Megan’s Letter

Megan’s Letter

Struggling with an eating disorder

To start with the easy stuff:

My life now is going pretty well. I am working at Microsoft in the Sales Excellence Department. My job is a Senior Sales Desk Associate. What I do is coach account managers through deal strategy, and then help them by writing their sales proposals, relationship building documents, etc. I have two main projects that I have started this year as a senior in the role. One, I am the WW marketing lead for our team. I am sure this sounds impressive, but its really not too crazy, our marketing department is pretty small as its internal marketing only. I coordinate with our other Microsoft Hubs (for Sales Desk) in Munich, and Singapore. My second project is for business development as a Geo Lead. I work with the US SMS&P (smaller enterprise businesses Microsoft serves) General Manager and team, and work on ways we can support their sector at Microsoft and increase their usage of our services as it generally builds customer satisfaction and increases revenue recapture rates. I absolutely love the team I work on and its been a great start at Microsoft, a never-ending learning process full of opportunity.

I got engaged in January, to surprisingly the same great guy I started dating the end of my senior year in high school. We took a short break to be more independent in college, but we kept going back to each other. He supported me through my eating disorder, encouraged me to break from my habits, but never stopped loving me along the way no matter what size I was.

A little background on my strain of ED…as it was somewhat unique.

I think I always knew as a teenager that something was off and that I had types of thoughts that could be eating disorder related. I brushed them off as silly though because I ate, and that wasn’t an issue. I loved food.

I never felt good enough I suppose growing up in school and pre-adulthood. While I had lots of friends, they were spread out, and I am not sure I ever really identified with a group. I never felt popular, I never felt attractive until later on in high school, outside BHS. I think I was relatively happy in high school, but throughout middle and high school I spent a lot of time processing through my parent’s divorce, always being a bit bitter about it.

After high school, I found that I loved college, being able to meet new people, have new opportunities etc. By the end of my freshman year of college I, of course, like everyone else gained (an actually relatively small amount) of weight and decided I had pushed far enough, something needed to change. I desperately wanted to be skinny, attractive, toned, you name it. I taught myself just how much perseverance I had. I began working out much more, watching what I ate etc. A few months later I was asked to join an NPC info session, which is where I decided I would train for a National Physique Committee Competition. I got trainers, ate what they told me to (which was usually about 1000-1100 calories a day, split into 6 meals) and was very strict with my diet. No drinking anything but water, tea and black coffee, no sauces, no extra sodium, no dairy, no wheat…) I definitely had my moments of irritability and being “hangry” but I said I would do this, and I was going to do it. I lost nearly 40 lbs by the time of my competition and placed 3rd, and the top 5 are typically those who can qualify for nationals. I hit a peak, I was so excited, and felt so good about myself.

I kept going with this for a little over the next year when my parents made me go to an eating disorder therapist. Part way through my treatment I left to go study abroad in Rome. It was a great 4 months and taught me a lot, but it was so much harder than I ever imagined, especially being at a weight that put me in the anorexic category. I was in denial because I ate, but I worked out to negate every calorie, and occasionally would throw up when I overate (though this wasn’t too often). I enjoyed being skinny and kept starving myself essentially in Italy til I came home at an unhealthy weight for a 5ft 8 female- 116 lbs. ( I know numbers isn’t a good thing so maybe we should edit these out) By then I’d lost curves, lost my period, lost my health, counter to what my brain was telling me.  Everyone was worried for me, and after I graduated college the next quarter my dad held things against me and his significant other and I fought as he essentially avoided about me going into treatment… inpatient) I just couldn’t believe this was the right place for me… I was not in this bad of a condition! I ended up going of course and lived at Rain Rock in Springfield Oregon for the next month and a half before feeling I would be okay leaving to outpatient (and I got a paid marketing internship in Bellevue at a Visa Payments company).

I went to treatment because I knew I wasn’t able to live my life to the fullest is so deep in an eating disorder. I didn’t realize how unique an eating disorder can be and how it doesn’t usually fit nicely into a category. I learned a ton about myself, the roots of my eating disorder stemming back to when I was just three years old and developing throughout my childhood into my teenage years. This isn’t to say I had an eating disorder as a child but just where some of the psychology behind it can be explained from, traumatizing childhood events. I met some truly amazing girls in treatment who I will always have a place for in my heart. They have all battled so much, but the funny thing about being in treatment is you tell them how they are amazing people, how they can change, and its hard to see it when you’re talking about it to yourself. If I have learned one thing being in treatment it’s that you have to want to be free of ED whole-heartedly. Those who don’t want it with every bone in their body struggle more. It takes a serious amount of strength and learning to love yourself.

All that being said, the journey to recovery is long, it’s rocky. I thought training for my NPC fitness competition was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The journey to recovery knocked that level of difficulty straight out of the park. While I have thoughts from time to time that definitely takes me back to my disorder, I don’t feel the same way about myself. I still struggle from time to time but have learned how to challenge negative thoughts, how to eat more naturally, and most importantly how to love myself and see the great qualities I possess. I am always working on channeling that perseverance into things with a more positive outcome.