I spoke fluent food labels for months
For years I spoke fluent food labels and calories. Trapped in a world dominated by food, scales, calories and bathrooms after dinner. I thrived off hiding food, secretly purging. My eating disorder blinded me, lied to me, ruined me, broke me. The moment my parents found out, it felt like my world was coming crashing down.
I thought it was rock bottom but it got worse. Months went by, too many sleepless nights, too many days without food. I tried to talk to my friends at school – on one occasion I said something about calories, it wasn’t attention but a desperate cry for help. I needed help, I wasn’t going to make it to the other side of this alive otherwise. I’d always been on the underweight side but I ate anything I wanted, I needed control, calming and protection and I found this in restriction. Yes, I was the girl who threw up her feelings and starved herself to numb the childhood trauma. Not once was I formally diagnosed but I gathered I had probably developed EDNOS or anorexia with bulimic tendencies. I never thought it would happen to me.
People around me told me I had lost a lot of weight or they didn’t notice anything at all because after all winter uniforms were too good at hiding my starving little body. The whole time I wasn’t sure who to believe after all I was convinced I didn’t have a problem, I didn’t look any different. I spent hours denying there was a problem because if I was still the same person there couldn’t be a problem. The truth was, I had never ever felt more unlike myself. The hardest thing through it all was completing a unit of Nutrition in PASS (physical activity and sports studies). Luckily I was away for the lesson they talked about eating disorders. There was an activity where we had to calorie track what we ate for 24 hours – little did my teachers know I made up all the food I tracked that day. They weren’t also to know that I had been calorie counting for months.
Eating disorders aren’t a new concept, let alone rare. However, people are still ignorant to the fact that their words can hurt and cut real deep. More insensitive things were said to me than positive and encouraging. I let it get to me but then I realised it’s not their fault – they don’t understand, they aren’t going to if they haven’t, or aren’t currently experiencing one.
Recovery seems like the enemy, it is terrifying. It seems like it’s going to hurt you but you have to realise that nothing in the world will hurt you like your ED will. Eating disorders are serious and life threatening mental illnesses. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, believe me it won’t but I’m going to promise you that it will be far, far beyond worth it. One of my friends who experienced an ED said “once you’re out of that mindset you’ll never look back.” Recovery is possible. I believe in you.