It gave me safety. The eating disorder became an anchor; it kept me bound and safe, it became the only thing I knew, like a friend. But I was deceived, all of us sufferers are. I got lured into thinking that Anorexia Nervosa was my friend, that the voices in my head wanted whats best for me, and that I’d finally be led out of the fog and set free of the burden I was carrying.
It began in the summer, before the first days of school, as the stress crept in so did she – anorexia or ‘Ana’. At first, the counting, the weighing, the checking were all an escape – it all gave me control. I would end a stressful day totaling my intake, I enjoyed the power it gave me; days passed and with each one, the figures dropped. It became an obsession, I challenged my self just to feel an edge. The numbers were something I knew, they were certain and I knew that their quantity was dependant on me. I felt stronger, empowered, and so I wanted more – like an addict.
Now it had been months, the edge wore off and I lost all excitement – there was just fatigue. At the time I didn’t know, but I was alone with Ana because that’s all she ever wanted. Isolated, lonely and cold; she successfully forced all the people I loved out of my life, she convinced me that I wasn’t worthy and that it was all for the best. Foolishly, I listened and obeyed each of her utterances. I was an avid listener. A host of a demon. She made me unhappy with my self and with others, I lacked in self-confidence and rather than beaming with happiness I beamed with rejection.
Circumstances then became critical and the people around me began to worry, but I was stuck, sinking deeper into the mud. I didn’t realize it then, but I was experiencing huge amounts of pain and anxiety. I became lonely, angry and full of hate for my self. This hate spilled onto the people around me; the ones that wanted best for me only received an undeserved bitterness. She hurt many – best friends, soul mates, family. Ana pushed everyone out of my life, and as she did relations were severed, not even mere strings were left attaching me to anyone. The more I obeyed her the larger the distance grew between me and my loved ones, I knew I was hurting them, I knew they felt my pain just as much as I did, I knew that I was missed. I knew all of this yet I couldn’t let her go. I was scared too – I thought Ana was my rock and I was ready to jeopardize my life for her.
In no time, everything I had worked for and achieved vanished, the way a storm comes and goes, so did my life. The thoughts and feelings became overwhelming, living was exasperating; the control I longed to have was lost. I was lost. All remains of my sanity had evaporated, all that was left of me were mere fumes, the rest of my mind was occupied by her darkness. I couldn’t concentrate, thinking of anything but the food was a struggle and a real challenge – I was obsessed.
I knew my real fight, possibly the toughest of my life, was to begin when I was admitted to hospital on an emergency re-feed plan. These were the darkest of days, lonely in a hospital bed with a failing liver and a heart that refused to beat, I was forced out of my comfort- Anas comfort. However, a bite at a time her grip weakened and I was finally gaining my body back.
Recovery has been both the toughest and most beautiful time of my life, in which I’ve learned so much about my self and gained respect for my body. We are amazing, from the way we are constructed to the way we behave, our bodies only want what is best for us (they are smarter than we know), and so it is most important to let them grow and flourish. I have come to know that restriction will only lead you onto a path of self-hate and pain, it will make you miss out on so many opportunities and memories which, in the long run, you will regret.
Each and every one of us is unique and beautiful, listening to that dumb voice will make you forget those things, hate yourself and fill you with, what will seem like, an endless darkness. You may not believe when I say it now, but combating these loud thoughts will make you stronger, it will show you your worth and most importantly free you of the anchor that has been stopping you from blossoming.
I would not wish an eating disorder upon anyone; not even my darkest enemy, however, I do believe that it has taught me so much about my self and helped me channel my strength. I know that many of you warriors out there are battling many different things – it could be from the darkest depression to maybe not receiving a good grade, whatever your circumstances may be, always remember one thing: we are all worthy of happiness and freedom.