Eating disorders are real and there are many different kinds – anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating to name a few. Below is a little glimpse into what it’s like to live with an eating disorder:
“Living with an eating disorder is living in a body that wants to nourish itself with a mind that wants to destroy itself. It is looking in the mirror and feeling utter disgust with the person staring back at you. It means dreading holidays, birthdays, and special events because they all involve some sort of mealtime. It is scarred knuckles, swollen glands, shaky hands, an empty stomach and a vomit-scented right hand. It is self-hatred at its finest.
Imagine yourself at 6:00 on a Sunday evening. You’re sitting down with your mother to enjoy a home-cooked meal she spent the last three hours making just for the two of you. She has put together your favorite dish and is trying to hide her concern as she waits for you to take a bite. She is silently begging you to nourish yourself; she spent her whole life taking care of you and now she only wants one thing: for you to take care of yourself. You owe her that, don’t you? You owe yourself that, right? You smile across the table at her and slowly pick up your fork.
“Don’t take a bite of that, you fat pig. You promised. You promised you wouldn’t f*ck up again. You’re going to hate yourself for this later. All night you will suffer, just like you deserve. You’re disgusting. You’re a failure. You’re ugly, pathetic, and your entire existence is an insult to humanity. Self-control, my ass. Go ahead, you f*cking whale. Stuff your face like you always do.” Your mother smiles at you again, gently and kindly, while the dark thoughts bounce around inside your brain like a bird waiting to be let out of a cage. They won’t stop. They never stop.
You take a bite, and the last bit of sanity you had left shatters.
Later, you will hate yourself, just as promised. Your disorder will take over, despite how desperately you fight tooth and nail to see reality. You will step on the scale, fingers crossed, heart pounding, and no matter what the reading is, you won’t be satisfied. You’ll turn around to the mirror to face your worst enemy: yourself. You’ll kneel down in front of the toilet, making yourself sick until you nearly collapse, and then you’ll continue a little longer, just to be positive your stomach is as empty as your soul feels. You’ll stand up, trying to see straight, and look in the mirror once more. And only in this moment do you feel proud of the reflection you see. Only in this moment are you worthy.”
Many people all of the world struggle with eating disorders every single day, but recovery is possible and has proven to be very successful. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please visit NationalEatingDisorders.org for more information and resources. One big step to recovery is self-care. Below is a link for a couple ideas of how to help yourself get better and to remember your self- worth.
You matter and you deserve to be happy and content with your life.