Fighting an eating disorder hard battle

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

I’ve been a journalist for over four years and I’ve worked for at least four different newspapers. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and once in a while I have an interview that makes me cry afterwards because it hits close to home. That’s how it was when I interviewed Dalyn Darrington this week for a story on the front page about eating disorders.

I sat down on her futon with my notebook and pen in hand. I was scared to do the interview, but I knew it was something I had to do. Not just for the Collegian, but for myself. I began with my first question, “How did it start?” And the answers poured out.

Dalyn spoke of her constant struggle with her weight and food and how exercise became an obsession. As I listened to her talk and jotted down notes, I realized that I could have been interviewing myself. Dalyn’s story is a lot like mine.

From the time I was 10 years old, I always thought of myself as the “fat girl.” As I got older, I developed poor eating and exercising habits. It became my obsession.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t dieting. I counted calories and obsessed about every thing that went into my mouth. Exercise wasn’t an option. It was mandatory.

My friends and family knew something was wrong. When I look back at pictures of myself from that time, it was written all over my face. They tried to confront me, but I repeatedly denied that there was a problem.

This pattern started my junior year of high school and went until the summer after my freshman year of college. I started to get help my senior year of high school. I saw a counselor and was on medication. But I decided I was better and didn’t need that anymore. But I slipped back into my old habits when I started college. And that’s when I began making myself throw up.

I constantly thought about food. I plotted when and what I was going to eat next and then how I would get rid of it. I always felt horrible after I threw up and I promised I would never do it again, but I could never keep that promise. My disorder controlled my life.

I finally decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I went back into counseling. I was put back on medication and I began seeing a nutritionist. At first, I thought I was wasting my time, but then my nutritionist opened my eyes. She told me that my heart was shrinking and that I could eventually have serious heart problems. She also said that I could become sterile and never have children.

So I was back on my way to recovery. It was hard at times, but in the long run it has been rewarding. I enjoy life more. I will always carry my disorder with me, but I will never let it control my life. Not again.

I still have rough days, but I am happier with life. And I am happier with myself. Just like Dalyn.

Heather Mangan is a sophomore journalism major and Campus Editor.

#1.884584:3649476605.jpg:heathermug.jpg:Heather Mangan, Columnist: