A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Just being admitted to one treatment center is extraordinarily expensive. Now imagine the outrageous expense for an individual who has been admitted to not one, not two, but 30 TREATMENT CENTERS.  That’s what happened to Rebecca Koch, a vibrant 18 year old whose mind has been ravaged by severe anorexia nervosa since she was a young girl.  The cost of all her medical expenses have overwhelmed her and her family and have ultimately resulted in them falling into a sea of dept. Fortunately, YOU can do something about this and help this wonderful young woman and her family.  Rebecca set up a gofundme account in order to collect donations. If you would like to help her and her family out, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/fundsforbecca  .

Thank you and I know Rebecca GREATLY appreciates your support!

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A picture of Rebecca when she was out of the hospital

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A Social Life

Due to the depressing and rather pessimistic post I produced just a few days ago, I think you as my readers are entitled to read something  that at least contains a slight glimmer of hope.  So, I decided to write about a recent event that absolutely filled every part of my chunky, overweight body with joy. What was this spectacular occurrence, you ask? Well, it was the beginning of my social life.

As most of you are aware, my social life has been pretty nonexistent. Since freshman year, I have completely isolated myself from the asinine juveniles who roam the plain halls of my high school. Now though, things have changed. In November of 2013, I meant a girl in my gym class who had moved here from Pakistan just 3 short years ago.  As time passed on, we began spending more time with each other and even started texting.  On Saturday, we both decided to hang out and at 9am I came to her house so we could catch the city bus to our city’s quaint downtown.   We spent a whole 3 hours down there taking a plethora of selfies, window shopping at cute boutiques, drinking delicious tea at a cafe filled with college students, and ended the day with grabbing some grub at a local Subway restaurant.   It was honestly the best day I had in my life.  During the short time we were together, my smiles and laughs were completely genuine.  For years, I faked these two signs of happiness and enjoyment and it felt wonderful to actually be able to smile and mean it for once.

This wonderful event has taught me the important role that friendship plays in regards to one’s mental health. When you have no confidant, your emotions go haywire. You begin to drown in a turbulent sea of depression.  Your heart begins to break as you come to the realization that no one cares about you enough to spend even a second with you.   But once you find a true friend, they save you from drowning and help mend your broken heart.  It is amazing what friendship can do.

Having a little bit too much fun with those selfies . . .  :)
Having a little bit too much fun with those selfies . . . 🙂

Fat, Fat, and More Fat

I wish I could tell you all things have been absolutely marvelous. Every day I have been waking up with a smile stretching from ear to ear. I sit and consume any food I want, even in public situations. Oh and my outfits are now comprised of form-fitting, fashionable attire – not baggy black sweatpants and a-size-too-big t-shirts.

But of course things aren’t working out that way for me, Actually if you want me to be truly genuine and authentic, I have been heading south – especially when I talk about my body image.

For a while things were ok with body. Sure, I was gaining weight and I hated it with every ounce of my being, but I was dealing with the horrors of being unable to fit in child-sized clothing relatively well.  Then I went to Dr, K’s yesterday (he is my psychiatrist) and he had me step on that damn electric scale of his.  I saw I had gained weight and I was now officially at the highest weight I have EVER been in my short life.  As I sat in Dr. K’s office while he asked me questions about my current feelings about life, I completely hid how mortified I was of my disgusting weight. I just sat there with a fake (but sincere-looking) smile as I lied to him about how great my life has now become. He obviously bought my little fabrications and within 20 minutes, I was heading home.

When I got to my house and took a good hard look at myself in the mirror. I pinched every square inch of my body trying to calculate how fat I really was. Right then and there, as I cried while body checking,  I made the decision that things had to change. I could NOT let myself gain any more weight. Even a single ounce of weight-gain would be absolutely forbidden.   Right now though, losing some pounds isn’t my main mission. Really all I want to do at this moment is to end the unceasing growth of this massive piece of flab I am sad to call my body.   But I know my main goal of weight maintenance could easily morph into something much more sinister – uncontrollable weight loss.

I fully realize how easy it is to step right back into being a full-blown anorexic. To be fully honest though, I really don’t care. All I care about is being thin because to me, thinness is the epitome of success, popularity, and beauty.

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The Consequences of the Deadliest Mental Illness: Hormones

The hormonal consequences of anorexia nervosa not only effect the body’s physical state drastically, they also greatly effect a female’s emotional health. I can personally vouch for this because I live with the hormonal repercussions of my ED every single day. I am already 16 years old and I still haven’t had my period – the key that unlocks the door to womanhood.  Sometimes I try to reassure myself saying that my lack of a menstrual cycle is just due to the fact I am a late bloomer, but then I see my little 12 year old sister, whose period came at the age of 12, and I am reminded that odds are my prepubescent physique and amenorrhea is the direct result of the years I spent restricting my intake, overexercising, and purging.

