As I reluctantly looked in the mirror in my college bathroom, I would glance at the toilet and back to the mirror, then back to the toilet, and then back to the mirror, as I pulled my long blonde hair back into a ponytail. Hurry up! Stick your fingers in your mouth! You’re fat! You binged again… If you would just throw up and lose a pound or two you would be prettier, and you would feel better! These were the thoughts that often went through my mind when I faced the mirror. I was depressed, lonely, and was downright unhappy. The truth was I was binge eating my feelings.
When I ate in the cafeteria, I mainly only ate cheeseburgers and French fries, then would go back for plate after plate of French fries – – and would wash it all down with Dr. Pepper! Beyond that, I also stored snacks in my dorm room, such as chocolate pudding, pop tarts, ice cream, popcorn and cans of Ravioli. Consequently, the items from this menu only added more pounds and not only worsened my BDD, but also increased my desire to sometimes purge.
At that time, I remember trying on my favorite pair of jeans and could barely zip them up. I thought to myself either the washer or the dryer at my school has made my jeans shrink, or I have gained weight. Either way, I need new clothes. When I visited my grandparents the following weekend, my grandpa commented that I had put on a few pounds. That’s when I realized that the college’s washer or dryer were not to blame.
Later that day, my grandma offered to take me to Walmart to buy me some new jeans. Because I was a poor college student, I was thankful for this gift.
When we arrived at Walmart, and were looking at some jeans, a female sales associate approached us and asked if she could help.
My grandma then said to the sales associate, “When she was at Pensacola State College she didn’t gain weight, and now that she is at The University of West Florida she has put on weight and we don’t know what size to get her.” As I stood there listening to those words, I felt ashamed of my body. Looking back at this memory I realized that comments from my grandmother, friends and other family members attributed my eating disorder and BDD. As I stood there feeling hot from embarrassment, the female associate turned to a male co-worker who was standing nearby stocking shelves, “Just ignore this.” Then she eyed me up and turned to my grandma and said, “She does have a nice figure despite her gaining the freshmen 15. I would try the next size up from her current jeans.” I fought back tears as my BDD turned the freshmen 15 into the freshmen 100 in my mind.
After I tried on a few pairs, and as I stood l there not wanting to look at myself in the mirror because of my BDD, I knew in my heart that if I didn’t get a hold of this problem it would continue to spiral out of control.
Disclaimer: If you are having problems with either your physical or mental health please seek professional medical care.