It’s me, the girl from high school.
I know it’s been a while, and I know that for some of you, the only thing that comes to mind when you hear my names is—the anorexic girl.
And, you know what?
I can handle that but, I shouldn’t have too.
When I was at my worst, I wasn’t able to speak up for myself,— to say the words I should have said when I had the chance.
But luckily for me, I do not believe that chance is lost.
This time around, I have the ability to speak up not only for myself, but also for the 30 million others (in the US alone) who struggle with eating disorders.
To those of you who had my best interest in mind, thank you.
I know that everything you have ever said to me was out of love and concern.
I appreciate that more than you will ever know.
But, here are some things I wish you had knew…
1. “YOU ARE SO SKINNY!”
In the mind of someone with an eating disorder, this means way more than you think it does…
By praising me for my disorder, you are making me want to cling onto it even more.
By telling me that you notice my body, it makes me terrified that someday I may lose it…
That some day I may lose the one thing, in my mind, that makes me special.
2. “WOW, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ACTUALLY ATE THAT! YOU GO!”
I’m already cringing.
Please don’t remind me…I can’t believe I just ate that either.
My disordered thoughts are already bombarding my head.
I really don’t need to hear them said out loud too.
I feel guilty enough as it is…
3. “ I WISH I HAD THAT SELF CONTROL”
This is not self-control, this is self-imprisonment.
Don’t reward me for this,.
And please don’t wish it upon yourself—I promise you’ll regret it.
4. “YOU LOOK SO MUCH BETTER NOW, YOU WERE TOO THIN…”
In eating disorder language… you just called me fat.
Even if you didn’t mean it that way, that’s the way I’ll always interpret it.
You’re acknowledging my weight gain, and although you are trying to praise me for restoring my health…it really just reminds me of how uncomfortable I am in this body.
5. “LOOK AT YOU NOW, I WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN!”
Because I’m not “skinny enough” to have an eating disorder? Because having an eating disorder means you have to be a certain size?
I know you might have meant it as a compliment, but I will never be able to see it as one.
And then there were those whose intentions were only self-seeking…
And here are some things I wish I had said to your not so quiet whispers, not so sneaky actions and not so subtle questions….
1. “DOES SHE EAT?”
Nope, I don’t.
I actually just swallow air…
2. “WOW, ARE YOU NATURALLY LIKE THAT?”
LOL, you’re kidding right?
If natural means avoiding food at all costs, stalking food blogs like it’s my job, counting calories like their going out of style, and spending 3 hours a day at the gym than yea this is ‘Au Naturale’ baby!
Despite the fact that I over heard you calling me, “Twiggy” last night, I’m pretty sure you already knew this wasn’t ‘natural.’
But you just had to ask, didn’t you…?
3. “WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST EAT”
Wow, you’re a fucken’ genius, you just found the cure for Anorexia!
No, you idiot…
It doesn’t work that way, and if it did…don’t you think we would have done that a while ago?!
4. “DO YOU EAT TO LIVE OR LIVE TO EAT?”
Wow, has anyone ever told you how subtle you were?
I mean, I really can’t tell if you’re trying to ask me if I’m struggling with an eating disorder or not…
5. “WHY DON’T HER PARENTS DO SOMETHING?”
Are you serious right now?
“Why don’t my parents do something?”
Well… my parents are currently taking turns, going in late to work, in order to take me to my 3 doctors appointments a week.
They drive back and forth from town to town because the hospital specialized in this field, happens to be almost an hour away.
My parents are doing more than you will ever know…
They are doing everything, but they are not the magic pills to this problem.
6. THAT TIME YOU FOLLOWED ME TO THE BATHROOM…
…. To see if I was throwing up.
Well, I wasn’t.
I was doing my obsessive compulsive ‘body checks’ in the bathroom mirror
Turn to the left, analyze every aspect of my body; turn to the right, analyze every aspect of my body; face forward, analyze every aspect of my body; repeat until you cannot take it anymore.
7. “DOES SHE THINK SHE LOOKS GOOD LIKE THAT?”
No, no I don’t.
I didn’t think I looked good before my disorder, and I didn’t think I looked good during it either, and to be perfectly honest with you—I still don’t think I look good now.
That’s the whole problem…
No matter how small I got, it was never good enough—I was never satisfied.
But at the end of the day, I thank even you—the ignorant ones.
Because, if it were not for those of you, who made my environment all the more challenging, I would not be speaking up and speaking out like I am today.
I am speaking out because recovery is hard enough as it is…
I want you to know that the people out there who are fighting this battle are some of the bravest people that walk this earth…
These people don’t just wake up one day and chose to recover.
They must find the strength within them each and every day to make that same choice, to stay on that same path.
Recovery is a journey; a journey in which even on the worst days— you must remind yourself that you are worthy.
“You don’t just chose recovery once, you have to keep choosing recovery each and every day…”