“How has your eating disorder affected your relationships, friends and family?”

This is a hard question for me to answer in regards to how sad it makes me. My eating disorder destroyed my relationships, friendships and family. The good news is that with recovery I have been able to rebuild solid friendships, relationships and life with my family. I lost a lot of friends because of my eating disorder. This was a combination of people avoiding me because they were scared of me along with the combination of my avoiding people. My eating disorder was my number one priority and I didn’t want anyone threatening my habits and schedule. I broke up with many guys, some who still mean the world to me because of my eating disorder and behaviors.

When it comes to my family it broke their hearts. They bent over backwards trying to find help for me with professionals and trying to help me themselves. An eating disorder unfortunately often affects the family system directly and often times family members play a role in the eating disorder, although unintentionally. My family and I have been through just about everything together and they have witnessed, heard and experienced situations I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. My family, like most, is dysfunctional to a certain degree, but we all love each other so fiercely and we have all shown perseverance in the face of impossibility and I believe that is why I have gotten through much of what I have.

My eating disorder also affected a lot of areas of my life personally. I grew up a very talented tennis player and horseback rider and was nationally ranked in both. I even had a full time scholarship to one of the best tennis academies in the United States. My eating disorder destroyed my ability to play tennis and ride to my fullest potential. I had dreams of turning professional in tennis or at least playing for a division-1 college tennis team. All those dreams and goals were dashed. My horse and best friend was sold as a result of my becoming to weak and sick to ride her anymore. I also was asked to leave UC Davis due to the severity of my eating disorder. I never went to prom, parties or participated in what most “normal” teenage kids do. My childhood and years of growth were basically robbed by my eating disorder.

Another big consequence of my eating disorder worth mentioning is the loss of trust. Eating disorders turn wonderful individuals into masterful liars and manipulators. It took a long time for my family and friends to regain confidence in me. It was only after I backed up my words with actions that I proved I could be trustworthy again.