Three years ago I shared publicly for the first time that I suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and that was one of the hardest self disclosures I ever did. I debated for months and months about whether I was brave enough to allow the world in on my little secret.
Since that blog post I have never been able to deny my Anorexia as everyone around me is aware that I suffer from the disease and many almost contradicted me when I said I would be fighting this the rest of my life. They said it would go away or fade into the background just like fiction portrays and maybe this does for some but my truth is that this disease has plagued my life for six years which is almost a third of my life. It is in truth all I can remember experiencing. It has defined my social life through making it difficult to go out with friends to places.
Yes I do go out and I do stare at the caloric count and I do drink extra water to compensate but it still bothers me at my core. I went out with some college friends the other day and we had been active and then went to McDonald’s to finish our time together. I had a ‘plaguing moment’ there with the smell of the food and the crunching. Everything made me aware of my weight . . .don’t get me wrong I love McDonald’s! I love food! But that doesn’t mean my mind agrees with my stomach. I sat there for half an hour trying not to breathe and tried to look anywhere but the food. I hadn’t ate in hours and had just been active. Yet I felt so full I could puke and I had goosebumps on every inch of my body from just being around food. The horrible sensation stayed with me until I feel asleep that night and when I woke I still felt stuffed and when I ate lunch I had to stop because a morsel of food made me fight myself to keep it down. That is what it feels like to suffer from anorexia for me.
It feels like freaking out every time I see food because I love food and I love to cook but the guilt is so overwhelming that I question whether I can eat today without being sick and guilty for hours or days. It feels like drinking water twice as much as I should because that will help me not gain weight. It feels like never being able to enjoy food because the after taste in my mouth is a ‘plaguing moment’ waiting to happen. If I can’t brush my teeth or drink enough water to extinguish the taste it might be days until I can think of anything else.
I know I sound really dramatic but these are the thoughts in the back of my mind for more than six years. I don’t talk about it a lot because it sounds like I’m being whiny and asking for pity especially as I am a normal weight no one would think I am anorexic anymore by looking at me. I curved the action by reading negative descriptions of anorexic girls that described us as ugly and repulsive. Things that had messages like Meghan Trainor that encouraged me to hate myself for starving and being skinny. It worked well enough I started eating again that it was no longer an outward issue. Outwardly, I am healthy and in my mind overweight but I don’t really know because my mind distorts the truth. The dysmorphia will never allow me to look at my real body and my friends and family hide scales form me. So I am stuck unaware of the real truth of the matter. But I’ve indoctrinated myself to hate what I look like whether that is skeletal and lacking in feminine form or overweight and unattractive.
It works the doctors and kin alike see a healthy girl but miss the war I fight everyday. The war I fight to eat and the battle to keep it in and the hate that wells within whether I eat or starve. This is what it feels like to be a ‘recovered’ anorexic. So please for me be careful what you say and be mindful of those around you whether they look healthy or not and please never call someone ugly or fat (or skinny) because you never know how far they will go to prove you wrong. Though I am thankful for how I have learned to cope and am no longer suffering from declining health; I wanted to share this because the longer road to mental wellness in Anorexics is not spoken about enough. Thank you for reading my journey so far of recovery and I hope it better enlightens you to the thought processes of those suffering from Anorexia Nervosa and other eating disorders. I share this because I hope it leads to awareness and will be incentive to be more proactive so that no one will have to live with the lasting effects of this disease.
A last note is to those who read this and know me personally. It is NOT your fault that I am still struggling. Many of you have stood by me in hard times and I want to thank you. Just because I am still fighting a disease does not mean that those around me are being negligent. You are wonderful and I couldn’t make it this far without friends and an amazing God who carries me through the hard times.
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