People just don’t seem to understand.
It’s not a ‘silly diet’ or something I can turn on and off whenever I want to. How I wish I could! It’s a struggle, a war- where both the enemy and the ally is yourself… which parts do you listen to? My mind just won’t shut up, I can’t stop those racing thoughts exploding in my mind like fireworks as I watch terrified as if from the eyes of a pet.
‘You don’t deserve that’ ‘If you eat that you’re a failure’ ‘No one will like you, you cant even control yourself’ ‘Life is pointless, why eat?’
And YES! I am scared- terrified to gain weight! But for heaven’s sake I’m not interested in looking like a model! It’s not about trying to look good, although for some it may start that way. Does a skeleton look ‘pretty’ to you? Weight for me is just an irrational fear not a means to look like say Ariana Grande. It’s just like the fear of germs for someone with OCD- they aren’t judged for being ‘vain’, being ‘selfish’. They can’t control that fear but so can’t I!
And trust me when I say this; I do know it’s an irrational fear. Why would gaining weight mean I’m worthless, stupid? Yet every time I am faced with a meal these words pop up out of nowhere, controlling what I do. Sometimes my illness can’t even justify this terrible fear it just screams at me that I cannot gain weight until I become so weak that I can’t help but listen.
Numbers. All I see is numbers. The weight, the calories, the grams of my oats! They just don’t seem to go away… Please! Give me some space for my thoughts! But no, anorexia won’t let you live, you are under it’s reign. It dominates your every waking moment. Alas! Even in your sleep your anxieties arise – you’re suddenly 100 lbs or you’ve lost your weighing scale. I’ve done more maths this past year than I’ve ever done in my life and I’ve never even enjoyed calculating- anorexia truly changes who you are.
It’s like a demon. How else can I explain it? . It seduces you, tells you you’ll be liked more, you’ll have the control- but its it who has it. You can’t control your feelings, anorexia does. You can’t control your life, anorexia does… It makes you cry over your lunch, makes you shout at your mum for a mistake with your food, makes you want to run away but how can you when the demon is within you? It wants you to die. Either by killing yourself or by devoting yourself to its commands- it will tear you to shreds either way, where’s the way out?
And oh how it makes you envious! For the food others can eat but also for the bones you can see on that other girl. And how it drives you mad! You have to be skinnier, eat nothing for a week, exercise like crazy- It turns everything into a competition! One that from the eyes of an outsider does not exist. It’s a silent one, but the deadliest there is. If s/he can get that skinny so can I, if s/he can be sick for this long, so can I. It gives a fake sense of security as you feel like you are finally succeeding , you can finally come first in something! It’s truly sickening.
It not only plays with what’s inside, it distorts your very own vision. From one day to the next your arms have become ten times wider, your chin has quadrupled… How could you ever let yourself become this way? You’re such an idiot, disgusting, no wonder no one likes you.
It’s sly, promises you happiness but all it gives you is false hope and delusion. It’s ironic how with every meal you skip, you are feeding it, making it stronger. It thrives on your weaknesses: you feel lonely? You’re too fat for anyone to like you. You failed your exam? You’ve eaten too much fat it played with your brain… Everything, every thing, becomes connected to food. That’s all you can think about- both dreaming about having an endless meal of delicious food and how to trick your parents into thinking that you’ve already eaten.
I’ve lied. So, so much. I was never one to do so before this illness. To my friend, whom I didn’t want to suspect anything: ‘I ate so much!’ ‘I love chocolate!’ ‘I had a cookie for breakfast!’. To my mum whom I wanted to trick into thinking I was fine: ‘I’m just trying to be healthy’ ‘There’s nothing wrong with me’ (I cannot express how sorry I am!)
‘Just trying to be healthy’ That was sort of true. Isn’t it funny how anorexia uses this as an excuse not to eat some foods. That cake has too much sugar, those chips too much salt. It can seriously damage your body! You might die if you eat that! But anorexia, my dear, not eating anything is what’s more unhealthy, is what will truly make me die.
I don’t know how to make you understand that this is no game. It’s a serious illness and I do not choose to worry the way I do.
But perhaps you’ll never understand- there’s nothing quite like this. Maybe all I can do is beg you to stop viewing me as a ‘brat’ or ‘spoilt’ because this battle is only within me and – luckily for you- you won’t ever have to experience what I’m experiencing right now.