This is anorexia

I wrote this for an eating disorder conference that I spoke at back in February
I read it out in front of about 200 people
I wanted to break the silence that so many of us live in
I wanted to challenge the myths about eating disorder and give people an insight as to what it's really like to live with this illness
I hope I did it justice


Anorexia starts like a whisper in your ear
A faint echo
Her voice is soft at first
She gently lures you in
She catches you when you're feeling vulnerable, sad or lonely
She tells you that she has found the path to true happiness and success
All you have to do is follow her
She says she will be your friend
The only friend you will ever need
You don't need anyone else
Just her
She makes the suggestion that if you change then people will like you
You'll be popular, loved and in control
Truly happy
She says that she has the answer to all your problems
She knows that you feel like your life is out of control and she encourages you to take control of the one thing that you can change, your weight
She scrutinizes your body
She points out that soft curves are not attractive
Maybe you should lose a few pounds
And so this becomes your goal
To lose a few pounds
That will make everything better
You start to cut back on calories
Maybe you start to exercise too
At first it feels great
You feel powerful and in control, clean and pure
You weigh yourself and see that you've lost a few pounds
You're delighted
People comment on how well you look and you get high on all the attention
You fit in to your 'skinny jeans' and you love your new shape
It feels so good that you want more
So you lose a few more pounds
That's probably enough now you think
But anorexia is not happy yet
She wants more
Or less rather
Anorexia's demeanour has changed now
She's not so nice anymore
She doesn't ask now, she demands
She tells you that you're still fat
That you're no good
A bad person
Hopeless
Useless
Ugly
The scale starts to rule your life
Those little numbers dictate your mood, your self worth and self esteem
The number goes down and you sky rocket in to euphoria
It goes up and you spiral down in to a black hole of depression
You try to stop but you can't
Your eating disorder has become a full time job
24, 7
You work hard all week restricting and exercising
And at the end of the week you expect a big fat pay check in the form of weight loss

Your clothes are baggy now
Your soft curves are giving way to sharp edges and pointy bones
You try to stop restricting but you can't
You try to eat normally again but you can't
People have stopped commenting on your weight now
But you see them nudge each other and whisper
But you still can't stop
Your family is concerned now
They express worry about your ever shrinking body
But you still can't stop
Your family are so very worried, angry out of sheer frustration
You push all your friends away because they don't understand
You're cold all the time now
But you still can't stop
Losing weight is the only thing that matters now
But along with the weight you feel like you are losing your mind
Your world has shrunk to just you and your eating disorder
But you still can't stop
Anxiety and depression creep in
You stop leaving the house
You're paranoid and afraid
But you still can't stop
Anorexia's voice is constant now
You have arguments in your head about what to eat
It's a constant tug of war
You fantasize about  the foods you would eat if you could
You obsessively read the nutritional information on food labels
Even in sleep there is no escape as you dream about food
You're a shell of a person now
Your body is cold and brittle
You develop lanugo
Your periods cease
But you still can't stop

Then one day you break
Hunger over powers your steely control
You raid the kitchen presses and the fridge
You eat and eat until it hurts
You can't stop
You shove food in to your mouth without even tasting it
You inhale every morsel
After the binge the guilt kicks in
It's overwhelming
Anorexia screams at the top of her lungs
'What have you done you fat pig?
Look at you you're a mess
A greedy disgusting excuse of a person'
You feel like you are going crazy with all this food in your stomach
Suddenly you have a brain wave
Or maybe anorexia suggested it
You calmly walk to the bathroom clear in your mind what you're going to do
You lock the door
Tie back your hair
Run the tap
Roll up your sleeves
Lift the toilet seat
Bow over the toilet
Shove 2 fingers down your throat and purge
Your stomach expels the food
You instantly feel relief
There
No damage done
You flush away the evidence
Clean the toilet and the floor to make sure there is no sign of the crime
You feel great
You feel like you've found a loophole in the system
A way to eat and not gain weight
And this is how you meet bulimia
Anorexia's partner in crime
Now you spend your days binging and purging
You have a path worn from the kitchen to the bathroom
You can't stop
You start to steal food from shops
You hoard food at home
The weight continues to fall off
You now have the body of a child
You're exhausted 
Drained
Mentally and physically bankrupt
But you still can't stop
You fantasize about death
You go to bed hoping that you won't wake up

Your family are beside themselves with worry
They beg you to get help
You agree to see a counsellor but make no promises
You're  not sure that to let your eating disorder go
Even though it's killing you, you can't imagine life without it
You see the counsellor every week but make precious little progress
Then one day your body starts to give up
You can't go on
Your family take you to hospital
They take your case seriously  and admit you immediately
They have some one sit with you 24 hours a day
But you still manage to purge and hide food
They keep you for 2 weeks and then send you to the psychiatric hospital
They try to help but you resist
You purge in to plastic bags and hide them in the wardrobe
It's an eerie place with stark rooms and cold hallways
You know you don't belong here
A place in treatment comes up
You agree to go as your too weak to resist
This place is nice
A place for people with money or insurance
The other girls are lovely
You bond quickly
You cry together
Laugh together
Help each other
Hold each other
Be there for one another
But you also compete with one another
To be the thinnest and the sickest
Now you have been given the label anorexia you feel like you have to live up to that title
And you still can't stop
You continue to purge
Continue to restrict
They put you on a cocktail of meds
You're so weak that every time you sit down you fall asleep
You spend a lot of time on bed rest
You're not willing to surrender even though you know that's the only way you will get well
You fail to gain weight and you are told you have to leave
You are heartbroken but you have to go
Your father comes to collect you and you can see the disappointment in his eyes

At home you slip into depression
You abuse your meds
It's the only relief you get
Before you know it years have gone by
You've been to treatment 3 times and have seen countless counsellors
You've lost so much
Friends
Family
Education
Health
Confidence
Self worth
Self esteem
Any semblance of a normal life
Happiness is a dream you once had
Peace of mind is a distant memory
You spend your days waiting to die
Praying that it will be quick and painless
Is this what I've become?
Is this my life?
Why did I listen to anorexia
She lied to me
Tricked me
She promised me my dreams but she's given me a nightmare
I have no doubt that she wants me dead

I would liken living with an eating disorder to that of an abusive relationship
Like an abuser anorexia grooms you and lures you in with false promises of happiness
But once you are captive they show their true colours and how evil they really are
Even though you are miserable you keep going back again and again
Because it's familiar
Because they promise next time will be different
Because you know no other way

This is my life now
A corrupted fairytale
A lifetime movie
A girl who slipped through the cracks
Fell from grace
Anorexia has brought me to my knees
Bulimia has broken me
Where this story ends?
I don't quite know
It's an everyday battle
A fight for my life
Sometimes it feels like one step forward and two steps back
But the important thing is to keep going
To keep fighting
And most of all to keep hoping





7 comments:

  1. This was amazing. I will keep reading this over and over again, because you really did describe Anorexia well. Thank you so much. Xxx

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  2. Very good description, it just like that. Keep strong. Thanks for you post. xxx

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  3. How did I miss this part of your blog??? This is amazing.

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  4. exactly what I'm going thru its so scary bmi 14 and i can't get treatment i can't believe others have this how do you live (

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  5. wow. this was so powerful. it describes it perfectly. it brought tears to my eyes and saddens me to know so many of us go through this. i wish i could heal each and every one of us.

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  6. You described it so well. Exactly how it is for me and how I feel. Thank you xx

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    شركة كشف تسربات بالدمام
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    ReplyDelete

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