February is Mental Health Awareness Month – My Journey with EDNOS – warning! may trigger

eating disorder awareness ribbon

For those you who don’t know… EDNOS is “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” and that was my diagnosis 2011. According to Wiki – Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) is an eating disorder that does not meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. I wasn’t only restricting calories, I was also purging a good portion of the calories I did put in my body and “over” exercising. I was completely out of touch with my body and those behaviours were used to soothe myself. I know, it’s hard to understand but it worked… short term. Add to that some body dysmorphia. Being inside my body was not fun.

My eating disorder didn’t jump out and bite me on the butt (no pun intended). It was creepy and stealthy and took it’s time in making it’s presence known. A meal skipped here, a day where the only calories I took in were candy and chips. I know, doesn’t sound like an eating disorder to most people. At the start of 2011 Dragon Boat Season I decided I could definitely paddle with two teams. One team practicing twice a week clearly wasn’t enough. I could do more. Another flag  (over exercising) but hey, how can more exercise and being healthy and eating healthy and being more social, be a bad thing. I loved my teams and I loved my sport and we were doing pretty well. Who doesn’t love winning! But then something started to happen. My muscles were struggling to recover and I had to admit to myself that the problem wasn’t necessarily the amount I was competing but the amount of fuel I was putting in. This was a turning point for me. I needed to feel strong and I didn’t.

Let’s try a little background. This thing starts slowly. I think it goes back to my car accident but I’m not all that interested in blame. Suffice it to say, I’d been to a few support groups at Sheena’s Place in the time leading up to Summer of 2011. I’d done some individual therapy specific to the eating disorder with specialist Kyla Fox. I knew “things” were getting worse. During that summer I agreed with Kyla that I would apply to get into the Eating Disorders Day Program at Toronto General Hospital but not until my season was over because one of the stipulations for this particular program was zero exercise at the onset. I wasn’t ready to abandon my teams. I figured I could keep things in check for a few months.

I’d eat a little less on race days because it gave me a “nervous” stomach. Then I’d skip the meal after practice because I was just too tired and needed a nap. Along the way I started to think more and more about intake vs. activity and somewhere in this process the bulimic behaviour reared it’s ugly little head. This is the piece of my eating disorder that I was the most ashamed of. Strange because somehow starving myself seemed natural and people told me I looked amazing but I wasn’t getting better. I had messed with my metabolism and started to gain weight even though I wasn’t eating the proper amount of food.

In the next related post I will go into a few details (nobody’s anonymity will be breached) about the program and where I am now. I will say… I believe they saved my life


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