Control, it’s something I never felt like I had. Control was something I thought I would achieve by starting a calorie deficit for weight loss, which turned into anorexia nervosa. The truth is, I never felt more in control than when I began the road to eating disorder recovery.
I developed a very unhealthy mindset towards eating, starting from the age of 9. The thing that impacted my mindset the most from such a young age was diet culture, both amongst my family and amongst the media.
Diet culture is so prevalent in our society that people tend to forget how toxic it can be. I promise you, your body is not the problem. Diet culture is the problem.
Always being compared to others played a huge part of what led to my unhealthy mindset. Being compared to siblings, being compared with former dance teammates, to being compared by other people, this turned into me continually comparing my body with others. Being an extremely competitive person didn’t help this.
The need for control, the combination of constant comparison, and diet culture is what led to my eating disorder. The voice of anorexia inside me was a demon, telling me that I need to lose weight.
It became the only thing I could focus on. The voice was growing stronger and stronger, I told myself that I would stop my restrictive eating once I reached _____ pounds (insert “goal” weight, which was always changing).
I told myself I would be happy once I reached a certain number, but I was certainly never happy with that voice in my head. True happiness will never be achieved by losing weight.
Aside from weight, other physical aspects were changing. My hair was thinning, I felt weak, I never had any energy, the previous sparks that filled my eyes were replaced with tired and dull eyes.
Physically, it was very obvious something was changing. I tried my hardest to cover up the personality changes. My participation in class discussions turned into me never making eye contact with the teacher and not speaking at all during the school day.
The part of me who previously loved philosophical conversations more than anything turned into me, never voicing my opinions because I didn’t want any attention on me. An eating disorder may help you lose weight TEMPORARILY, but it can also cause you to lose yourself.
One day when I was sitting in my drama class, everything changed. We were watching performances, and suddenly I began feeling an extremely sharp chest pain, the weirdest type of pain I had ever felt.
I tried to ignore it for 15 minutes, but it got too much to stand, and I left class. I had an idea in the back of my head that maybe this was due to my eating disorder, but I tried to convince myself otherwise.
I was taken to the medical room of my school, accompanied by two of my friends (for whom I am forever grateful). After being in my school’s medical room for an hour, my parents drove me to the hospital.
I didn’t know it then, but the hardest day of my life was the absolute best day of my life. The day I went to the hospital was the start of my recovery journey.
Recovery is never a straight path for anybody. My recovery path was extremely bumpy, with many setbacks. Even an adult told me she thought I was faking an eating problem.
The day I went to the hospital is when I was told about many resources I had no idea about previously. At first, I tried to deny that I needed help. The day I FULLY accepted (which took a while) that I needed help was such an amazing day. I may not be fully recovered right now and may have setbacks, but I won’t go back. I’ve never felt better than I do now.
Asking for help with an eating disorder is extremely difficult, but super worth it. If you have a friend you think is struggling, please check in with them. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are so many great resources available.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed & Approved on June 26, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published June 26, 2020, on EatingDisorderHope.com