Want to have an eating disorder?
Imagine waking up in a gut-wrenching panic.
What did you eat yesterday?
There’s an urge to check. You need to check.
You need to weigh yourself.
But you can’t muster up even the tiny amount of energy it takes to pull yourself out of bed- hard to believe considering you’ve been passing in and out of sleep so deep you’re unconscious for the past few days.
You will sleep 14 hours a day.
You wake up cold to your core, ice cold wrapped up in your duvet and sickeningly hungry, a hunger that has lasted for months. All you want is food and warmth.
You’re used to it.
Scales? Not low enough.
School skirt, too tight.
You stand over your heater with your 60 calorie cereal bar, broken into 8 tiny pieces to make the little food you will allow yourself last as long as is humanly possible.
You savour every last crumb.
It’s almost pornographic.
Ready for school?
Of course you’re not.
You’d be a fool for thinking you could ever concentrate. You’re too busy trying to hide the fact that you’re wearing your gloves and scarf indoors from the teachers, you’re sitting on your hands.
You must. Keep. Warm.
That and trying your absolute hardest not to fall asleep at your desk again. That was embarrassing.
You eat your apple and flavoured rice cake (broken into many pieces so that you can eat at the same pace as your friends and appear ‘normal’). You fall asleep again, huddled to the radiator in the corridor.
Warmth at last.
People stare at you as they walk past. Your friends will have to wake you up as it’s time to go back to lessons again. Humiliating.
You struggle hard to even climb a flight of stairs with your depleted energy. But you’re far to embarrassed to ask for help. You need it though. You don’t want anyone to know. They know.
Straight back to sleep. Your body is shutting down.
No energy for homework.
You wake only to have your ‘dinner’- a small bowl of cereal. You must be very very careful not to ingest any of the milk. Never do that. Make the bowl last for 45 minutes while glued to a cooking programme. You need be around food but you must not let yourself eat it.
Back to sleep.
Your mother will come to check on you, peering worriedly from the doorway. She feels helpless.
’I’m so worried about you, please let me help.’
You don’t care at this point. You’re emotionally numb, on autopilot.
You cannot feel any feelings, you’re just- ‘existing.’ A shell of a person.
It’s difficult to get back to sleep as your bones are so uncomfortable on the softness of your bedding. You can feel them sharp and hurting, your hips and spine and pelvis are bruised, your knees are grinding against each other and your whole body is in pain from the stress of the day. Your mind is in pain, numb. You are in agony.
Before long you are asleep again, and you slip back into unconsciousness.
You don’t even remember that you had to be woken up and helped to get dressed for bed, you don’t have the strength to get yourself dressed. Not anymore. You don’t remember what you look like. You don’t remember a lot of things.
As morning approaches, you have to carry out the whole painful experience of just making it through the day all over again.
You can feel yourself fading. You know you are dying, slowly but quickly shutting down.
But I mean this when I say: There’s NOTHING you can do about it. Nothing.
This is the ugly truth of eating disorders. They’re not ‘glamorous,’ they’re not a ‘fad diet.’ ‘Pro-ana’ will not help you or make your life better no matter how much you think it will- nor will being ‘thin.’ This is an illness. It’s real and it’s fatal. Once you reach this stage of such severe malnutrition not only on the body but to the brain as well, the individual is completely powerless and helpless to do anything themselves to stop it. Their brains are literally starved and they cannot think properly for themselves.
This is not my normal positive post, but it needs to be said.
I’m lucky that I got hospital help intervened very quickly at this point and that’s why i’m alive today.
But others don’t.
So I beg of you. Catch the habits early; whether it be yourself, your daughter, your son, mother, brother, friend.
Get them help. It will save their life.