(Oliver Munday for The Washington Post)

#MyBodyStory is a series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body. Because every body has a story, and every story deserves to be heard.

Do you have a #MyBodyStory to share? Send it to [email protected]

Today I am featuring a Body Story by someone who wishes to remain Anonymous (Anon) for safety concerns. The 3 photos used below have special meaning to Anon without revealing their identity.

*Cover image by Oliver Munday for The Washington Post

And now, here is Anon’s Body Story:

The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory are the writer’s own.

Trigger Warning: Rape / Bullying / Eating Disorder / Self Harm

When I was five, I was raped. My sister had a huge house party when my parents weren’t home and everyone was drunk and high. A man I didn’t know was super friendly to me and picked me up (when I was young I loved being carried everywhere) and he brought me into my house bathroom. He explained we were playing a game that was a secret, and forced me to perform oral sex on him. I cried and got sick, and he wiped away my tears and told me I’d do better next time. I don’t remember multiple years of my life after this.

When I was 9, I was bullied for being overweight. Teachers in elementary school and friends frequently commented on my weight gain. I had already been using food as a way to compensate for the emptiness that I couldn’t understand (or remember).

When I was 11, my weight gain had became a topic at my dance class…I had to be resized for my recital costume because I had gained so much weight. My mother brought me into the room with the dance teacher and they explained that I had gained an extreme amount of weight. The teacher said she noticed, and I stared at my feet in shame. That night I didn’t have dinner and I began to exercise. The next day I fasted and fainted. No one knew why. I had to keep it a secret. Back then I was obsessed with keeping secrets.

When I was 14 and entered my first few days of high school, one of my best friends posted terrible things about me online. Her and her friends moved to the end of the lunch table, and I sat alone. I slowly started eating less. I went online and someone told me to “drink bleach and cut myself” and that’s when I self harmed for the first time.

When I was 14, I met my first true relationship. The thing was, I didn’t actually love them. They were 20. I was having sex but didn’t truly know what was happening to me. I thought I was making love but it was just sex. They threatened harming themselves if I broke up with them and so I stayed in and out of that relationship for 2 years.

When I was 16, I went to a residential treatment facility for anorexia nervosa, depression, and anxiety. It was an amazingly healing experience. When I got home I did an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for 10 months and made amazing progress and amazing friends whom I still cherish. I felt truly recovered.

When I was 18, I was at a high point in my recovery and I decided that it was time to start dating again. I met a cute boy in the Marines who was amazing to me. He taught me how to drive, brought me to appointments, and supported my recovery. I trusted him with my life and always felt safe. But one night he came over, and after I had taken my sleep medication, he raped me when I was unconscious. I kept opening my eyes every few minutes from pain. I kept trying to say something but I couldn’t speak. I was in shock and drugged from my heavy medication. He continued to rape me in different ways for over an hour. I was blacked out, but the last thing I remember from that night was the cold air hitting my face as he left. I had bruises on my body and I was sore the following days. I did tell my close friends, but they told me he was just getting it before the Marines sent him away. I often forget about this trauma.

Last September when I started college, I immediately relapsed. My strong recovery had shattered into pieces. The stress of school triggered traumas and memories. So I went back to therapy and started seeing a dietitian. But my PTSD started getting worse and I became suicidal. I was restricting and I had lost an extreme amount of weight in a very short period of time. I was recommended for residential in-patient treatment, but instead I created a *safety contract and returned to IOP.

*A safety contract is when you make an agreement to work towards recovery and not act on any self harm urges or suicidal tendencies. Both you and your therapist sign it. And once you sign, if you begin struggling even further, that means you have to go to a higher level of care. So it’s a very heavy commitment.

Right now, I’m still in IOP and I’m still doing the work.
I’m working so hard each day to conquer my trauma and the root of my eating disorder so I can freely live my life. My September relapse does not make me a failure, it makes me human. And every day I’m working on myself. Because I’m worth it.

With love,