The Eating Disorder I Hated to Love Didn’t Deliver Its Promise
I’m the girl who used to only follow accounts on Instagram because they promoted healthy eating or showcased photos of beautiful women, whom I wished I could look like.
I’m the girl who followed hundreds, not one hundred, hundreds of “recovery” accounts that focused on organic eating but still posted pictures of extremely emaciated bodies.
I’m the girl who watched the scale every day, multiple times a day, to serve as a measurement of my worth.
I’m the girl who used to count every Goldfish she ate to be sure I wouldn’t exceed the serving size.
I’m the girl who took comfort in her lack of energy, thinking it wouldn’t matter because in the end I would be beautiful.
I spent my days as a cold, sad, hazed girl with an eating disorder. I was bound by anorexia, the inconsiderate voice in my head, always reminding me no matter how beautiful it was outside, how well I scored on a paper or how creative my last art piece was, I wasn’t allowed to enjoy my life. I didn’t know what life was anymore.
I remember the warm, sunny days wrapping up my junior year of high school. I know they existed. I was so mentally and physically deprived, I ached with sadness. I have pictures to remember them, and I remember who I was then. I was a shell. I was dying because I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to hold onto something. I wanted to hold onto beautiful. I wanted to control my body. I wanted to control everything.
Every day, I told others I wanted to be better. Yet, I still seemed to be telling myself not eating and self-harming was the way to make myself the ideal image, the ideal candidate. I thought my eating disorder made me strong. I was disciplined by the teacher that was anorexia. I was obedient, as the dying student with only a hand full of misery to account for.
I will go to hell for saying this, but I loved my eating disorder and the way I felt when I starved myself. I felt so strong, smart and witty for following the rules of my disease. Nothing else mattered. I became so successful, even in the grip of my disease. I thought it was helping me to become better, but those thoughts were never my own.
I think I always knew what I was doing to myself. I recognized the pain of starving, the anxiety it gave me, the tunnel of secrecy it bound me to. Yet even in the pain, I didn’t know I was dying. I saw the number getting smaller, my ribs becoming more prominent and my view of myself shrinking. Why wasn’t this what society promised? They told me I would be beautiful if I was thin.
I was beautiful, and it’s incredibly difficult to say that now, even in recovery. I wasn’t beautiful because of my body. Dark eyes, weak frame and little recollection of who I was. I was beautiful because of the person I was inside. My relationship with anorexia never allowed me to see that.
I personally do not believe in or see my own beauty, but the ones with better eyes than I, have promised to be my eyes until I can see myself. You see, when you have an eating disorder, you don’t see yourself. You don’t see who you are or what you are truly capable of. You not only can’t see yourself, but you don’t know who you are.
An eating disorder isn’t a best friend or a source of encouragement to get the summer body we all dream about. It’s a death sentence. When I committed myself to my disease, I was committing myself to a slow suicide, to pain, to never knowing who or what I was. I have always been about keeping commitments, but this is a commitment that I am more than willing to break.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.