. I even got more popular as the pounds dropped away. Eventually though, things got weird – really weird. For nearly 20 years after that initial decision, I battled the disease. My attitude toward life took a serious turn, and I let anorexia and all its deception take its all-consuming course.
It wasn’t until much later, well after I had turned onto the road of recovery, that I realized what had been missing from that dark time in my life: humor. After that revelation, I decided to take a different look at this whole anorexia situation, and while I am in no way aiming to make light of the severity of anorexia and its consequences – according to The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, 20 percent of people suffering from anorexia die prematurely from complications related to the disease – I do want to point out that humor heals. For me, it was a big part of getting well. Laughing again after so many years of being silent was an outlet, a way to save myself from the despair of an illness that almost killed me.
I don’t mean to imply that this book is a comedy. I think George Carlin was probably one of the few brave enough to take on anorexia as a comedic topic. What I mean to say is that once I was able to smile again, I realized how dark my life had been while struggling with the illness. When I could fully laugh again, I knew I was on my way to recovery and out of the turmoil that had engulfed me for so long.
My name is Lize. This is the story of my life. This book is meant to give people an idea of what led to my anorexia, how I survived and how I began to heal. Unfortunately, there is no grand formula for getting well, no 12 steps or going cold turkey. However, I do believe there is a way out of the darkness. Each person must create his or her own path to recovery, but perhaps reading what I went through will offer some hope, inspiration and ideas to help others create a path to wellness. I tend to not do things half-assed, so taking anorexia to the extreme was almost predictable. As bad off as I was, however, I found a way. And if I recovered, there’s hope for many others.
* * *