*TRIGGER WARNING*: this post contains some thoughts on my experiences of having anorexia. Please DO NOT READ ON if you are feeling vulnerable to triggers on this topic.
It is also worth noting that it took me a long time and medical help to get to where I am today and that I am in no way an expert on the recovery process. If you feel as though you need help with an eating disorder, I urge you to seek professional medical help.
“I’m not wearing a bikini. I’m fucking huge.” Standing in front of a full length mirror, ribs and hips protruding; I was brought to tears at the thought of going to the beach.
“You’re beautiful, tiny.” My then boyfriend tried to convince me. I laughed horribly and, shaking my head, pinched the skin on my thighs hard. With a shake of my head, I padded back into the bathroom.
Every single day I relied on my weight to tell me what mood I was going to be in. All other variables (the weather, my health, my friends, my family) had minimal impact, everything was about the number on the scales.
If I was lighter than the day before; it was a good day: a day of laughing and joking and conquering the world. There was hope on a loss day, I wasn’t as useless as I’d expected to be; I didn’t have to punish myself.
If I weighed the same; it was a bad day. If I had gained; I wasn’t allowed to eat.
Having kicked several Topshop dresses out of my suitcase in favour of packing my scales, my eating disorder was ruining an otherwise perfectly good trip to Orlando.
I had neither love nor respect for my body. I saw it not as a source of power and privilege and life, but as the only thing standing between me and happiness. If I could only lose “a little bit more”, I would be OK and I could start living the life I wanted, wearing the clothes I wanted to, having the sex I wanted to have and being a better person.
I didn’t realise that I was torturing myself in malnourishment. I failed to acknowledge the fact that the transition from a size 10 to a 6 and then eventually shopping in New Look for kids had been a painful one; that my body didn’t naturally want to be there at all. The only thing I recognised as a reward was seeing a lower number on the scales.
I had moments of clarity; I’d see pictures or stories about anorexia and say “I totally get it” to myself and I’d eat for a few days. But the minute the scales reflected my new found self love, I’d purge.
It’s actually still VERY DIFFICULT to think about that time in my life now. One of the hardest things about having an eating disorder for me was that the praise at getting thinner didn’t just come from me: it came from EVERYWHERE.
“Friends” would comment on my tiny frame with envy and pride; they totally dismissed the idea that I was ill - they could only see SKINNY. I was an XS in H&M and you could see my spine; it was where we all wanted to be wasn’t it?!
I still have some of my clothes from back then, LORD KNOWS WHY, because I never want to get back to such a scary place... and yet, I suppose a part of me will always need to keep them.
I hate knowing that there are people out there right now who are measuring their worth as a human being (a living breathing human being) by the mass of their bodies. I see so many people on my social media apologising for their weight, or their skin, or their scars and I just wish we weren’t so pressured into seeing the things we hate about ourselves.
The “diet industry” and “beauty industry” literally profits from your self-hatred. They encourage it. They want you to hate yourself so you buy from them. They want you to think that the only way you can face the day is fully contoured and smooth and starved.
They don’t want you to come to the realisation that your body is powerful and that your skin is your soft shell or that the scars you carry are just proof that you survived.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to lotion or makeup or getting your nails done; I think you should celebrate yourself as much as humanly possible. Buy it because it brings YOU confidence or happiness or peace; not because you think you have to.
It took someone else abusing me, to stop me abusing myself.
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