During my freshman year of college, I developed anorexia due to the enormous change I was going through. Not having the comforts of school and my friends that I had known all my life, I felt extremely lost and alone. This and the fear I kept hearing about (the Freshman 15) lead me to try and control my food intake. Since I felt like I had lost my identity in this new frightening place full of strangers, I felt like my outward appearance was the only thing I had to make people like me. So I obsessed over it and got to a very frightening weight before my dad stepped in and tried to get me help. Unfortunately, I did not know how to come back from such a low food intake, and I had forgotten how to "eat normally". So I started binging on food to fill the new void that learning I had an eating disorder gave me. Binging until I was so uncomfortable to even move started to become unbearable so I started throwing up my food. The extreme binge/purge cycle continued for 3 years and even caused to me to drop out of college and become pretty much a recluse. I think I went a whole year without going anywhere in public due to the shame and disgust I felt for myself.
I tried to stop it every single day and saw a therapist. Every day I thought I was going to stop throwing up, but every day I failed. In 2006 I thought I had gotten it to a manageable level, where I was able to function somewhat normally in public, but still binge/purge behind closed doors. I enrolled in college again and had a mostly successful semester, until the very end in May when I felt "kinda funny" on my way to my history final. It was the kind of funny that you know is something wrong, not pain, no other symptoms other than that sort of nauseated weakness that just tells you you need to stop what you're doing and lay down. So I told my professor I had to go home, I drove home and went upstairs to lay down. I felt the need to use the bathroom and was kind of alarmed to notice coffee ground-like stuff in the toilet (sorry if TMI!). I felt too out of it to care that much, and I just wanted to get to bed. On my way to my bedroom, I passed out. I don't know how long I was down, but when I woke I had a bump on the head and my cat was sniffing at my face.
Alarmed since I had never passed out before, I called my uncle and he took me to the ER. The doctor informed me that I had blood in my stomach and they had to find out what was bleeding inside me right away. So they shoved a tube down my nose into my stomach (OUCH!!! MY GOD) and started to suck the blood out that way. I was put to sleep so they could put a tiny camera down my throat and look around. They found a small tear in my esophagus, which was the source of the blood...due of course to the constant violent purging I put my body through. There was little they could do except just let it heal on its own, which they told me the body will do, so the tube was removed from my nose and I had to have a blood transfusion. Scary stuff. The second night in the hospital, I felt really "funny" again and called for the nurse. Turns out I was bleeding internally again, but this time the severity was so much that my blood pressure was dangerously low and I was pretty much flat lining. I actually remember hearing them call my dad to tell him that he should come see me, like they do when someone is about to die, and all I could think was "This is what is going to kill me. I am going to die at 22 from something I did to MYSELF."
So as all the nurses and doctor were gathered around me, frantic, doing stuff I was totally unaware of, I had to throw up again. This time I threw up what seemed like gallons of blood. Irony...throwing up all of that blood, which was poisoning me, probably saved my life. After that, I don't remember much. I think I blacked out or fell asleep because I was blissfully unaware of anything for at least 24 hours. Sleeping like a baby in the hospital is pretty much the best thing you can do. When I was conscious again I found out I was having another blood transfusion. After another few days of being stable in the hospital, I was discharged, forever changed.
I never threw up my food again. I am very proud of that. Because even a near death experience cannot cure an addiction. The urge came back again and again, but I wouldn't allow it. I still binged almost everyday, but I forced myself to just LIVE with it. No purging. I had to just be uncomfortably full. That went on for a while until I started to learn how to eat again. Little did I know the entire time I had my binging/purging to rely on, that it was my way of relieving stress. Without it, I had NO idea how to handle all the stress that had been building up, that I didn't even know about. That was when I had my first panic attack.
Every little feeling in my body made me relive it all over again. I was "bleeding internally" all the time. I was put on Wellbutrin, which actually did work for me. I went through Valium and Ativan before settling on Klonopin for my anxiety. It helped curb the panic attacks. I thought benzos were a godsend pretty much. I could function in society again! So...here I am, 7 years later, and my anxiety is worse than ever. I had some major life changes last year, like breaking up with my long time boyfriend of 7 years, and moving out of my house. I also lost my job...LOL. I have been trying to taper off the Klonopin for the past few months, with the encouragement of my current boyfriend. Probably pretty bad timing, but I don't want to be a slave to benzos for the rest of my life.
But my body has not been cooperating with my best intentions. I have all kinds of physical symptoms, most of which I think are related to MS. And I have been reading this site for a few weeks every time I get a new symptom. What caused me to register today is an involuntary thumb movement I woke up to this morning. So here I am. Glad to be here.