National Eating Disorders Association

Stories of Hope

My Fighting Spirit
By Tori Shumway

My name is Tori and this is my story. I was always teeny tiny until I hit my teens. The summer I turned 16, I can vividly remember being upset about the size of my new shorts. It was that moment that I made vast changes in my diet and lifestyle. It started out innocently with running every other day and cutting my caloric intake. By the time summer was over and I was back to school, and no one recognized the new me. In addition, I got a nice summer tan and my hair turned white from the sun. I continued my diet, but at some point it became much more and I now know that I developed an eating disorder that Summer.

 

 

When I left home for college at Bowling Green, I was miserable and my eating disorder got worse. No one knew. Not my sister, not my best friend, and certainly not my parents. I had no roommate, making it much easier to engage in my behaviors. One night that fall, I woke up in the middle of the night to eat and I decided it was time for a change. I wrote up a contract with myself that I was no longer to engage in my behaviors. To my surprise it worked. For a while. And for many years, I was ok. However, that eating disorder lurked inside me all those years, and resurfaced when my first marriage was beginning to fail during the years we tried to conceive. When I fessed up to my first husband, it only made it worse. He felt betrayed that I never told him.

 

When I met my current husband, Kevin, I was very open about everything. I had won my first battle with depression and anxiety, and my first battle with an eating disorder. And I told him long before we were serious. He was, and has continued to be the most supportive person in my life on both fronts. I have since battled my second bout of Anxiety and Depression, and he was there every step of the way. He was so worried when I began to restrict again that he ran out to Kroger to get me some meal replacement drinks with as many calories as he could find!

 

A couple of years have now passed, and so much has changed. I am now getting the help I need for my eating disorder. I go to individual therapy weekly, group therapy bi-weekly, and I see a dietician as well.

 

 As of today, I am 4 months binge-free! I feel so much better about myself, and I am much more at ease. My primary goal of reducing and now eliminating binges continues to be at the forefront of my recovery. I have always known that recovery has to come from within myself. I have to be the one that wants it so badly, that I am willing to continue to fight for it even when I am down for the count. However, without the support of professionals and loved ones, I would not be on the road to recovery today. I am so thankful for such patient, kind, understanding professionals that know just when I need a little motivational push to either get me going (again) or keep me on the right track. I am also thankful for such an understanding, loving husband that is there for me day or night, to help me make the right decision in that moment of truth.

 

 

 I have always had this fighting spirit inside me that makes me get up time again when I fall. I hope I never lose that spirit. It helped me get to a good place with my anxiety and depression many times over, and I hope it will continue to do the same with my eating disorder. I can’t tell you how many times I had to get up (again) during my recovery from my mental illnesses. But I guess I got up one more time than I fell.

 

 

For the year ahead in 2015, I hope to continue to feel better about myself and to find that love of myself again. Slowly but surely, one step at a time, with the love and support of those around me, I will make 2015 be my year. And I will always remember that this nasty illness of binge-eating disorder can always be with me, but does not have to always be so present in my life.

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