"Okay. Today's going to be a good day. You're going to be strong. You’re not going to eat," I tell myself as I stand in front of the mirror in my underwear. I turn left. I turn right. I twist my knees in to make my thighs look farther apart. I count my ribs, wishing I could see them all outlined against my skin without having to suck in my gut. I grab my upper arm, measuring how far around my hand can clasp.
There are two people inside of me.
This isn’t as easy as people make it out to be. People tell me to just be more active. To change my diet. Go to the gym. Work out. It isn’t that simple. It is never that simple.
I was 8 years old when I started my first ever diet, Weight Watchers. Before I had finished growing or hit puberty, I was already trying to make myself smaller. This sparked a long journey of crash dieting, disordered eating, starvation, and body dysmorphia. My parents were only doing what they thought was best, guided by the poor advice of a medical professional. If you are familiar with my story, then you know that they had already lost one daughter at this point. I think my changing body was a reminder of my mortality to them. I think we were all existing in a system that preyed upon this fear. I already had so much of my childhood taken away from me through the trauma of losing my little sister. Diet culture was right there to swoop in and take what little childhood I had left.
Do you remember the saying, "the universe will never present you with something that you can't handle?" It's true. A part of recovery is learning to soothe yourself through your triggers and learn to un-trigger yourself. But guess who can't handle your triggers, moreover, is more than ready to NOT handle them in a way that serves you best? Your eating disorder can't. I cordially invite you to keep reading if you want to learn how recovery is going to teach you to listen to yourself, trust yourself, and honor yourself more than you ever could have if you didn't develop it in the first place.
As a young woman, I’m made very aware of the social pressures that women face in terms of body image. Like most, I’ve kept an eye on my girlfriends and watched out for signs, such as restlessness and refusal to eat, that all hint at a potentially dangerous eating habit. However, last week, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I guiltily wondered why I hadn’t been as concerned with how my male friends perceive themselves.
Disclaimer: I am not an accredited nutritionist, researcher, or mental health professional. Everything within this article is pure speculation based on brief research, and without personal examination and consultation with a few professionals, I cannot say that anything here should be taken as fact.
This is my personal story of Anorexia.
I am going to start this off with a little bit of personal history, but before I do, I wanted to add a couple of trigger warnings. I know that talking about this stuff can be triggering to some people, and specifically people in my audience, and I want to make sure that everyone is safe. So in light of that, I would like to state the following:
Anorexia recovery is an uphill struggle; let me tell you why its worth it.
I was recently asked what my favorite comic book was when I was growing up. My answer: I didn’t read comic books growing up. They seemed to feature mostly ducks and mice in outfits, which unnerved me and so I took my shaken soul to other forms of reading material like Laura Ingalls, Astrid Lindgren, Daphne Du Maurier, Oriana Fallacci, even Erica Jong. (TOOOOOOO YOUNG. NOT READY. STILL NOT READY)
I would just like to preface that this is my real diary that I have kept for several years. As a person who has experienced many different mental health issues within that time, I find it interesting to go back to where it all started. I've also realized how helpful it is for people to see a glimpse of what certain disorders are actually like—no dramatization included.