I had a burger for dinner tonight.
Just a burger, you say. No big deal, you say.
However, at one point in time, this simple burger would have sent me into a frenzy. And the thought of eating beef? A full blown panic attack would ensue.
You see, I had an eating disorder. Anorexia. Had? Have? Do these things ever really go away? I’m beginning to think not, at least, not every ounce of it. Am I at a healthy weight? Yes. Do I have a healthy relationship with food? For the most part. Do I still have the thoughts of an anorexic? Do I sometimes want to go back to those dark days? You betcha. Am I forever going to pay for the damage I have done to my body? Absolutely. Honestly, that is the thing that keeps my head above water, as I’m not sure my body can outlast another battle with that demon.
In my summer class (psychology), we have been discussing eating disorders and I am doing a book report on a memoir of an anorexic. Naturally, this things can be triggering. They can also be eye-opening. Some people think that anorexia and eating disorders in general are not really.. disorders.Some think if these people would just eat, it will all be ok. If they will just get help, it will all be ok. Those statements anger me more than almost any other in the human language. Anorexia is a disease. A full blown, mental disease that takes over your mind and body and makes you do things that are absolutely insane. Anorexics starve themselves. And yeah, it may start out as a desire to get thin but to put it simply, it’s starvation. And starvation leads to death. Anorexics are essentially killing themselves, some more slowly than others. And for those of us who are “recovered,” we still pay the price for the damage we have done. Myself physically, I a have developed osteopenia (in other words, super weak bones), an irregular and erratic menstrual cycle, anemia, chronic heartburn, a stress fracture, a heart murmur, an erratic metabolism, hypoglycemia, among other things. All directly because of or related to my eating disorder. And that’s only the physical problems… never mind the emotional and psychological.
All of this is to say, this is why I do what I do. This is why I’m part of the blogging community. This is why I am pursuing a degree that will allow me to work with people who struggle with eating disorders. I will do anything to prevent others from going through the darkness that is anorexia and other eating disorders. It’s a darkness that for me, never completely has gone away. And maybe you say that someone who still struggles shouldn’t be helping others suffering from the very same thing. But, you see, who else is more knowledgeable and understanding than someone who has gone through the exact same thing. I don’t know about others but the nutritionist I was sent to when I was recovering was everything I didn’t need.. she didn’t understand what I was going through, she gave me a number of calories to eat a day and suggestions of what to eat, and that was that. Needless to say, not much good was done. And so I hope to do the opposite. I want to do good in the world and as corny as it sounds, make a difference in someone’s life. If I help one person, prevent one person from going down the path of anorexia, everything, my struggle, everything, will be worth it.