I welcome you to join me as I share my story of my own fight for beauty! I’ll be posting once a week a new chapter of my journey, from beginning to end. I’m going to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the embarrassing. My hope is to remove the veil and misconceptions that people have about eating disorders while offering hope to those struggling that there really is a way out.
With that said, here is Chapter 7 of my story. To read chapter 1, click here.
“45 days?!? You dragged me to this place to stay here for 45 days??” I yelled.
My parents and I sat in the office of Remuda Ranch where I was signing paperwork admitting myself into rehab. My parents had told me I only needed to stay for ten days.
“Sweetheart,” the sweet lady helping us meekly spoke, “we don’t have a ten-day program. Our minimum is 45 days.”
This is unfair. Immoral. Unjust. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that I was going to be stuck in a treatment center and cut off from the world for the next month and a half. I thought about my friends, how most of them didn’t know that I had left because I wanted to keep it hidden. I thought about my dreams of music and the singing competition I was scheduled to compete at that I would have to miss. I thought about how my stomach ached from all the bingeing and laxatives I took before coming. In the days leading up to treatment, I felt as if I had to use all my bulimic behaviors as much as I could before it would be taken away from me. Each binge and purge was seen as a last “hoorah.” I thought about how I got to this place. Rehab.
I numbly signed the papers and we walked into the main building where I would be spending the majority of my time for the next 45 days. As I walked inside, the room was warm and open. Wood panels lined the walls with photos of horses and the Arizona desert. Girls ranging from all different weights and backgrounds lined the tables and filled the rooms. The overly-skinny girls, the girls everyone secretly wanted to be, had feeding tubes coming out of their noses.
My parents tearfully said goodbye and they left.
I sat at an empty table while I waited for a nurse to come take me to begin running tests on me. I looked around at the girls that filled the room and couldn’t help but feel out of place. Many of them were frail and thin. They were adults, yet it was as if they retreated back into children as they sat around the tables with coloring books and activities in an attempt to help them escape from the torment of their own mind.
I wasn’t really sick. My bulimia had made me gain weight at this point. I wish I was as skinny as these other girls.
I quickly learned that despite the fact that we were all there because our lives had been taken over by the monster of an eating disorder, everyone’s body types and stories were different. Some developed anorexia after being sexually abused, others fell into binge eating when their husbands left them for younger woman, and some became bulimic after a friend mentioned that they seemed to have been gaining weight. The stories were all different.
The only thing we all had in common was our eyes. Everyone had a certain sadness in their eyes.
“Hi, I’m Samantha.”
My thoughts were quickly interrupted by two blonde girls who joined myself at the table.
“I’m Megan,” Megan quickly added.
“Hi.” I quietly responded. I couldn’t be bothered to socilize. I didn’t want to be here and I didn’t want anything to do with these girls.
“So, what are you?” Sam asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, what are you?”
I stared back in confusion.
Sam chuckled to herself as if she could see the confusion plastered on my face.
“What are you? Are you anorexic? Bulimic? A binge eater?”
“Oh…” I mumbled. “Um, I’m bulimic.” I paused as if waiting for a reply before adding, “I don’t want to be here.”
Both of the girls laughed.
“No one does, honey.” Megan confessed. “But let’s be real…you get great accessories to spice up your outfit” she joked as she pointed to her feeding tube.
I forced a laugh for her sake, but the reality of where I was suddenly laid heavy upon me.
Images of the last few years began flooding my mind. The first bottle of exlax I purchased, the diet pills, the feeling I had when I was singing on stage, the music I had yet to create, the nights I spent in my basement devoting mile after mile on the treadmill, the nights when I would wake up from nightmares of bingeing. It all came to a screeching halt in that moment as I sat surrounded by nurses and girls who knew the hell I had been living in for so long.
“Rihanna, I’m ready for you” a young nurse called as she entered the room. She was young and didn’t walk with the same confidence and ownership that the other nurses did. I came to find out that I was her first patient she had to do an intake evaluation on.
I was led into a back bedroom where they had a doctors station set up. The intake is all a blur now in my mind but I remember being cold and being asked detailed questions about my disorder, my food intake, exercise habits. They took my blood, tested my heart, and I kept laughing throughout the intake as the shock of where I was kept hitting me.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “But if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.”
I later was led into a room where I would sleep until a bed opened up for me. The nurses gave me an ambien to help me sleep. I laid in bed as my mind raced.
Where am I?
What am I doing here?
My mind began to drift off to sleep and I saw images of myself sliding down a long and twisted slide. It felt like a waterslide that I often went on as a child in the summer. Except everything around me was dark. I kept expecting it to be over soon and to find myself at the end smiling and laughing. But it never ended. I just kept sliding deeper…and deeper…
I just want it to end.
Stay tuned for the next chapter!
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