Anorexia

Anorexia

10th Grade

I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that something was wrong with me. My body was changing – for the worse, yet the only thing that mattered to me was the number on the scale. I paid no mind to the fact that I was starting to feel less and less energetic as the days passed along, everything seemed tiring and dull, even talking seemed like such a weary activity that I would just be silent and never actually participate in a conversation. I was in the worst stage of my eating disorder at the age of fifteen. I would walk down the hallway in school and get stares from everyone because I was so sickeningly skinny. People were coming to my friends and asking them if I was okay.

I wasn’t.

Many times I would think about how I could actually improve – start eating like a normal person and not worry about the way I looked. These thoughts would come and go and, sometimes, I would act upon those thoughts and take an action. I would go out and eat an actual meal…but then the guilt would consume me and I’d start to feel terrible. I would think of myself as a failure “how could I have done that to myself?” and for the next few days I would be even more strict with myself. I was trapped and I didn’t know how I could get out of the damaging cycle.

Lying seemed so easy then and I was getting better at it day by day. I was lying to my best friends, lying to my parents, lying to my teachers; they were all so concerned about me but I just couldn’t stop myself from going down the wrong path. I was frustrated and tired and I even though I wanted to change the voice inside my head would always win and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness.

Overtime things only seemed to get worse and I was unaware of how badly I was harming myself. As my weight continued to go down, I began to lose all of my strength. My skin was pale and dry, my hair was falling out, my nails were brittle and I didn’t look anything like a 15 year old. I was starting to become more and more irritable and bitter as the days went by and I was no longer the bubbly, happy person that everyone knew me as.

As the time of my GCSEs came around, I decided to make a change and I began to eat more food simply because I wanted to do well on my exams. I was still eating very little for a girl of my age, but it was certainly a huge improvement for me. I was beginning to get some colour back on my skin and my energy levels started to increase. I was on the right path.

I knew I had to make this change for myself because I didn’t want my scores to be affected as a result of my eating disorder since it had already harmed every other area of my life: I didn’t have any energy or strength and so I performed worse than ever in my golf tournaments, I was bitter and mean to all my friends and family since the topic of each of our conversations always revolved around how sick I had become, and I was no longer interested in any of my hobbies as the only thing that was of importance to me was food. I knew that if I didn’t perform well in my exams, my future would be harmed and I wasn’t willing to take that risk. Something switched during that period of time and I was no longer concerned about food as much as I was about writing the biggest exams of my life yet.

And that is how my journey through recovery began.

A Healthy Relationship With Food

A Healthy Relationship With Food

I have never known what it’s like to eat like a ‘normal’ person. I have days where I go out to eat with my friends and family and I wonder how they’re so relaxed and unbothered when it comes to ordering an item off the menu. I have spent hours thinking about what I will eat for my next meal(s) and have spent an exceedingly large amount of energy thinking about which diet I should follow next so that I can be skinny and finally be ‘happy’.

My journey to lose weight was in the ninth grade where I created a weight loss plan for myself. I followed a strict diet and exercise schedule religiously and surely enough the weight came off. However, it was only a few months before I started to become obsessed with weight loss and exercise. I denied myself the pleasure of eating my favourite foods, I’d skip dessert outings with my best friends, and I tried my best to avoid dinner parties because I wanted to skip a meal. From the outside, I was getting thinner and thinner by the day, but mentally I was falling apart.

Anorexia is a serious disease that affects so many girls around my age. We starve ourselves, weigh ourselves 5 times a day, spend ridiculous amounts of hours in the gym, and barely eat anything. It’s a serious mental disorder that causes so much pain to not only ourselves but also to our family and friends. I know that I missed out on three years of my life that I could have spent making memories and doing the things that I loved, but instead I wasted it by counting how many calories I’d eaten that day and hating myself because I should’ve spent more time exercising.

BED is something that I still struggle with and I have just recently started recovery from this disorder. I say ‘recently’ because all my previous attempts at recovery were unhelpful since I believed that recovery meant starting a new diet and losing weight. There has been a lot that I have learnt in the previous year about forming a healthy relationship with food and I believe that I am finally understanding the reason why diets don’t work.

In the end, it’s not about the way I look in the mirror and it’s not about whether I fit into a size 0 dress. My appearance and weight will continue to change and that is something I need to accept. What matters is that I am healthy and strong, what matters is that I listen to my body and it’s cues, what matters is that I take care of myself and learnt to love and accept myself for who I am. Any kind of change that I want to make for my body should come from a place of love and care, instead of a place of hate and shame.

goodbye, Ed

goodbye, Ed

9th Grade

At the age of thirteen, I was becoming aware of the way I looked. I wanted to be pretty. I wanted to fit in.

So I created a plan for what I was going to eat and I began to follow it religiously. At the time, I was also training for golf whilst eating as little as I possibly could. Weeks passed by and now I was starting to lose some weight. I was actually getting stronger and healthier, I was feeling confident and feeling good about myself. So the results began to show and I started to receive compliments from friends and family. I was proud of myself. I wanted to be better and lose more weight.

Lose all of it.

So that’s how it began. Over the months, I began to eat as little as 300 calories per day, I was exercising vigorously and eating as clean as I possibly could. This is when everyone began to notice that something was wrong. Now I was getting really harsh comments from everyone around me –

“You look sick.” Why did you lose so much weight?” You look terrible.”

And I know that some of those remarks were coming from a place of concern and worry, but it certainly didn’t change anything. In fact, it only made me feel worse about myself, and feeling this way made me eat even less.

Looking back at that time, I realize that things were not right since the beginning of my weight loss journey. I didn’t want to be healthy, I just wanted to be a stick-thin figure. My intention to lose weight was coming from a place of self-hatred, I wanted to change the way I looked, not for myself but for everyone else around me. I wanted to be accepted and the only way I thought I could fit in was if I lost weight.

At the same time, it felt good to be in control of something.

A lot of things began to happen to my body and my mindset throughout that year. A lot of bad things.

Even though I toning up in the start of my entire weight loss process, a few months down the line I began to feel weak and tired all the time. It was hard to keep up with conversations. Talking, for even a few minutes, was a drag. My skin was pale and dry. My hair was falling in clumps and had lost all of its shine and thickness. I lost my period (and didn’t get it back for the next three and a half years).

I was, of course, oblivious to all of these changes and paid no mind to them. The only thing that mattered was the number on the scale – and it had to be the lower and lower every time I stepped on it.

To be continued