My recovery story

My+recovery+story

Sierra Casciano

[media-credit id=2182 align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]Narrative by Sierra Casciano 

The transition from middle school to high school hit me really hard as a kid. In 2012, I began purging about 90 percent of my meals. The pressure of trying to fit in and maintaining good grades really took its toll on me. It got to the point that my bulimia was soon diagnosed as acute anorexia. I never thought that I would be the kid to have an eating disorder. But then again, who ever does? My eating disorder came as a shock to everyone in my family, especially my mom.

My bulimia knew no boundaries. Even at school, I would take the time to excuse myself from lunch to go purge. Purging was something that held me hostage for a long time. I can still feel the burning sensation in my throat from when I was done. The crackling of the gum package as I popped a piece in my mouth to return to the cafeteria chatter.

I became really good at hiding things from people, so good that it lasted four years before anyone truly noticed anything. The day my mom got the news that her mini-me had an eating disorder is burned into the back of my brain. It was in the middle of track practice when I had fainted from being exhausted. My body lacked all nutrients I desperately needed to keep me going. I was running the last lap of my workout, when my body had enough. I collapsed on the ground, and within seconds I could hear my teammates crying for help.

When I came to conciousness, my coach and my mom were right by my side. My mother was sitting there, looking as if she just found out someone had died. However, in a sense someone did. The care-free daughter she once had was no longer me. This disease killed who I was as a person, and replaced me with someone I could no longer recognize. The doctor had come back in to tell me “Sierra, we’re aware of your situation. You’re bulimic, and it’s gotten so severe; you’re being diagnosed with acute bulimia.” I can’t remember the doctor actually talking to me, because the second she came in I refused to hear any of it. Everything around me became background noise. In one ear and out the other.

From there on out, I was under constant watch. The nurse at school was made aware of the situation, everyone knew. Nothing was ever the same after that. Walking the halls made me feel more like an outsider than ever before. All eyes were on me, even if they weren’t meant to be. I started getting better, but after awhile something in me clicked back again. My thought process was that if they think I’m getting better, they’ll never suspect a relapse.

My first relapse was the hardest of them all. Not only did I go back to craving the desire to control something in my life, it also brought bad habits. The lack of food soon led to being tired, all the time. The tiredness then led to depression, pulling me into the darkest parts of my life. I had become so angry with how I looked and how I felt that I turned to self-harm. It was my own way of punishing myself even more. Looking back on it now, I was punishing myself for already punishing myself. I was angry with how I looked because deep down I knew I looked awful. Not because I thought I was “fat” or not skinny enough, but I looked awful because you could see how drained my body was. However, I still refused to change.

Everyday became the same thing over and over again, week by week. Wake up, push food around, go to school, push food around, come home, sleep. Every Wednesday I’d be in the doctor’s office at 3:30 p.m. on the dot, saying, ‘Yeah, no I feel good doc. I can really feel myself getting back to normal.’

No one caught on yet that I was relapsing. You watch enough movies that you learn how to fake eat. Throw some conversation into the dinner while putting food on your fork, and they’ll never notice you didn’t take one single bite. This was how I got by.

[media-credit id=2182 align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]The summer of 2015 I was staying with my dad. I’m still not sure if he was ever let into the loop on what was happening with me or not. What I do know is the look on his face when he walked in on me self-harming in the bathroom. I had just gotten done purging. I was angry that barely anything came back up. The sound of my own crying must have muffled the sound of the house door closing as he got home early. I didn’t bother locking any doors, no one was supposed to be here. I was too busy being angry at myself to notice he walked in. My back to the door, huddled over the bathroom sink, I hear the breath being knocked out of my father. He was beyond shocked, no words could leave his mouth. He demanded therapy.

I had already been through therapy at this point, but the second he witnessed it first-hand, he wanted me to be put into an inpatient program. Someplace I couldn’t leave so I’d have no other option but to recover. It was a long battle trying to recover. The mental battle with myself was the hardest part. The feeling of being able to wake up and not be exhausted was amazing. However looking into the mirror and seeing myself begin to fill back out was something I could never handle. Everyone says never be afraid to speak up and ask for help, but the second we ask for help, we’re pulled from everything we’ve ever known and talked down upon. This was one of the main reasons I stayed silent for so long.

I’ve been physically healthy for about two years now, granted I still carry some leftover baggage from the disease though. Some days are still tough to be able to accept who I am, and there are still a lot of things I need to work on. I am beyond grateful for those who kept fighting for me and with me during that time in my life to get me where I am today. Eating disorders are never something anyone should go through, especially alone. The biggest lesson I took away from it was to never be afraid to speak up. It’s more than okay to ask for help and to admit you’re not okay. Recovery takes time. It’s never something that can happen over night, you have to work towards a goal in order to achieve it.