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What I Wish I Could Tell People About My Eating Disorder Right Now

Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

What I wish I could tell people about my eating disorder:

That I have it. That I am ashamed and scared to eat in front of you because you’ll think I’m eating too much or too little, and I’m terrified that I’ll lose control. Yet other times, I eat more than you would think possible in secret, or I go days without eating. That I am constantly at war with myself, looking for excuses to eat, looking for excuses not to eat, doing everything to hide my disorder, living in fear of someone finding out, yet wishing the right people would.

That I am so ashamed of it and yet I love it so much and that makes me too scared to let it go.

I wish I could tell them about the terrible night headaches when you eat after restricting for days. The acid reflux, the sick and bloated feeling that night and the next day.

The pain when you can’t go to the toilet because you’ve eaten so little. When it’s easy to go, the tears that come because it tells you you’ve eaten too much.

The horror of hearing your digestive system kick back into action, reminding you constantly that you’re letting yourself down, giving in, being an undisciplined, uncontrolled, greedy person.

The hatred for yourself because you can’t even stick to something, be it your recovery plan or your brain’s own plan for how it wants you to live.

The pain of your calloused and broken skin and raw throat when you’ve been sick too often.

The panic inspired by any unexpected food appearing.

The mix of feeling horrible and rewarded when you feel faint and wobbly doing your usual exercise.

The brain space it takes up to constantly plan what you are or aren’t going to eat. How you can avoid eating at each occasion that comes up, and what you will do if you have to eat. What you are allowed to eat based on a complicated equation of how your body is that day, how you want it to be and what your recovery plan says. What will happen if you fail to follow your brains plan.

I’d tell them how eventually it even seeps into your dreams; that you will plan and angst and deal with exactly the same problems in your sleep, when they haven’t even happened.

How it drains away at your brains ability to function, stealing your memory and attention.

I’d tell them that right now I don’t want to get better, but I know I must. A healthy me would want me to get better. I would want anybody else to get better. But right now I am too scared of what will happen. I don’t have the fight in me to get past all the triggers and difficulties in daily life. I need somebody to fight for me, to take me out of the world for a while, let me breathe and work out how to live. Then I could come back armed to learn how to live healthfully in the world again.

 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.

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 Getty Image via Grandfailure