So I am about to go on another tangent about eating disorders. You have been warned. Read on or don’t. But if you do, just remember that this is my story and these are my thoughts. I am still trying to figure all this out, and if this post (or any I have written) come across as “wrong” in any way, like I said I am learning.
I have said this before, but I often feel like my eating disorder was not real. That I imagined it all as a ploy to hurt myself more. To make my life even more eff-ed up than it already was. I sometimes feel like a fraud.
I read this article today because it was the story of a girl with an eating disorder. I like reading other girls’ (and boys’) stories. However, I also don’t like reading them. I know, I know, how does that make any sense? To put it quite frankly, I don’t like reading them because they make me feel like my disorder was nothing. That it did not actually exist.
I look back at pictures of myself, and I see a difference from before to during to after (and “after” is relative because I still have raging disordered thoughts more often than I wish). I see a difference because I am obsessed with my image: how big my thighs are, how much of and hourglass figure I have, what my knees look like, how many chins I can have/make myself have…The list could go on. I use the phrase “am obsessed” because it is in the present tense. I don’t know if I consider my eating disorder itself in the present tense, but my disordered thoughts sure are. Whether or not I act on them is still up in the air. Some days, I tell myself that I am being stupid and a bowl of cereal and a spoonful of peanut butter cannot sustain me for the whole day. Other days, though, I cannot even imagine eating yogurt and granola, half a peanut butter sandwich, and an omelet in one day. Like right now, I think I am being stupid, but in an hour? That answer might change.
But if you met me now and stalked my Instagram (as I did the other day because I wanted to know what all our New Members would see when they followed me back. Love you already, Beta Epsilons!), you would think I am crazy. I was not overweight before, I was not underweight during, and I am neither of those now either. It was just the Freshman 15. I look fine.
And that is what I think when I see pictures of me in the midst of my disorder. I. Look. Fine. I do not look skeletal, like most girls you see. My ribs don’t protrude. I still have thighs. I do not have sunken eyes.
Nobody noticed that anything was wrong with me. A few people commented on my weight, but it was to say I looked good. Or it was the ambiguous “My mom said you look thinner.” To that, all I needed to do was shrug and say something like “Oh, I am trying not to eat fast food anymore. It makes me a little nauseous.” And all was well.
Nobody was concerned about me. Hell, I was not even concerned about me. I look back at photos of me, and I miss my body. I did not look disordered on the outside, so nobody batted an eye. I want that body back.
Oh, hey! Found my disordered thoughts! There you are, crazy person.
But it’s all in my head, and that is why nobody sees the problem. That is an issue among all mental disorders. How do you tell someone that you are broken inside? You don’t, you just take it out on your body. Letting–I actually think willing is a better word–my depression Bad Thoughts turn into an eating disorder was my way of throwing myself deeper down a black hole. That black hole is all I knew. Sometimes it is still all I know.
But I still feel some sort of invalidation because nobody ever saw anything wrong with me and what I was doing to myself. Because of that, I feel like I need to take it further. That I need to fully relapse to prove to people that I am not okay. I need to starve myself. I need to cut my wrists. Sometimes that seems like the only answer.
I know it is not. I know that. But sometimes we forget what we know, and I suddenly think these are good ideas. Acting on them is a different story.
I still think my eating disorder might not be real. I still think that I might have made it all up.
This is one of those posts that I want to end on a positive note. I want to tell you that I am better now, that I am thriving in recovery. There are days when this is true. There are days when I am 678% down for a donut (except I cannot have any right now because of Lent). But those days are not as consistent as they should be. They are not as consistent as they used to be.
But I can tell you that things are not as bad as they were. Not nearly. And that gives me hope, which I did not have before. And right now, that is all I can ask for. It is what I can base my progress on and, most importantly, move forward from. I have enough will in my arsenal to make it out of this, I just need to tap into it.
Is that positive enough? Right now it needs to be because that is all the optimism I’ve got on me.
Trying for better days, Ash