Welcome back to the series on eating disorders. A wonderful girl named Gabriela Nadeau approached me and asked me if she could share her story. She is a great advocate for those with mental illness, particularly girls with eating disorders. She is currently in the process of recovering from EDNOS, which means eating disorder not otherwise specified, an eating disorder that does not meet the criteria for: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating. She wants to create an outlet for girls like her and clear any misunderstandings about what they go through. If you are someone with an eating disorder and want to talk to Gabriela, you can contact her on Instagram at @gabrielanadeau. I love this week’s blog post because it is brutally honest. TBH, it made me really depressed. But I don’t want to sugarcoat things and I don’t want to always share stories with happy endings. I want to share accurate portrayals of mental illness. Check it out:
Every now and again I think about Megan. Megan, after a series of unfortunate events, came under the spell of Anorexia in the eighth grade. We weren’t close friends, but I had always liked her, so my best friend Michelle and I brought her gifts when she left school and tried to lift her spirits. At the time I didn’t really get her. She was so beautiful! Why would she try to starve herself to death? My other friend Alyssa and I did a project on eating disorders just so we could try and educate our fellow classmates. After all, no sane person would try to eat only 500 calories a day. That project ending being the basis for my own eating disorder years later.
Megan and I ended up going to the same high school and we became close friends. I looked out for her, and she kept me company. She was probably the sweetest person in the entire world, but it didn’t take a genius to see the cracks in her kind exterior. I should’ve seen that she was ripe for a relapse.
The next school year she noticed how much weight I had lost. She told me to be careful but I just waved her off. After all, I wasn’t her. I lost even more weight and she began to worry about me. I told her I was fine. I wasn’t.
She tried to warn my mom, my best friend’s mom, anyone. She even made me lunch and a meal plan. I got upset with her. I didn’t understand why she was projecting her problems onto me. I stopped talking to her, and sent her a nasty email that essentially eliminated our friendship. I blamed it on her obsession with her religion.
Junior year, she wasn’t there anymore. We even saw her mom the day before school started, and she seemed chipper. She said that Megan was excited for school to start.
Her seat in my first period class was empty. Her boyfriend was silent on Instagram and hers had been deleted. I tried texting her and her mom and asking her other friends. Nothing.
I don’t know what happened to Megan. I hope I’m not to blame. I’m worried she relapsed; she had it much worse than me. She had been cutting herself and had to be hospitalized at one point. Wherever she is, I want to apologize. I realize now, sitting in the doctor’s office, that she was just looking out for me. I should have learned from her experience. Instead of resisting help, I should have admitted my problems to her, because she could’ve helped me. Now, it’s too late.
I hope you liked the story from Gabriela! To leave off on a more positive note, there are many resources for people with eating disorders. We need more, of course, but there are some that already exist that are great. Here are a few that I’ve found. This is just a scratch on the surface.