I have anorexia. I know I say “had” all the time, but it’s not something that just goes away. It’s not as easy to control as people think. I can’t even begin to count how many people have told me I’m being stupid. Don’t you think I know it’s not good for me? Don’t you think I’m aware of every last possible side effect and complication that could arise? I am. I know. It doesn’t make it easier to step away from though. See, what people don’t get is that when you finally realize how little control you have over things in your life, the urge to control something takes over. And that’s an excuse many people will use. But I’m aware that I have no control. If I can’t simply step away from it, then I’m still a pawn.
It’s not easy. I first fell into this years ago at what could easily be called my teenage crisis. I was battling depression, severe depression, and learning how to handle constant anxiety attacks. I was a fourteen year old who felt like my life was spiraling out of control. And I stopped eating subconsciously first. Until I noticed that it hurt. But hunger pains have an odd draw to them. They aren’t so horrendously prominent that they take over. They just give you that slight tinge that releases enough endorphins to make life a little better. And once you notice that, you can’t forget it.
Because it fuels a desire to control at least one thing. And I had been struggling with low self-esteem to begin with. I had a few pounds to lose.
But 37 over a summer isn’t good. And when I stepped on a scale to read 102 pounds, I knew I’d hit rock bottom. So with tremendous effort, I pushed myself to eating again. Little by little, I made my way back to a healthy figure that was still 20 pounds lighter than I’d been before the disorder took over. And I thought I’d finally gotten past it. But anyone who has been in my shoes knows that there is no end.
Not too long ago I fell back into a dark depression and stopped eating for a few days. I wanted to get worse than I had been. I wanted it to affect me enough to make up for the years of health. And I grew even more upset when I noticed that I no longer had the will power to withhold myself from food. But every time I saw a mirror, I hated myself.
If I notice I’ve gained a pound, I freak out. Unless I look exactly the way I want, I consider skipping meals. And it’s always my first instinct. There have been days where I’ve been so disgusted I almost purge. And still I can’t find the words to explain it. The feeling of helplessness, yet control, that the disorder gives me.
But you learn very quickly to keep quiet in order to avoid confrontation. It’s when I slip up, the way I did tonight, that people start to lecture. And there’s nothing to be said to avoid it. Because nobody can understand unless they’ve been through it before. It doesn’t just go away because I sometimes feel like I look pretty good. It’s still there. It just sits. And when you have multiple mental disorders, it gets even harder to let go of. That’s my case. I’ve got too many inter-connected dysfunctions to ever really get a hold on any of them.
So instead I write to keep myself from developing anything more.