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When Your Eating Disorder Is About the Desire for Control

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For year, the misconceptions surrounding eating disorders led me to believe that I wasn’t struggling with one. I never looked in the mirror to find a distorted view of myself staring back at me. In fact, I have always been content with my body. I have my imperfections like everyone else, but I’m OK with that. What I do struggle with is a persistent fear of losing control; a fear so great that I will go to extreme lengths to ensure that it doesn’t happen; the desire to be in complete control of every aspect of my life at all times.

It’s when I start to lose control that my eating disorder presents itself to me as somewhat of a comfort blanket; except this comfort blanket will soon wrap its way around me, suffocating me. And that charming, friendly demeanor that offered me companionship in the beginning will soon turn sour. I’ll become fixated on controlling the number that appears on the scale. I won’t eat for several days at a time, but I’ll manipulate everyone around me into thinking I am. When I do eat, I’ll purge. But you will never know because I’m so discreet. Baggy clothes become my armor to shield my weight loss, and I’ll continue to crave hunger pains. I’ll start to become lethargic and exhausted, so much so, that I can’t leave my bed to walk a few steps without fainting. I’ll know I’m slowly killing myself, but the desire to stay in control has got its grip firmly around me. And that helping hand that I always seem to reach out for when I’m in distress has once again turned toxic.

You see, my eating disorder hasn’t just gained control of my food intake and behavior, it’s also taken away my voice. I am very open in terms of talking about my other mental health illnesses, yet I feel forbidden to discuss my eating disorder, therefore, not many of my friends are aware I struggle with it. The reason I’m writing this is because I will no longer let this disorder control my voice. I won’t be afraid to discuss it. I will face my fear of losing control straight on and I will aim for a future where I no longer reach out to a deceiving helpful hand whose primary goal is to destroy my health and my chances at a happy life.

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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Thinkstock photo via Andesign101

Originally published: September 15, 2017
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