Rosewood Alum Angie Shares Her Incredible Journey From Near Death To Recovery

Hello my name is Angie. My twin and I are the youngest of 7. I was raised by my grandparents in a small town of Virginia. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was little and both remarried. My twin brother and older brother B lived with our grandparents and my 2 oldest brothers and my sister lived with my Dad and Step Mom. I was always considered the sick child with a bad heart. My eating disorder came into my life at such an young age. When I was 9 years old, instead of playing with friends and baby dolls, I was occupied with my body and was full of self-hatred. My eating disorder (ED) was my first true friend. My BEST friend. It gave me exactly what I needed, what I felt I didn’t have. ED offered me the love, comfort, and support that I so dearly needed and wanted from my parents. He helped me escape from the outside world. Throughout my childhood, I would move back and forth from VA to MD where my parents lived. When things got tough, I was sent back to VA to live with my grandparents. Any time my Mom wanted another chance, my grandparents allowed her to have us. They felt every Mother should raise their children. Well, my Mother at the time was far from a fit parent. She would always choose her abusive husband (Step Father) over us. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep hiding underneath my blanket listening to them argue and fight. My Step Dad was very abusive. Crying was not allowed at my Mom’s house. My eating disorder promised never to leave me, to never abandon me like so many people in my life have. I never had much of a relationship with my Dad. I was the outcast. I felt alone and unwanted. People started noticing me with ED by my side. However I felt alone, depressed, and hated myself and the world. I felt like a huge disappointment to my family. I didn’t want to live anymore. All I wanted was to be loved and accepted. Accepted like my siblings were. I kept asking myself questions like…Why was I ever born? What have I done wrong? Why didn’t my parents want me? Will I ever be loved? So instead of reaching out to someone, I turned to the only thing I knew, my eating disorder. So I acted out, binged, purge, restricted, even turned to alcohol and drugs. However my eating disorder demanded no one know about our little secret. I worked my butt off to be perfect. It was awesome. People started noticing me. I started liking school and made straight As. I was making new friends and was even receiving compliments about losing my baby fat and how grown up I was starting to look. I felt like I was on cloud 9. ED was right. Everyone was noticing me and it was amazing. From that moment on I was hooked. I never wanted to lose my best friend (ED). After a while starving myself was not enough. I needed more. I needed the comfort from food. ED allowed me to eat and eat however I wasn’t allowed to keep it inside. I wasn’t deserving of the food. Starving eventually went to binging and purging. I would binge on foods that I loved. I would sit and stuff myself while thoughts went through my head. I just want to be loved and accepted like my brothers and sister were. I wanted a relationship with my Dad and of course all the whys I could think of. After binging all my thoughts, I felt I had no choice but to purge all the guilt away and bam was instant relief. After each episode, I would look in the mirror thanking ED. Over the years, ED and I became really close. My life was planned around food, exercise, weight, calories, clothes etc. I had no social life. After a while, I didn’t want to be around anyone. ED was controlling me and I honestly didn’t care because people noticed me. The good compliments turned into worried ones. Like Angie you’re getting too skinny, you look like you don’t feel good, when was the last time you slept. I still remember my Mom making a comment to me while she was giving me a hug —“Wow Angie, I wish I was as skinny as you.” By the time I was 16,  I was out on my own and was blessed with a son. ED was still present, which made for a complicated pregnancy. My son was born premature weighing only 4 pounds. Between the pregnancy and my eating disorder, my heart was taking a beating. I had to have open heart surgery when my son was 6 months old. I was alone. I had my son, a close friend, her parents, and my grandparents by my side. Where were my Mom and Dad? I needed them. I wanted them to be there for me and they weren’t. I started to give up on them. I started looking for love elsewhere. I turned to the internet to find it. And that is when I met my husband. We chatted for a few weeks, then finally decided to meet. Once we met and I saw how he treated my son, I knew I was going to marry him. No, I did not love him at the time. Hell, I didn’t even know what love was. 4 weeks after talking online and seeing each other once, we were getting married. I noticed my disorder would come and go. I was starting to love my new life, however when there were days and weeks without ED, I felt like I was missing something. I wanted my best friend. That ugly voice would tell me I’m still here just go look in the mirror. I did and boy that was that a big mistake. You filled that void temporarily however you made my life miserable. When ED came back into my life he didn’t want me with anyone. It wasn’t fair. I just wanted to be happy with my husband and son. I was abandoned all my life and all I was thinking about is how I wanted to leave my disorder. I started counseling and later became pregnant with my daughter. Things were getting better at last. Or so they seemed. I knew ED was still in my back pocket though. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Got pregnant once again and sadly I lost the baby Check Out Your URL. How could this happen to me? Why? I wanted my baby back. I got pregnant very quickly afterwards with our youngest son. