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‘She’s a size 5 now.’ Those words were spoken with delicacy, and met with silence. They’d call me ‘the big one’ of our friend group.’: Woman beats anorexia after almost ‘wasting away, dying,’ now inspires others to recover, ‘I’m not alone’

“Thanksgiving break in my sophomore year of college, something specific happened. To this day I can remember the horrible pain I felt that night. I was using diet pills, purging, self-harming. I was a mess. I told myself, ‘This is what you deserve.’ I was given an ultimatum. ‘Move home and go to treatment, or you’re on your own.’ Frightened, I listened.”

‘Our beautiful, once vibrant Sarah is now a shell of a human.’ I was spiraling out of control. A monster was being born.’: Young woman overcomes eating disorder, ‘struggling is not a character flaw. You are worthy of help.’

“I was struggling in secret, terrified someone would find out. Bit-by-bit, I was disappearing. ‘You don’t need to use your body to show you’re hurting.’ School no longer mattered, and a monster was being born. Everyone walked on eggshells around me. Then all of a sudden, my parents learned what was happening. They were shocked.”

‘You better stop, or we’ll haul you off to the loony bin with the REAL crazy people.’ My father was in a drunken rage.’: Woman overcomes eating disorder from childhood trauma, ‘I’ve found strength to set that baggage down’

“Conditions at home reached a fever pitch. My father was laid off again, my grandmother moved in with her hoard, and I became sick. I tried my hardest to suppress that cough, barricaded with my little brother in my room, holding him back as the sounds of my father’s drunken rage filtered from the kitchen. My grandmother turned cold, hateful. ‘You’re old now. You aren’t cute and you have a bad attitude.’ The chaos was too much to bear. So I stopped eating.”

‘You need help.’ I got her from preschool, pulled over ‘to rest,’ and woke with officers knocking on my window.’: Mom-of-4 finally gets sober after being institutionalized over 20 times, learns she is ‘not alone’

“This started long before ‘wine mom culture’. Earlier that morning, I was running errands alone. I pulled into a grocery store without thinking. That’s all it took. Horrified, my husband said, ‘You’ve got to stop. Emily, you need help.’ He breathalyzed me daily while taking away all access to money. I was greeted by judgmental preschool moms. These were the same women who cooked dinners every week for my husband and kids while I was gone.”

‘If I’d arrived 15 minutes later, I’d have been dead. I woke in hospital after almost drinking myself to death on an empty stomach, in reaction to my relationship ending.’: Woman thrives after no longer allowing eating disorder to ‘take away my voice’

“The look on my parents’ faces when I asked them what had happened and why I was there, broke my heart. I never thought I’d be one of those anorexics or bulimics who ‘took it too far.’ I started seeing glimpses of what it was like to feel happy without feeling hollow.”

‘It’s a girl!’ My heart sank. On the way home from my gender reveal, I cried. Hard. I was hoping it was some mistake.’: Woman candidly shares reality of ‘gender disappointment’ after years of mother’s abuse

“‘Wow, she must be shallow to care about the gender of her unborn baby.’ ‘She should just be happy to have a healthy baby!’ ‘How selfish! Some women dream of getting pregnant and can’t!’ Gender disappointment is real. We are afraid to speak about it. We fear judgement.”

‘The guy who brought me to the party passed out. I should have left him, but I’m a loyal person. I fell asleep and was awoken by a man’s body on top of mine. I couldn’t move and yelled for help.’

“I remember telling my mom, ‘I would die if something happened to you.’ She always reassured me, ‘I’m not going anywhere Erica.’ I whole-heartedly believed she would live forever. Then she started complaining of severe headaches. Selfishly, I thought, ‘Well if God took my Grannie, he can’t take my mom too.'”

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