I want to talk honestly. On four different websites this past week, the topic of anorexia has come up, and I've tried to throw my two cents in because hey, I've been there for a good part of my life. Instead of opening any sort of dialogue, I feel like I've been ignored, condescended to, and viewed as a fuck up all because of my anorexia. Now I just feel like I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and no one is listening. Good thing I have a blog :/
Let's start with the myths: 1. I'm fat-phobic. My anorexia didn't start because I wanted to be thin, and that's true of more than half of people with eating disorders. 2. I wasn't raised with loving parents. My family always told me I was pretty. In fact, they built up my self-confidence and independence so much that I consider myself to be a fairly vain person. I've mentioned this before. I love how I look. I love my eyes and my nose and my smile and my laugh and how smart and funny I am. Not an issue. 3. I need attention. No one in my personal life ever found out about my anorexia except for my drama teacher, so I think the attention thing is out. 4. It's a phase. I started food refusal in high school and I've been out for years. My life has stabilized, I'm more comfortable with myself and my paradigms and my world, but I still struggle with my anorexia.
One of the reasons I stopped eating was because my dad has a neurological disease. He regressed and started behaving like a raging alcoholic by the time I was seven (sweet one minute and would smack you the next) and morphed into a toddler by the time I was 19, and he actively pushed to instill in me this phobia that I was going to inherit his disease. My mother tried to keep me away from him as much as possible, and it's because of her and my other family members that I am so self-assured. But, this fear ate at me, and I felt helpless, powerless against my fate. I began failing out of school, falling into depression, writing poems about death and perfect suicides.
Then, I started restricting and refusing food and everything changed. Not eating gave me something else to think about, because hunger was always on my mind, and all my other worries went out the window. I finally had absolute control over something - over myself and my body and my fate. I finally felt free. I finally felt amazing. The depression stopped, my grades picked up, I was more social and exercising all the time.
It only takes a few days of me not eating to have a positive effect on my emotional climate, which is why it's so hard for me not to go back. It allows me to not worry about anything. It allows me to be in control. It's not that way for everyone with an eating disorder, but it's not just about looking thin. There's always something under the surface, so please don't brush it off like someone needs to be told they're pretty twice a day and their anorexia will clear up. It's hurtful and offensive, and eating disorders are about so much more than that.