As I mentioned a few weeks back now, I intend on doing an ‘Alphabet Series’ of sorts. I probably won’t write in chronological order (though that would be ideal). If you have any suggestions to make for a particular letter, feel free to go here and leave a comment. It seemed rather fitting to do a series like this due to the title of my blog – but also so we can mull out a few of the issues associated with eating disorders.
It would make sense to write a blog post about Anorexia and the health consequences of Anorexia but I figure that if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, hopefully I’ve adequately conveyed to you what eating disorders are – so in fact, today I am choosing to do something a little different.
Last year, I started writing a ‘memoir’ of sorts. As it currently stands, it is 57 pages long and 27, 956 words long. It’s not finished yet. Quite epic, I’d say! And today I’d like to share a little of it with you. What I am about to share is below the subheading ‘Anorexia’ and is my own experience / memory of Anorexia – but it is also only a small snippet of the story. However, I do hope it provides some insight for you into my life in 2009-2011. It’s quite long, but please stick it out if you have the time to do so 🙂
I have not yet talked about this to the extent that I would like to. It is hard to express and explain how this illness works, but I think that is important to note – anorexia is an illness, it is a disease. It takes so much from a person. I have documented every single thing that I have eaten in the past two years. I could tell you what I ate each day for the entire Summer of 2009/2010. Food was a big deal to me. I was very obsessed with counting calories and eating perfectly. I was strict about rules and punished myself if they were broken. I needed to keep losing weight and I was spiralling right out of control, because I didn’t know how to stop. Over the same Summer that I lost the majority of my weight, I didn’t attend any of my friend’s 18th birthday parties; it stressed me to be in an environment where I might lose control over the food that I ate. I was too scared to miss a gym class – worried that people would make a judgement of me if I wasn’t there, worried that I would gain weight, worried that my parents might think I was lazy. I have a little black and red book from this time and looking back and reading through what I used to write is distressing to me. Over time, I became more and more distant in my writing. This is just one of the many journal entries I wrote throughout that period:
This morning I stepped over the lines on the concrete with my left foot, just to piss myself off. It made me want to not walk over any lines actually. It made me anxious, which is ridiculous.
Today I have eaten:
– 1 slice of toast with peanut butter
– 1 slice of toast with vegemite
– 1 hot chocolate
I felt thinner this morning. And I realised I don’t know how to stop losing weight. I think that could end up being a problem. Losing weight and exercising are what I do best…
I’m going to be perfect today.
A Letter to Myself
please, stop trying to convince yourself that you are toning. you are not. it is fat. exercise each day. if you don’t have the energy, walk. eat a proper meal on Tuesday night so as to have energy for Wednesday [school cross country].when tempted to overeat, please please please think about that extremely overweight girl. don’t go there. be strong. accomplish something. have reasons to see a dietician. every calorie you consume is a calorie you have to work off.
- o no junk food
- o only eat to please others
- o try and live off liquids as much as possible
- o never eat when you are alone. keep control
Love, your bad brain that you couldn’t live without.
This last entry is of particular concern to me. It is blatant to see that my eating disorder had a serious grip on me at that point in time. My eating disorder was telling me a lie: that being overweight is unacceptable for an individual in society. That is a wrong and skewed perspective. I am an advocator of loving your body. It was just difficult for me at the time to swallow some of my own advice! I also think my eating disorder made me someone that I, Rebekah McAlinden, am not. It made me judgemental, sour and rude. At times, it made me quiet. It made me feel superior. Ironically, it also made me feel inferior. It made me scared. And lastly, it made me realise how sinful we really are, altogether as the human race. We are wrong. We do make judgements of people based on the exterior. We value slim bodies, pretty looks, fashionable clothing. As ashamed as I am of it, I am guilty of also acting in that way. I think it’s only right to challenge that perspective. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”” I love how God has created different body shapes. I love that a normal body has a healthy amount of fat on it, I think it is lovely! Slowly, I am learning to accept this also for myself.
My last entry in this journal was on the 17/4/11.
I can’t deal with this for much longer. L asked me to write this down, so here we go.
I broke rules – took the Gd’s scales / bought appetite suppressants. L and I were trying to talk it through this afternoon and I just felt so angry. I don’t know why. I’m not very good at coping with emotion these days. And I didn’t really know how to deal with that anger and I ended up walking to Gerroa in a pair of socks and my gym clothes. I felt nauseous and so panicky and I couldn’t turn around and go home b/c of my pride/stubbornness/fear of being rejected. The whole time I was saying aloud to myself “You are not worth it” – in reference to L&A coming to get me. My head obv. wasn’t in a good spot b/c it’s so obvious that they care.
So 40 minutes on and I messaged L asking for help and she came and picked me up and I cried the whole way home. I’m so sick of being stuck in my head and pretending.
Had a big cry/group cuddle with L&A when I got back. I am so selfish.
Ate 1 Ryvita w/vegemite, 1 hot choc and ½ cup yoghurt.
I told M/D at church [about my eating disorder]. It was okay. Weird. I felt okay – not judged, but guilty. I shouldn’t talk about this, I should be able to deal with it by myself.
And so now I feel exhausted. Hungry, but not prepared to binge – food is so scary.
This is hard to deal with but I need to change things in my life. I am not happy and this is not fair on anyone.
Get lost Satan.
I think that God brought me to a sort of “crossroads” as such this year. Would I continue with my life how it was, as miserable as I was? Or would I draw strength from He whom has provided for me throughout the entirety of my eating disorder? Here is a lovely verse that I have been reflecting on lately:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
I want to show that I trust God by using my body to honour him.
I have come so, so ridiculously far. Praise God.
Love, Bekah X