You’ve probably heard it all before, especially if you have an eating disorder, but I’m going to reiterate it again and again and again -your eating disorder will not achieve for you what you would like to achieve. It might, for a little while. That will probably feel good. You’ll get this false sense of hope that maybe you really are in control. And maybe you’ll just stay this way forever; hovering above food and being superior to it. But the thing is that it won’t stay that way. You think “I really am just going to lose a few kilos and then stop” but you won’t because you can’t. Even if you think you can, you will not be able to do so.
The reality is this: you will start failing your assignments. You will stay up all night because you can’t sleep and you’ll find yourself in the kitchen at 3am binging on almonds and then in the bathroom crying, desperately trying to throw them up. Your friends will disappear, you will withdraw from them and you will feel incredibly alone. All you will think about is food. Eating food, throwing up food, hiding food, counting bites of food, throwing food in the bin. You will walk down the street and see someone eating something and you almost want to beg them for just a little bite. You will look at food that has been carelessly tossed on the ground and want to eat it because you are so, so damn desperate to eat. Your throat will burn constantly from the acid that you’re forcing it to endure every time you purge. Your glands will be sore all the time. At 4 am or 2 am or 1am or sometime after midnight, you will bolt out of bed and sprint to the bathroom, stomach churning because you took 20+ laxatives as the result of a binge. You will measure things all the time, the eating disorder will take over your whole life. Measuring cups and teaspoons will become your best friends. You will become fearful of certain foods – potatoes and chocolate, pizza, pasta – the obvious ones, as well as the not so obvious ones. Maybe you’ll become scared of binging on apples or yoghurt or peanut butter. One time, I binged on a whole jar of taco sauce – your body will eat what it wants, what it needs and what you are depriving it of. In my case, I was heavily deprived of salt.
You will get chest pains. You will be standing in the shower and have such a sharp pain in your chest that you think you are about to die. You think you are about to die and then you are, naked in the shower throwing up hundreds of calories and begging God not to let you die, telling Him this will be the last time you throw up your food YOU SWEAR. But it isn’t because you’re stuck in this cycle and the only way to get out of it is to begin eating normally – which is just out of the question. You will count your steps. Everything turns into numbers, your mind comprises of numbers numbers numbers and food food food. You will so badly want the food, but you cannot eat the food. The fear of guilt is stronger than the joys found in eating. Your teeth will begin to erode and your dentist will be appalled. But if you aren’t honest with her, then you can probably say goodbye to your teeth. People will tell you you look wonderful at the start “yay you, you’ve lost weight, well done you” but by the end of it all, they’ll be so damn shocked they won’t know what to say. They definitely won’t be saying well done though.
You will look for gaps. You will measure your thigh gap and hold your fingers around your wrist to see if it is getting smaller and punish yourself if it seems bigger. You will hold your ankle bones, touch your elbow bones constantly, feel your ribs to see if they’re still visible and breathe a sigh of relief when your closest companions are still there. You will be so sore from exercise all the time. Sore, and empty and numb and in pain and isolating and fading and desperately needing help but being too pig-headed to ask.
And if you let it go on for long enough, you will die. That’s the reality of anorexia and bulimia. It doesn’t go on forever, so you recover or you die. And I think I know what the better option is of the two.
So tell me, how fun does Anorexia Nervosa sound now? How about Bulimia? This is the reality of an eating disorder and if you aren’t too far down the rabbit hole, please please seek help in your early ED stages. It’ll probably save your life.
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