Well I guess it’s time for me to explain what It feels like being trapped in the head of an eating disorder. Personally, I think it’s funny when people say things like “she just wants to be skinny” or “she should just stop what she is doing… doesn’t she know what will power is? and surely eating disorders are a choice! There is plenty more but I’ll save that for a later date.
Here’s a little insight into how an eating disorder works.
I am going to give it a name.. Bully..so we can clearly identify it. So let’s learn a little bit about Bully... Here are some of it’s qualities!
Firstly, it is very nasty, opinionated, controlling and mean. It thrives off disappointment, self-doubt and uneasiness. It likes to never leave you alone, it always lets you know it’s there, sitting on your shoulder. There is always a comment it leaves with you at the start and end of each day. It never misses a beat, always aware of all the things you do wrong, and all the terrible outfits you put yourself in. It’s just like having your own personal bully who follows you everywhere. You never get a minute alone without it second-guessing your decision, your outfit, your meal or the lipstick colour you choose to wear. Yes, I know it sounds like your crazy right?
Well sometimes you do feel a little crazy and you believe and listen to the voice that makes all these final decisions for you. It feels like you have lost yourself and are on auto- pilot, just waiting for something big to happen to shock you back to reality.
I am going to explain a day in the life of an eating disorder so here goes!
You wake up, you’re tired and really feel like sleeping in, considering you have trained every morning for the last 5 days. Your body is sore, you feel weak and lethargic. It's 5 minutes past your alarm, 5 minutes turns to 10 minutes then all of a sudden….”Good Morning get your fat lazy arse out of bed… last night you ate chocolate and that is going to turn into extra stomach fat you don’t need… MOVE IT!”
Then you find yourself sprung out of bed in your gym gear walking out the door, with your eyes half closed. Your body feeling like it’s going to collapse on the floor, but you put one foot in front of the other and you do it. Then Bully goes silent whilst you push yourself, your legs feel like they are going to give out from underneath you and your completely out of breath on the verge of tears.
You get out of the shower you look into the mirror in disappointment; you look at the fat, the freckles and my white skin. You look at the acne that’s plastered all over your face as a result of purging and you fall to the floor in tears. This is when Bully gets a lot of enjoyment and starts throwing these comments at you “yeah you look disgusting, cover yourself, cover your face”. "You shouldn’t be allowed in public looking like that.”
It all eventually becomes a blur, you get up wipe the tears away and get on with it. You go to pick your outfit but Bully is back..”yuck, gross, don’t wear that it looks horrible…you look so fat!!”
Next you go to make breakfast, Bully says.. don’t eat that toast, don’t have butter, you can’t have milk. You have just trained your butt off but you’re only allowed a banana. Bully is happy with that decision, you get to work and bully starts again, are your sure that’s right?, double check that?, you probably stuffed it up.
You start to feel hungry, bully nope you can’t be hungry, you already had a banana. Just drink some water that will fill you up. So you drink litres of water and you find yourself starving, you’re lacking concentration and you can’t focus.
It gets to the end of the day, so you know how you have already trained at 5.30am this morning. “Yeah well you didn’t work hard enough. You need to do another session.” You race home, chuck you gear on and off you go.
It gets to dinner you are ravishing hungry, so you literally eat everything in your sight, which is a binge episode. You sneak food into your room to eat faster than the speed of light. You lay there feeling hot, uncomfortably full and of course Bully leads you to those colourful comments again. The next minute you find yourself making yourself sick. At this point you feel possessed, like a demon. Bully, who is fully in control of you and you are just completing its request at the sake of your health, teeth, mental and physical wellbeing.
The next morning you are back punishing yourself from your bad choices you made the night before. Bully loves that bit!!
That is just a small snippet into just 1 day of an eating disorder. Now take a moment and imagine working a full- time job and having that going on in your head everyday, yeah I bet your exhausted just reading it.
Now is it really a choice?
I am successfully in my 9th week of recovery from bulimia nervosa, I have relapsed but I don’t let that ruin all my hard work. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, every day I just want to throw in the towel and give up, but I don’t.
I just keep on keeping on otherwise I will never recover and I couldn’t imagine a life living with this for any longer. It is poisonous and deadly, you need to take the power back and keep soldiering on.
I believe I will eventually recover, it will take a long time but if I don’t start I will never make it.
I wanted to write this as I believe it is important to kill the stigma around eating disorders. It’s not a choice but instead it is a deadly illness that takes a hold of you and gets tighter and tighter to the point of suffocation.
I have been very fortunate to have been guided to a wonderful, passionate and strong therapist. She has not once judged me. She helps me see the positives even when I am blind sighted to it all. I think for me the most important thing about her is she understands and genuinely cares!!
I believe without her support, I don’t know If I would even be here writing this. I have been so desperate to have someone who listens to me, let’s me cry, doesn’t judge me and is always reminding me of all the positives things.
She will always help me laugh through the pain. I believe the most important part of recovery is finding someone you connect with and allowing them in, eating disorders try and shut you off to help.
I want to say try so damn hard to not let that happen. The first step to recovery is knowing recovery is possible and with the help and guidance your start to really feel it and believe It. At the end of the day it’s about putting one foot in front of another and repeat. You may fall, trip but you get up and continue or you will never make it to your destination.
Ps: the whole time I have been writing this I have been second guessing myself!!
But I want to share because it’s raw, real and honest.