It’s easy for me to see this from my perspective because I’m the one recovering from anorexia nervosa BUT but ButT, I don’t think these are necessarily obvious to anyone else so…
- Anorexia nervosa, my eating disorder [disclaimer (!!!): I’ve said MY because everyone experiences eating disorders differently and I don’t want anyone to think I am assuming I know what everyone else is going through], is NOT about weight. Which, yes, sounds utterly stupid and the opposite of the *typical* eating disorder stereotype BUT it is not. My experience of anorexia nervosa is not to do with weight. Due to my past experiences and how I feel about myself as a result, anorexia nervosa functions so that I am able to disappear. Obviously, this means I do lose weight. However, I have no ‘goal’ weight or ‘BMI’ that my eating disorder wishes I could achieve. My eating disorder exists so that I can do my upmost to take up as little space as possible in this world. Anorexia nervosa isn’t about my weight.
- Eating disorders are not a choice. Eating disorders are serious, stubborn, complex and life-threatening illnesses, caused by a cruel combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors. No one would choose to feel the extreme and intense anxiety about eating certain foods, to the point where it starts to isolate themselves from the people that they love most. No one would choose to eat and consequently feel guilt, shame, and self-hatred. No one would decide to feel completely trapped in the exhaustion and pain of an eating disorder.
- Recovery is OUR responsibility. The harsh reality is there is no quick fix to recovery, and nobody can be forced to recover… yes, physical intervention can be forced upon us, but symptom reduction (support with weight gain/following a meal plan) is not recovery. Professionals cannot make you recover. Recovery is nothing but choices, each and every single day. A series of choices, one after another. You did not choose the eating disorder. But, it is your responsibility to recover. Only you can commit to full recovery. Only you can choose to live your life again. Recovery means accepting responsibility where it’s warranted and relinquishing it where it’s not… assuming too much responsibility causes self-blame, shame and total powerlessness, especially when I realised I couldn’t simply eradicate my eating disorder alone; however, assuming too little fooled me into believing I had no control over my thoughts or behaviours – which, actually, I do. I am responsible for retrieving my freedom.
- My eating disorder is not the fault of anyone else. Anorexia nervosa is NOT the fault of anyone else. It makes me feel sick to my stomach thinking that my parents (and wider family) have searched themselves back and forth, and examined every inch of themselves in an attempt to try and justify anorexia nervosa. Let’s get one thing straight: parents are not to blame for their child’s eating disorder. End of.
Love E x