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My Life Story: I Made It

My name is Lauren Quirk, I'm 18 years old, and this is my story.

I grew up in one of the most loving families I ever could have been born into. I had a great mother and father who loved me to death, the best grandparents a girl could ask for, and lots of loving cousins and aunts and uncles. Some would probably say that I had the perfect life. I was always a really shy kid. Every time I would go somewhere with my family, I would cling to mom's leg, or hide behind my dad. I hated it when people would talk to me because I never knew how to express myself back to them. I was always afraid of what people thought of me, even from a very young age. When I started Day Care at QBCC in Lubec, I was very lucky to have Minzy Newman working there. I loved her to death. I clung to her all day, every single day. I wouldn't go with any of the other staff, only her. I felt comfortable around her and she made me feel special. If she had not of been there, I don't know how I would have made out in Day Care. I was a little less shy when I started elementary school. My best friend Delesdenier was in my class, so we always sat together at lunch and in class, and played together at recess. I made new friends easily, and I started to feel more comfortable around people. In elementary school I was always known as the "smart kid," and the "teacher's pet." All of my school work came very easily to me. I would go far beyond what all of my classmates would do, and I didn't even realize it. In first grade, my teacher started to give me different spelling words than all of the other kids, because those ones were too easy for me. I always had straight A's, and school was never a hassle for me. When I was 7 years old however, my grandmother passed away. I don't remember much about her now, but from what I've been told, she was like a second mother to me. After she died, I kept telling my mom and dad that I wanted to go to Heaven to be with Nana. My parents didn't know what to think of me saying this, so they took me to a counselor where I was diagnosed with anxiety. I had been having anxiety attacks on a regular basis before this, and many times I ended up in the hospital because of them, and I had to have a heart monitor several times. Eventually these stopped happening, and I was able to go on with my life as a normal child. When I was in about 3rd grade, my mother got very sick with depression. She was in and out of hospitals for many years, and I barely ever got to see her. It was really hard growing up through some of the hardest years of my life without having a mom there all the time. During the time that my mom was gone though, I grew even closer to Minzy Newman. She was, and still is, one of the most important people in my life. I still say that she is my second mother. I love her to death. My mom got better eventually, and returned to Lubec when I was in about 6th grade. She did not live at my house, however, she had her own cottage downtown. For a while I was a bit hostile against my mom, and I didn't want to spend time with her. At this same time, I was getting into a lot of trouble at school. I was being sent the office almost everyday, and getting detentions just as much. My parents went in to talk to my teachers, and they decided that it would probably be a good idea for me to skip the rest of 6th grade and go to 7th grade. I was getting in trouble in school because I was bored, and after I moved to 7th grade, I never got another detention. School was going great, and life was going great until my grandfather started to get sick. He ended up in the nursing home; he was dying of lung cancer. One night, my dad and I decided that we would spend the night with him at the nursing home. Since he had a single room, we could sleep in there with him without bothering anyone. I was laying in bed with my grandfather, and my dad was on the other side of the room, when all of a sudden my dad said "Lauren, pull that cord." He sounded scared, and nervous, so I pulled it and then my dad came running over to me.. My grandfather had died while I was laying in bed with him. This was so hard for me to handle. My anxiety attacks started coming back, and I ended up in the hospital a few more times for them. I had to start going to counseling again, and eventually my anxiety attacks stopped. When I started high school at Washington Academy, life was really good. I loved WA, I loved all of my teachers, and I made lots of new friends there. My junior year was when things started to get tough. I started thinking that I was fat, and I wanted to lose some weight. At first this was fine. I started eating healthier and exercising everyday, and by my junior prom, I had lost about 25lbs. I wore a tight mermaid style dress, and I was very happy with how I looked. The summer after my junior year was when things got the worst. I started to obsess over calories and exercise. I counted calories religiously, even calories in gum, or mints. I counted how many calories were in everything I drank, I measured everything I ate, and if I didn't know how many calories were in something, I would refuse to eat it. I had to run every single day or I felt horrible about myself. If I ate less than 500 calories a day, I still wasn't happy with myself. I thought every little thing that I put into my mouth would make me gain 10lbs. My hair started to fall out, and I was always really week and tired. By the end of the summer I had lost a total of 45lbs. I was never a "big" girl either. I was always just a normal sized teenager. I didn't need to lose anywhere near 45lbs. During this time, people obviously noticed that I was losing weight, and people made comments to me about how skinny I was. My friend Manny was the only person that knew everything that was going on during this time though. I trusted him with my life. He was the best friend anyone could ever ask for, and to this day I do not know where I would be right now if it hadn't of been for