They say Disney World is the happiest place on earth. I have no doubt it is for many people, just not me, at least not my last trip there. My time was hijacked by anorexia and I didn’t have much happiness to speak of at all.
I along with three other girls in our school made it to HOSA nationals which just so happened to be held at Disney. Instead of being elated when I received my medals, I panicked. I barely managed states and now they wanted me to hop on a plane with two other girls and my teacher and fly down to Florida for 5 days? I didn’t think I could do it. My parents threatened to keep me home if I didn’t promise to do better with my eating. Despite the voice within me screaming no, I signed up for the trip. How bad could it really be? Even before we left the airport I knew I had barely any control over my situation.
Ed took over the entire trip. I had to find the lowest calorie options possible for each meal. When our teacher informed us we must have breakfast each morning, Ed told me grapes were good enough. I had two days of testing at the main resort. I was so low on calories I’m really not sure how I managed to focus during my tests. Except for those few hours in testing, I was constantly exercising. I purposely “explored” as much as I could and made any excuse possible to get up and move. Even when the other girls were resting I found some way to burn more calories. I was constantly obsessed with not gaining weight on vacation though I knew deep down I was actually doing the opposite.
The days we went to the park was way harder than I ever imagined. I started by skipping breakfast and then lunch all while the others thought I had both. I didn’t have close to enough calories to even break even for the day. We walked 10 miles at least and I still felt it wasn’t enough. When it came time for dinner I had a tiny amount of food. I just couldn’t do it. I think at this point the girls and my teacher figured something was wrong. They made some comments which I blatantly ignored and denied.
The whole time I was so miserable. I had little energy and nearly fainted multiple times. I didn’t get to have anywhere near a full experience. I was cold some days even though it was in the 90’s and sunny our whole trip. I put on a huge front for those girls though. None of them could have guessed the internal war I was going through. I put on a fake smile and pushed on through. They just assumed I liked to eat healthy and had a small appetite. In some ways I wish they would have said something because maybe I would have gotten help when I got home instead of waiting until the end of summer. I lost so much weight that week. My mom looked like she was about to cry when she picked me up. Even though she commented on the weight difference, I was able to hide my eating habits while we were up north at the cabin. That trip also brought weight loss.
I look back at Florida and want to cry. I was so sick and I didn’t believe it. I needed help. My dream is to go back to Disney one day but this time not bring Ed. I think I deserve to truly enjoy it and be healthy next time around.
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