I had just clocked out of work, and I was starving. My stomach rumbled like a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocking California. Naturally, I drove through the Taco Bell drive through and spent more than $20 on food all for myself. It was about 8:30 pm, and I sat in the parking lot of Taco Bell, shoving food down my throat as fast as I could. I ate like I had never seen food before. I knew I wasn’t even hungry, but I also knew what I was about to do next. Little did I know this was going to change my life forever.
After consuming an atrocious amount of food, I stopped at the store to pick up my medications. As I stood and waited in the long line at the pharmacy, I began to feel incredibly anxious. I could not wait to get this food out of my system. While people stood around me conversing and laughing, I had only one thought on my mind: food. Food was the only thing I could concentrate on, and I could not wait to shove my fingers down my slimy throat and get rid of what I despise the most.
After what seemed like three hours of waiting, I finally received my prescriptions. Sequentially, I rushed straight to the bathroom. When I arrived, I went to the biggest stall. I sat on the solid, white, colorless floor and looked at the toilet. I thought to myself, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this,’ but I knew I was going to do it anyway. I had been battling anorexia and bulimia for about three years at this point, and throwing up two or three times a day was normal. It was just a routine now. I brushed my fingers through my oaky brown hair and a big clump fell onto the floor. I put my scraggly thin, noticeably unhealthy hair into a bun and crouched down on my knees in front of the toilet. I glanced down at my fingers and noticed my cracked knuckles and yellow fingernails. I didn’t like what I saw, but the show had to go on. I was a pro at this by now. I had perfect aim, and I was quiet. But this time was different.
About two or three minutes into vomiting, I noticed my heart was beating incredibly fast. When I looked down at my Fitbit, I noticed my heart rate was at 120. With only little concern, I knew I had to finish getting the food out of me. There really was no other option. I couldn’t let this food sit inside of me any longer. I continued to vomit, and then suddenly everything went jet black.
When I finally woke up, I saw three store employees standing around me with a bottle of water. I didn’t know what was going on. They sat me up against the wall and asked me if I were okay. One of the employees noticed the insane amount of vomit in the toilet next to me and looked at me saying with a concerned voice, “Honey, you need help.” I remained camped out on the cold bathroom floor covered in fresh, rotten vomit and called my mom to come get me. I had told her I blacked out and that I could not drive myself home. She was respectfully angry, but she came to pick me up.
I thought we were going home, but she kept driving in the wrong direction. “Where are we going?” I continuously asked. She stared at the road like a horse with blinders on trying to avoid my frantic questions. I then put two and two together and figured out she was taking me to the hospital. She took me to the ER, and I explained the story of what happened to the nurse. As I lay on the bed, one of the nurses handed me a checkered black, woolly, heated blanket. The nurse hooked me up to an IV that put fluids back in my system because, ultimately, I blacked out due to dehydration. I didn’t know how long I would be in the hospital, but I knew it would be a while. “I don’t want to be here,” I continuously told the nurse. “I don’t belong here.” She gave me a sympathetic nod and whispered to me, “You’ll thank me one day.”
I missed school the next three days while I stayed at the hospital. I was worried about what people at school might say when they found out where I had been. I felt so alone and wanted to isolate myself from the world. I felt like an ant being smashed by a giant’s foot—dead and unnoticed. The foods and liquids I consumed were monitored and written down by the nurse. A nurse sat in my room with me to talk to me or play cards an hour after every time I ate, so I would not go throw up. I was given meal plans and advice from nurses and doctors while I was there. They just wanted me to get better. It felt like I had been lying on the cement pad they called a bed for a million years. I was put on heavy medication and sent home.
After I returned home, everything was different. I was afraid to throw up again. I didn’t want to pass out again and scare my family the way I had already done. As crazy as it sounds, I am very thankful for the store employees for finding me passed out the bathroom floor. Without them, I could’ve died in there. I work hard every day to defeat my eating disorders. Some days are harder than others, but I just know I have to be strong.