Recently, I realised how many people are oblivious to the harsh reality of an eating disorder. People only see what sufferers put online and more often than not, what we see on social media isn’t an accurate depiction of the truth. So many people without an eating disorder don’t know how to act around people with anorexia and don’t understand our reasoning behind things so this post is my attempt to share my reality of living with anorexia, in the hopes of clearing up some common misconceptions.
My eating disorder holds me captive. I am a puppet and anorexia is the puppeteer. I think I am in control, I think I am making decisions but in reality, I know that it isn’t me. Anorexia is pulling the strings and dictating how I live my life. Anorexia is holding onto the strings with such force that no matter how hard I try, I cannot pull away. If you try to cut the strings, I will break, I won’t gracefully change my life and learn to live properly, I will crumble to the floor. The strings that anorexia holds may be controlling me, but they are also the only thing holding me up and that is why I find comfort in my eating disorder. I know that I am being manipulated and I know that I am not in control but I cannot stop this. I cannot simply pull away. I need to gradually loosen the strings and eventually when I let go fully, I won’t fall, I will fly.
The numbers on the scale mean a lot. I obsess and fixate over that measly number more than you could possibly think. It doesn’t leave my head and with every single bite I eat, I am reminded of that number. I know that knowing the number is bad for me but it isn’t something I can stop. It isn’t a habit I can just snap out of. It is an obsession.
When you walk past a mirror, you probably don’t bother stopping, but I have to. I will spend hours picking away at my imperfections, wondering when I will finally be satisfied with the way I look. I will look at every single inch of my body and pray that it changes because I can hardly stand to live with myself.
When I go to brush my hair or take it down from a ponytail, it falls out. Not just one or two strands, but a whole clump with fall into my hands. A clump of brittle, dead hair will fall out whenever I try to brush it and I can’t stop it.
I go outside wearing layers in almost any weather. My body is deprived of nutrients and there is no energy inside me to heat myself up. The only way to warm me up is with external heat. In winter, I wore two different sets of pyjamas, three pairs of socks, and had to cover myself with a duvet and a blanket, despite my heating being on full.
I can feel myself slowly dying. I can feel my heart racing whenever I walk up the stairs. I can feel myself bruising whenever I sit down. I can see my vision fading when I stand up too quickly. What a lot of people without an eating disorder don’t realise is that in a lot of cases, sufferers know they are dying. I know that I could go to sleep and not wake up one day but I cannot stop.
I am not in control. Anorexia is.