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I was depressed and had so much guilt inside. I turned back to my disorder for comfort. An eating disorder and pregnancy do not make a good combo. The doctors kept telling me how bad things were and the baby and I were going to die if something wasn’t done. I was admitted to the hospital the last 6 months of my pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy. So many people tried to help me and all I did was push them away. I argued and fought for my disorder. I couldn’t lose the one thing that has always been there. I was sent to treatment center after treatment center with no success. I wasn’t ready to be free of my disorder yet. I was scared. I didn’t know life without it. I knew things needed to change. And even though I was losing everything I ever dreamed of, all I cared about is if I was abandoning ED. I knew how it felt to be left and it didn’t feel good. My husband made the decision to move to Oklahoma to be closer to his family for support. OMG Oklahoma. There’s nothing here and I have no friends. I hated it. I just wanted to fall off the face of the earth. My eating disorder started to get really bad. I was binging and purging all day long and spending hours exercising. I didn’t care. I was to the point I wanted to die. I wanted my disorder to kill me. I was having multiple seizures a day. Things all changed when I was actually fighting for my life. I had purged so much and for so long my esophagus ruptured. The doctors were rushing to save my life. After pints of blood, being flown to a larger hospital, and surgery I beat all odds. I will never forget going in and out of consciousness and hearing the doctors say she’s not going to make the flight. I couldn’t die. My husband and kids needed me. God gave me a second chance and I knew I couldn’t waste it on ED. Once I was stable enough to be discharged, I was off to treatment again. Was I ready? I felt ready. I went to Rosewood in Wickenburg, AZ. It was overwhelming. I honestly didn’t know if I could do this. They didn’t want ED to be a part of me. Why would someone want to take away something from me that I’ve hung on to so tightly for years. It was really pissing me off. I wanted to rebel. I immediately went back to that little scared girl who wanted her best friend. ED wasn’t giving up. While at Rosewood, I had some complications with my esophagus and had to be transferred out. I was not able to return back to Rosewood till I was medically stable. Boy did that hurt. I felt like I was being abandoned all over again. I didn’t care how anyone felt anymore so I went home and continued doing what I felt I needed to do. After about 6 months of being home, I started receiving messages out of the blue from Shannon. Shannon is Rosewood’s alumni recovery coach. Messages were plain and simple like….thinking about you, hope you know I care, asking how I was etc. I blew her off for a few weeks thinking yeah right whatever. However she was not giving up. I will never forget the text that made me open my eyes….”Angie, if you can’t fight for yourself, please let me fight for you. I will fly to Oklahoma and be by your side the whole way.  You need to return to treatment.” What? Are you kidding me?! No one has ever said they will be there for me every step of the way. At that moment, I knew she truly cared. But was it too late. The day before I left to go back to Rosewood, I had a bad seizure and woke up in the hospital. I didn’t know who I was or what had happened. I didn’t even know who my husband nor friends were. I do remember calling Shannon at midnight and telling her I’m not sure how I was getting there, but I will be there tomorrow. She had everything OK’d from the treatment team and I had a bed ready. Now the hard part was how in the world am I going to get money for a last minute plane ticket. The only thing I had of value that I could make quick cash for was my iPhone. So I took it to Game Stop and sold it for store credit. With the store credit I bought Gas cards and Starbucks gift cards. I came back home and posted on Facebook to sell them same as cash. Within hours they were sold and I was able to get to AZ. I didn’t have a phone to go with me to keep in contact with Rosewood, so I took my daughter’s phone which Shannon happily returned to her once I arrived. The plane ride there was hell. I thought my heart was going to stop any minute. When I arrived at Rosewood, I was on the verge of death. They welcomed me with open arms. It was never OMG what have you done or why are you back here? My heart rate was in the low 30s, my blood pressure was so low when I stood up I was blacking out. I was finally able and ready to receive the care I deserved. I spent the next 8 months in treatment. It was not easy. Hell, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I went the first 6 weeks without talking to my husband or kids. I knew if I talked to them and heard the hurt in their voice, I would want to return home. And I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. I wasn’t returning home till I knew ED was gone and no longer in my back pocket. I also was determined to go through the whole process of treatment. Residential, Inpatient, PHP, and IOP in California. Something I have never done before in the past. I returned home a new person. I was finally Angie and not disordered Angie. I am a worthy person, a great mom, wife, friend. I’m bright, I’m beautiful, and more determined now than ever. I have the strength and willpower to fight anything that comes my way. I have been free of ED since Sept 2013. Recovery life is amazing. Once I returned home, treatment didn’t stop. I had to continue seeing a doctor, therapist, and a dietitian. My husband and I are the closest we have ever been and I can honestly say I’m madly in love with him. He fills that black hole I needed filled. My children are learning and becoming knowledgeable of eating disorders and the dangers associated with them. Horses are a big part of my recovery. And that is one thing that helped me a lot while I was at Rosewood. Equine therapy is an amazing tool. Today if I struggle with negative thoughts or have a bad day, I go out and grab my horse and within minutes he makes life worth it again. I no longer live a secret life. It is true when they say “secrets keep us sick.” I am open and honest with my husband and children with everything. I allow them to call me out if necessary. I never thought my life would be where it is today.  However with God, my family and friends, and Rosewood I am finally living my dream life.