him. When I started my senior year, I was so much more confident than I had been any other year. I knew I was skinny, and people kept telling me how small I was. I loved hearing people say that, and I loved it when people would tell me I was "too skinny." It made me feel good. But I still wanted to be smaller. I was still obsessing over calories and exercise, and I was just in general not a happy person. In October, my parents finally realized that I was sick and I wasn't going to get better on my own, so they sent me to Mercy Eating Disorder clinic in Portland. I went to this program for 2 days and then refused to go back. I hated everything about it, I didn't want to be there. I came home and started eating a little bit more, but I was not happy. I faked being happy just so that my parents would think I was better and wouldn't send me back to Mercy. As graduation was getting closer, I started getting more nervous and my anorexia went away.. but was replaced by binge eating disorder. I started eating massive amounts of food, and I couldn't stop myself. I was scared to death. I felt out of control. I was gaining weight really fast, and I was embarrassed to go to school. Manny was there for me during this time as well. I was so nervous to walk into school everyday that I would wait for Manny to get there first and we would walk in together. He made me feel a lot safer. I will never be able to thank him enough for everything he has done for me. Binge eating made me very depressed. I hated how I looked more than I ever had before, and it was hard for me to even get out of bed every morning. My parents decided that they would try sending me back to Mercy hospital. When I got there, they started treating me like I was still anorexic. They put huge meals in front of me and made me eat the whole thing or else I would have to drink an ensure to make up for it. I was not allowed to wiggle my legs when I was sitting down, or tap my fingers or walk around or anything because supposedly it was still burning calories. I stayed here for 2 days, once again, and then I wanted to leave. Before I left, my parents and I had a meeting with one of the doctors. This doctor told my parents that they couldn't trust anything that I said because it was just the disease talking for me, that I didn't know what I was saying. That was the last straw for me, I was done. I was NOT stupid, I knew what I was saying, I knew that something was wrong with me. We left, and I went back to school. By this time, my teachers new what was wrong, and they helped me with the work I had missed while I was gone. Graduation came around, and I graduated and was happy with that. I was accepted into good colleges, and I got quite a few scholarships. I should have felt happy, but I was still bingeing, and that was very hard for me. For my graduation present I got tickets to go on a trip to Florida with my mom. I had been begging to go to Florida my whole life. I've been to all these exotic places, but Florida was where I really wanted to go. But when I opened the tickets, I refused to go on the trip.. I didn't want to wear shorts, or a bathing suit. I was so unhappy with how I looked and what I was doing to myself that I didn't even want to go to Florida anymore. Over the summer I continued to binge. I didn't want any friends, I didn't want people around me, I just wanted to be alone because I was embarrassed of myself. I wore sweatpants and sweatshirts for most of the summer to hide my body. I was very unhappy. I cried almost everyday when I looked at myself. For a while, I couldn't shower without crying. I would lean over the bathtub and have my mom wash my hair for me, and then I would wash my body where there was no mirror, I would make sure that there was no way I could see myself. This all eventually became too much for me to handle, and my parents decided to try sending me to Acadia Hospital in Bangor. Once again, this didn't last long.. I hated it
there, and I came home after 2 days. About a month later, I went to a different program in Vermont. This program was different then the others. I went to Green Mountain at Fox Run. It was not an eating disorder program, it was just to help teach women about food and how to deal with it and eat the right way. I loved this place. It was NOT a hospital, it was more like a resort. However, I got very homesick and couldn't stay. I stayed for 1 week, and then I came home. Soon after that it was time for me to start college. I didn't want to go, I didn't want to leave home, so I decided to go to UMM since it was closer to my house. I still didn't want to go because I didn't want to meet new people. I didn't want people to make fun of me, and I was really scared. I went to school however, and eventually this year, I have somehow started to get over my bingeing. I'm not perfect, I still do it, but I'm better than I used to be. I've realized that bingeing, or not eating at all, isn't going to fix my problems, it will only make them worse. I'm still very insecure with myself, and to this day I can't eat in front of men. Even my own family, my father and my grandfather, it's very hard for me to eat in front of them. I'm working on it though, and someday I will hopefully be able to overcome that. I still have trouble handling situations, and that causes me to binge because that's the only way I know how to deal with it. I'm also very awkward and nervous around people, because I'm always scared that people are looking at me thinking about how fat I am. It makes me SO nervous. There are very few people that I trust completely now, and my friend Sante is one of those people. I have no idea where I would be without him. He has taught me so much about myself and made me realize that I am important, and that I am wanted. I am still struggling a lot, but I will get through this.. I have a loving family and friends that care about me, and I want to be able to live a normal, happy life someday. <3 Thanks for listening.
looloolemons looloolemons 18-21, F 5 Responses Nov 25, 2012