One of the most common hormonal issues with anorexics is a condition called hypothalamic amenorrhea, which is where “nature’s monthly gift” vanishes due to problems with the hypothalamus.  What’s the hypothalamus? It’s actually a part of the brain that can be found hanging out right below the thalamus and right above our wonderful brain stem.  Now the hypothalamus is super duper tiny, but despite it’s minuscule size, it has plays a huge role in various physiological processes. These include controlling things like body temperature, hunger, emotional responses, and most importantly – the release of 8 major hormones that the pituitary gland let’s out.  One of these hormones is known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone, but those big guys with the white lab coats just call in GnRH for short.  In hypothalamic amenorrhea, there is an incredible shortage in the amount of GnRH someone has in their body.  These low levels of this vital hormone result in low levels of gonadotropin. So what happens when your gonadotropin is pretty much nonexistent? Well, you get problems like anovulation (lack of ovulation) and hypoestrogenemia (where your body does have enough estrogen).  Ultimately, this results in infertility.

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Infertility is honestly my worst fear. The idea of being completely unable to have my own children is absolutely devastating and I know that many other women feel the same way.  But I cannot let this horrific fact get to me because I know if it does, I will just enter a state of depression and emotional turmoil. I think we all know what happens when an Ed-victim is struggling emotionally – yep, they subconsciously begin to readopt their disorder eating behaviors in order to cope. Instead think of infertility as a motivation to recover because you never know, maybe once you reach a healthy weight, your body’s reproductive system may get back into shape and allow you to start the family you always dreamed of.

Eating Disorder & “Mystery Diagnosis” Update Video

Hey Everyone,
It has literally been like forever since I have taken the time to sit down, assess my feelings, and make a video. It’s time for me to get back into the habit of making these videos. Not only do I hope they open the door to the secret word of eating disorders, I also think they assist me in understanding my thought process and allows me to really think through my emotions.

Research Round: The Secrets of Oxytocin

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Treating anorexia nervosa is definitely no easy task.  Patients tend to completely distrust the medical professionals who are trying to treat them and will do everything in their power to sabotage their recovery. They refuse to eat their calorie-laden, fatty meals comprised of revolting hospital food. They dump their bags of feeding tube formula down toilet or drain. Hell, they even exercise in secret – something that is completely forbidden while admitted in an ED treatment center or hospital.   Once they are freed from the confines of the depressing medical facility they were at (either because their insurance ran out or they meant their “goal weight”), many patients almost immediately fall back on their dangerous, life-threatening habits of drastic caloric restriction, extreme overexercise, laxative abuse, and last but certainly not least – purging.

Now though, things are looking a little brighter when it comes to treating anorexics and ensuring a long-lasting recovery from their life-threatening disease.  What is this beacon of light in the dark world of eating disorders? It is a little something called oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that is released during childbirth, sexual intercourse, and breastfeeding.  But this hormone isn’t  just about love and intimacy – actually studies have shown that oxytocin helps those with autism, social anxiety, and a variety of other psychiatric disorders.  Now after diligent research, anorexia nervosa can be added to the list of conditions oxytocin treats.

In a study published on March 13th, 2014 by the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology , a small group of anorexics and a small group of healthy individuals were given a nasal spray of oxytocin or a placebo. Each of the subjects were then asked to look at multiple images of high-calorie & lower calorie foods, fat and thin body figures, and weights on scales. Anorexics who were given the placebo payed much more attention to the images of food and of chubbier individuals. But, the anorexics that were given the oxytocin paid less attention to these images  – actually, their behaviors had improved so drastically, their results were similar to that of the healthy non-anorexic controls!

Another intriguing finding was discovered during a study conducted by Dr. Janet Treasure, a professor and the director of the eating disorder unit at London’s acclaimed King’s College.  Her and her colleagues found that those with anoerxia nervosa had variations in their oxytocin receptor genes.  These variations may result in a deficiency of the hormone , which has been linked to the severity of one’s anorexia.

With each passing year, I believe that we are coming closer and closer to finally finding a viable treatment option for those with anorexia nervosa. Currently, the options available to us now are pretty much a waste of our time and money.  Even treatment centers that boast remarkable success in restoring an ED – victim back to health have a myriad of people getting kidnapped once again by ED once again.  The prognosis for us anorexics is grim  – 20% of us will die and hardly any of us will ever reach a state of full recovery.   That is why we need to end our pity party, get out into our community,  and encourage people to donate to reliable organizations that will help fund research for  eating disorders. The discovery I just told you about above is a step in the right direction, but we all know that it certainly isn’t a cure. So everyone, GET UP AND START SPREADING THE WORD. ED NEEDS TO MEET HIS END FOR GOOD.