Meet Recovery Rockstar, Gretchen

A DIFFERENT ADDICTION

I am a recovered addict at the age of 73.  No, I didn’t have alcohol or drug addictions, but I had one that was just as dangerous and it almost killed me.  I had anorexia before it was even a diagnosed disease. ( yes that long ago).  We, as a nation, are so inundated with media telling us what we should look like (remember the lollipop heads) and I fell for the image of Twiggy.  I ate no more than 300 calories a day.  Some days I didn’t eat at all or I would have beef or chicken broth for a meal.

Looking in the mirror each day, I thought I looked amazing as I slimmed down to 54 pounds. I thought those lovely shoulder, rib and spine bones looked amazing. But I couldn’t understand why it hurt to walk so much. Duh, I didn’t have enough meat on my feet to protect my bones. My hair started falling out.  Soon I was getting dizzy and was fainting, and I wondered what those irregular heart beats meant and I was afraid I would have a heart attack.  But, man, I looked so good when I looked in the mirror.

After the heart palpitations, I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong.  But before I went to see him, I put on several items of clothing so I would weigh more. (Again, this was before anorexia was a defined diagnosis). He told me I must be stressed and to try to take it a little more easy.  People kept asking me if I felt okay.  I even had two people ask my husband if I had cancer.  Finally, I quit having my monthly menstrual periods and thought I was pregnant again, so I went back to the doctor.  This time he had me dress in a hospital nightgown and weighed me.  Oh no, I weighed54 pounds.  The physician (much to my distress) put me in the hospital for what I considered to be force feeding. He said I was starving myself.

He weighed me again and I weighed 58 pounds.  Oh no, I am sooooo fat. 
It was not until one night when my husband and daughter begged me to take care of myself for they were afraid they were going to lose me.  I realized then what I was hurting people that I loved so very much that I realized what a fool I had been.  I felt both fear and pride when I weighed 100 pounds. Today,  many years later, anorexia and bulimia are a known addiction, and so many young women are suffering from those two horrible addictions. They are under tremendous peer pressure to look like the celebrities and models of today.  Chubbies are simply not allowed.  Thank God some of the celebrities today are saying it is okay to weigh more that what is considered the perfect 0 size.  Please if you are suffering from these diseases, read my story and know the dangers you are putting on yourself.  Please don’t take the risks I took with my body.  It simply isn’t worth it.  I almost died because of the pressure to be thin.  Do you really want to do this to yourself?