The reality of an eating disorder… the mind blowing truth.
It is totally impossible to understand an eating disorder unless you have experienced one yourself, the whole concept (to most) is completely alien and, quite frankly, crazy SO *disclaimer* these posts are not written in a rampant fit of rage (because, lets face it, anyone who attempts to understand eating disorders deserves a medal) but in the hope that I can shed light onto such a confusing illness.
Anyone who has suffered or is suffering from an eating disorder will tell you (over and over and over and OVERRRRR again) that they are not just about food. Far from it. Eating disorders are all encompassing and debilitating. The cause (almost always) of an eating disorder is NOT food related. Yes, it is manifested through abuse of food but that is all it is… a manifestation. In the depths of an eating disorder, it is not only your FOOD choices that are limited or controlled but your entire life.
- Butter cannot touch your hands. If you are cooking for other people, make sure you wear gloves so that it doesn’t touch your skin. If you are cooking for yourself, just don’t use it (duh).
- The same goes for oil, a total no go… if this touches your hands it will diffuse through your skin into your body and you will gain weight.
- Don’t eat breakfast because you’ve just put make up on and so the foundation will seep through the pores on your face and give you sufficient calories for the day, and anyway, you’re about to brush your teeth and you’re bound to absorb some of the calories from that toothpaste so wow, f*ck tonne of energy there for you.
- Don’t sit down, you don’t deserve rest and standing up burns more energy anyway.
- You’re exhausted? Ah, it’s because you’re too lazy. Do some more exercise and you’ll be energised again.
- You’ve got chapped lips? They’re sore? Well, unfortunately you can’t use lip balm because it may contain calories that will be absorbed by your lips, or even worse, you might accidentally lick some of it and swallow those ‘unnecessary’ calories.
- Your skin is dry (from the lack of nutrients and vitamins you’re consuming, btw)… No, you cannot use moisturiser or body butter, don’t be so self-indulgent. Anyway, that sh*t will diffuse into your body and hey presto, you will gain weight.
- And, whilst we’re at it, f*ck off showering all together. Okay, well if you HAVE to, do not use soap and for goodness sake do not stand in there for too long, do you really know what that water contains? Do you REALLY want to be absorbing THAT through… osmosis (how scientifically factual).
- If you HAVE to sit down, make sure you jiggle your leg up and down, this low level movement will help you burn extra calories. Anyway, who said you deserve to relax?
- If you have to eat, make sure your food is as bland and boring as humanely possible. You do not deserve to enjoy food. Don’t be so self indulgent.
- Watch other people eating, they deserve food. They are worthy of food. They should enjoy their life, you should not.
- Don’t sleep. Sleeping is another form of relaxation and you might take your mind off ‘me’ for a while, why would you consider that?
- Only participate in social activities if they avoid the prospect of food or drink, and they enable you to burn energy. Going on a walk, or any form of exercise is the only form of social activity preferred.
- Don’t enjoy any time you spend with your friends. If you spend time with them, you aren’t spending every waking second thinking about ‘me’ and therefore you might feel joy. A no go. Sorry.
- Oh and, do not listen to your family. They’re just jealous of ‘me’ and they only want to make you fat. What did you do to deserve them anyway?
Yep. You have probably just read that and thought what a total load of rubbish and bullsh*t. Anyone with a tenth of a brain cell is able to work that out, how irrational, illogical and downright crap. And yet, as someone who likes to believe they have a little more than a tenth of a brain cell, I have had all of those thoughts and many, MANY more. In the depths of the eating disorder, every single aspect of my life has been controlled by the anorexic part of my brain.
Yes, I could write you an essay reviewing whether glucose influences our perception of geographical slant, BUT I could not tell you that my brain is incorrect in telling me not to shower in WATER (and, in the grips of anorexia, nor would I believe you).
The biggest thing I have learnt (and am continuing to learn) throughout my recovery is trust. To trust my family and friends. To trust professionals. And, most importantly, to trust the REAL Emma, logical, rational and functioning Emma. Recovery is about being open and honest. It is about trusting others and it is learning that having a shower isn’t scary.