As with lots of Borderline and Mental Illness sufferers, I too have suffered with Eating Disorders. And I guess still do. I believe that once you have one, you always do, it’s how you manage it. Similar to recovering Alcoholics.
For me it started as a way of gaining control. When the abuse started I felt trapped and alone. I felt that I had lost all control of every part of my life. Parents dictated so much, pressure to conform and excel at school then suddenly my soul and heart was ripped from me. I guess in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t turn to drink or drugs, pretty sure I’d be dead by now if I had.
Back then meals become such battles. I kind of enjoyed it though as initially nobody realised, I was living a secret lie and everyone was blinded by my acting skills. I found ingenious ways of hiding and disposing of my meals at home. Sadly, or maybe fortunately, people started to notice. After being admitted to hospital, then discharged, I was watched like a hawk. I had to eat my lunch at school in the head of year’s office. I had to report to my doctor once a week to be weighed. I visited a counsellor every week too. In hindsight it was all laughable. I talked the back legs of my head of year so she barely noticed what I had or hadn’t eaten. I’d fill my pockets before weigh in, the nurse never thought to check. Counselling never got me anywhere as I couldn’t be honest about the reason it had started. I became so weak I barely attended school. On the rare occasion I made it in, I would spend the day sleeping in the nurses station. I was helped into most of my GCSE exams with mugs of sugary tea to get me through them. It started to become weight orientated then. I had a goal weight I wanted to hit, I would do anything to get there. When I looked in the mirror my reflection repulsed me.
When my parents split and we moved away I slowly began eating again. I don’t really remember how it started improving or maybe it was as simple as I’d been removed from the abuser.
That time was probably my most drastic time. However I have continued to use food to manage my ever changes mood since. The sense of control it gives me is unrivalled.
Once I decided that I could not use any cutlery or crockery as I could encounter germs from other people. I would only eat or drink pre packaged items. I lived of pasta salads, you know the ones that come in a little box with a plastic folded fork. I would only drink cartons that came with a packaged straw, I wouldn’t let anything touch my lips that could have been handled by someone else.
Then there was the rainbow diet. Each day of the week corresponded with a colour of the rainbow. For example Monday’s I would only eat red foods, Tuesday’s orange foods, Wednesday’s yellow and so on. I loved this as it was challenging and a great excuse to refuse so many foods.
One time I obsessed so much about consuming germs and calories, I literally couldn’t put any solid in my mouth. It would instantly make me gag. I didn’t like this as my body was reacting without me trying. I wasn’t in control. A fortnight went by with me purely living on liquids.
Yes I’ve calorie counted, done numerous fad diets, taken excessive amounts of laxatives, starved myself, made myself vomit after food, turned vegetarian, tried to survive on multi vitamins and pushed myself at the gym every day of the week. Not one of these has made be feel better about myself long term though.
Recently my eating habits have been more stable. Having just returned from holiday though I’ve been studying photos taken. I’ve got big! I actually need to lose weight. I just weighed myself which I’m managed to abstain from for such a long time. I’ve taken a break from googling “detox teas that help lose weight” to write this blog.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe my eating disorder will always be with me. I’m just deciding which path I’ll follow to lose weight this time.