What people don’t talk about: eating disorders

Thursday 9 February

Eating disorders are almost glamourised by people on social media. “It’s a quick fix to get skinny!” “Just starve yourself and you’ll get there!”. The truth is an eating disorder is one of the worst things anyone could have to deal with.

The thought patterns are drilled into your mind; all you can think about is food and exercise, calories and miles. You become consumed by this way of thinking and it’s as though you can’t break free. A good metaphor is that an eating disorder (for me, anorexia), is a parasite, it’s someone else, living in your brain, controlling you. It takes time to weave that out of your brain, and to be honest, it never goes away, it just becomes easier to cope with.

During the darkest depths of my ED, the worst thing is that I wasn’t myself. I never smiled, laughed, joined in on social occasions. I was totally and irrevocably consumed by my own thoughts – when am I next going to work out? How long can I go without a meal? It was exhausting. I pushed nearly everyone away. Some people understood that I was hurting and didn’t take it to heart, others didn’t understand in the slightest. You lose yourself completely to the illness.

I couldn’t sleep. I was always constipated and bloated, because everything I did eat, my body held onto, so I looked like I was pretty much pregnant. That made me hate my body more and at the time I didn’t realise that the only fix was to get better and actually eat.

On top of that, my acne was awful, my hair was thin and gross, my skin easily bruised, and I was always cold, even in the summer.

So, you see, eating disorders are not pretty. They make you look and feel disgusting. And the only way to overcome that feeling, is to get better and work towards recovering. And that process, as I have said time and time again, never ends and may feel just as exhausting as living in the depths of your eating disorder. But even on those days where I was to relapse, to gain control over something, to go back to my “skinny body”, I remember this: nothing is as bad as those days where your ED controlled you. Your worst day in recovery is nowhere near as bad as your worst day with your ED. Sometimes this is hard to hold onto, when I’m convinced that I want to relapse. And the past few weeks, that’s all I’ve wanted to do. But I’ve pushed through, because that’s what recovery is all about.

This post is deleting the stigma around the glamorisation of eating disorders. They’re not fun. Even if you think it’ll get you your “dream body”, it won’t. You keep pushing and pushing until the numbers on the scale fall lower and lower. It never stops. The only way to stop it, is to gain the weight again, push past the fear, and recover.

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