When I Realized It Wasn't Me Who Was Controlling Anorexia
Anorexia began to develop in my brain at a young age. To this day, I continue to be caught off guard by its compelling deceit and powerful grip over my thoughts, which lead to frequent relapses.
As a child, I thought I decided to have an eating disorder. Consequently, I spent the majority of the next two decades blaming myself for how sick I’ve been. During preteen and teenage years, I truly believed myself when I said, “I can stop if I want. I just don’t want to…yet.”
Then, anorexia surprised me. I was 15 years old and found myself struggling with a mental illness on the pediatrics floor of the hospital, and soon enough at the Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program in a larger city.
How could I have let it get so out of hand? How could I be so weak-willed that I could not even make myself eat?
My whole life had been about control. About controlling people, situations, my surrounding environments, and especially myself and my body. Hence, it came as a grotesque shock to realize this disease had complete control over me, not the opposite, as I had convinced myself. This lack of control is the one symptom that shook me to my core.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
Anorexia has never ceased to surprise me. It has the cunning ability to turn my thoughts against reality. It causes me to forcefully ignore every experience I’ve had and instead re-create a fantasy that “this time will be different.”
The sheer monstrous grip it takes on my physical health, pushing me to the limit of life, time and time again. The endless torment in my head, seemingly out of nowhere, and its ability to play fickle rule games. I lose every time.
One can never win with anorexia. By this I mean there is no way to fully satisfy the illness. Winning comes in the form of freedom. This freedom is bought at the high price of years of torture, and at many times, it feels utterly impossible. Yet, without consistently putting in the hard work to break free, I miss out on perhaps the biggest surprise of all: Recovery.
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