Life with an eating disorder is not glamorous. It is not easy. It brings so many difficult emotions - guilt, shame, worthlessness, sadness. It steals your personality, your friends, your passion for life. It makes you bruise so easy that even sitting down hurts. Life with Anorexia is life-threatening.
This week (22nd-28th of February) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week - an attempt to raise awareness and increase understanding
I am sitting at my desk in the newsroom, watching my colleagues working, preparing for their next report. They seem to be full of energy and not a care in the world about whether they should eat or not or how they look like. Why can't I be like them? I ask myself...
When you do eventually get help after waiting for a long time, you just feel like you are past help, which explains why it is so hard to get better. I felt like I didn't deserve help. The longer you leave a patient waiting, the harder it is to get better.
Of all the therapists I have seen, all the psychiatrists who have treated me (or at least tried to) trying to find out the cause of my eating disorder, one word is always at the forefront. Invisible. Ever since I could remember, I have felt invisible to people. 'Felt' is an understatement. I am invisible. Or at least that's what it seems like to me...
Many of us with eating disorders, like to personify the illness as a separate person or voice. 'Ana' for Anorexia and 'Mia' for Bulimia. Don't get me wrong; Ana is definitely not a 'friend' even though the internal voice I hear says otherwise. Personifying my eating disorder is definitely something that I found rather useful in my road to recovery.
Anorexia's screams are so loud, it's unbearable and it's blocking out all other sounds and deafening me from the world around me. I can't hear anyone, I don't know what they are saying. I am being pulled in and totally absorbed by this illness.
People used to have to search for pro-ana to find the websites but now it's on the #recovery and #healthy hashtags on Instagram. It's scarily accessible. When pro-ana existed as full websites the owner of the site would've known exactly what they were doing.
I didn't care about anything other than food and calories, I couldn't hold a conversation with my family, I lost interest in my passions: dance, fashion, writing and creativity. It all disappeared. I wasn't me, I was wholly anorexia.
When I was in hospital I never thought or knew recovery was possible. I never imagined a day not governed by calories or feeling like a beached whale. I was curious about how people got through a day with eating without calorie counting.