Hi there! My name is Katherine. I’m a college student and writer in recovery from an eating disorder and a few other mental health issues. I started this blog to talk about the things I’m learning in treatment as well as my personal victories in recovery. I hope to encourage and inspire those who are already well into recovery as well as those who are just beginning to consider it for themselves.
I started to experience depressive symptoms when I was thirteen in 2010. I was being bullied in school and coped with self-harm. By the time I was fourteen, I wanted to lose weight. At first, I wasn’t doing anything unhealthy. After a few months, I stepped on the scale and saw that I had lost a substantial amount of weight. I wondered what would happen if I started trying harder. I began to severely restrict my intake and purge whatever I did eat. Meanwhile, my self-harm was getting out of control and anxiety was taking over my life. I tried medication after medication. Each one would help for a little while, but I’d have to try something new after a few months.
In winter of my sophomore year of high school in 2011, my parents decided that weekly outpatient therapy was not enough. I was admitted to a residential treatment center where I stayed for nine weeks. Because I was not interested in recovery and didn’t want it for myself, I didn’t get a lot out of my first time in treatment. Later that year, I spent a week in an adolescent psychiatric hospital. It was there that I was finally put on a medication that was effective.
During my junior year of high school, I made progress in some areas and backslid in others. Although I cultivated other interests like writing and art, in my mind I was primarily an anorexic, then anything and everything else. Most of my friends were seniors that year, and as they daydreamed about the freedom that college would bring, I began to think about what college would mean for me. I imagined that college would give me the freedom to lose as much weight as I wanted to without my parents around to force me to eat.
I graduated high school in 2014 and was accepted to Eckerd College. I suddenly realized what this independence would really mean: a chance for me to grow and explore the things that I love. I didn’t want college to be a time of misery and starvation. I enrolled in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that I stayed in for five months. IOP turned my life around. I separated my own identity from my eating disorder, lessened my self-harm, and became happier.
This happiness was short-lived when I actually arrived at Eckerd. I was only in school for three weeks before my eating disorder crept back into my life due drug use and trauma. I made the decision to take a leave from school and was admitted to another residential treatment program in September of 2014, where I stayed for five months. That was the an extremely effective round of treatment, and I consider myself blessed to have gone to Magnolia Creek at this time in my life. When I returned home, I decided to withdraw from Eckerd and enroll at Daytona State College, where I am currently pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.
While I was at Magnolia Creek, I began to experience psychotic symptoms. I heard the voice of a snake who called himself Henry talking to me. At first, he was very friendly and kind, but after a while, he started demanding that I do disgusting things, and when I refused, he became antagonistic. I was initially diagnosed with schizophrenia, but after collaborating with an excellent doctor at Magnolia Creek, and another doctor in the local psychiatric hospital, where I have been admitted many times in the past four years, my diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective disorder, a combination of psychotic and bipolar symptoms.
It is vital that I take a regimen of antipsychotics to stay on top of my psychosis symptoms. I have gone off my medication several times in the past few years, and it always ended in a trip to the psych hospital at best. I experience visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, as well as delusions and paranoia.
I came out of the closet as a lesbian in 2015, and had a few brief relationships with women. They were huge learning experiences for me; I learned about what I do and don’t want in a relationship, and how to be a good partner while staying true to myself.
After a particularly bad breakup, I got involved with a man I was not attracted to. He was twice my age and a “recovering” meth addict. I’ve had my own struggles with addiction, and I’ve been clean and sober from drugs and alcohol since February 16th, 2017. This man was in and out of recovery, but charming nonetheless. At first, I was just halfheartedly enjoying being intimate with him, but the physicality felt so wrong because he was a man, and I knew he wasn’t good for me. On December 15th 2016, he raped me in his parents’ living room. I haven’t seen him since then, except very briefly at a student publication meeting on campus, where I ran out of the room as soon as I saw him.
After the rape, my life was a disaster. I’d failed an entire semester’s worth of classes because of attendance issues because I constantly skipped class to hang out with this man. I was self-harming to the extreme, barely eating, and purging constantly. I was admitted to a treatment center in Louisiana that specialized in trauma-related disorders such as PTSD and dissociative identity disorder. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and spent that month processing the various traumas in my life, like my abusive boyfriend in high school, childhood sexual abuse, the sexual assault at Eckerd, and the rape in 2016. It was an incredibly healing round of treatment, and I met some of the most amazing women there, with whom I am still in touch.
Today, I am striving to make recovery an integral part of my daily life. There are good days and bad days, but as I prioritize self-care and self-love, life is getting brighter.