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I'm sorry to hear about your struggles, I definitely understand how you feel. I've had issues with anxiety my whole life and the last 3 years seemed to be the worst for me. I fight everyday to beat my anxiety but It sucks to know that I have to work extra hard to enjoy the simple things that come easily others. Times are tough but I know they'll get better eventually. We just have to face our fears straight up, there's no way around it. I know I'm this way for a reason and when we finally beat our anxiety every moment in life will be amazing. Thanks for sharing your story and keep pushing on. I'll be praying for yah and dont forget that you are a pretty young lady.

I can totally understand how you been feeling but it's not the way how one looks from outside. Looks can be always deceptive. The only thing that matters is the inner self. If you're kind and good inside then no matter how FAT or SKINNY you're you will always look beautiful in others eyes and I know you're a good girl :) A very very beautiful one indeed. So please take care and then try to get back to the normal eating habits and do't bother about what other people say about you. Remember people will never stop talking.
You're who you are and I know you're beautiful no matter how you look. So smile and be happy ^_^

You just made my day :)

What a story! You have had quite mixed fortunes by the sound of it but you've done pretty well to get through everything. So many people on here seem to suffer or have suffered anorexia at some point. What do you think causes it? Is it the feeling of the media putting excessive pressure on everyone to be very thin to be classed as beautiful? In truth, most guys like a few curves and something to hold on to in a lady anyway. Some look so thin I'd almost be frightened to hug them in case I accidentally snapped them like a twig or something! Okay, I say that in jest but the spirit is truthful. There is nothing so great about being stick thin. Keep chipping away at it - you'll be fine.

To be honest, for me, I don't think it was pressure from the media. When this all started, I had never had a boyfriend, and I just didn't think guys were interested in me. I assumed that it was because I was fat and ugly. So I wanted to lose some weight.. and it just escalated into something much more. Now, with the binge eating, I can't understand how I was ever anorexic, and I would give anything to go back to the days when I was. It was a lot easier. Thank you so much though. I'm trying!

Oh no, don't ever wish to go back to being anorexic. It's so dangerous to your health - far more so than being overweight, even. Good luck!

i feel for you x

You're quite welcome. I'm sad to read about your eating disorders, but they happen, and I think it's good just to deal with each day as it comes. I've never had an eating disorder, but I feel for you. Just a little piece of advice...It's not your business what others think of you. Good luck with all of this! You're in my prayers.

Thank you so much!