Scientifically, it has been proven that an anorexic mind takes approximately 8 years to recover which may seem appalling to those who tell those with an eating disorder to ‘just eat’. The fact is that having an eating disorder isn’t simply about starving yourself and wanting to be skinny. So many young men and women fall into eating disorders due to many reasons that result in a poor self image, body dysmorphia and so much suffering and long years of hard recovery.
Struggling with an eating disorder, includes finding yourself slipping into old habits when you see a picture of a skinny girl and wishing that you could be somewhat close to looking like her with the right amount of restriction. It is wearing baggy sweaters to hide the weight you’ve lose and the weight you’ve yet to lose as well as protecting yourself from the cold that never leaves you which can also be seen through your purple/blue fingernails. It’s being the happiest when you lose a bit of weight and crying your eyes out when you gain 0.001kg because it makes you lose hope and makes you feel like you will never be good enough. It’s the constant smoking and diet cokes to suppress your appetite and fill your stomach. It’s that excitement when you realise how you’re below 1000 kcal for the day. It’s the bittersweet pain of hunger and fatigue. It’s that folder of thinspo that motivates you to starve and work out when you want to eat. It’s doing your best to be constantly moving to improve your chances of losing weight. It’s the mall making you hate yourself because you are still not the perfect pant size. It’s the amount of visits to the bathroom because water has replaced all of your meals. It’s the hours of working out to burn a heavy meal. It’s the lies and excuses you tell those around you so that they don’t suspect anything.
But it’s also noticing the clothing you own becoming baggier. It’s the constant cold that you feel that makes you feel dainty. It’s the people you haven’t seen in ages telling you, you’ve lost weight. It’s the number on the scale being smaller. It’s the stomach that’s become flatter. It’s the thigh gap that became bigger. It’s the bones that are now more prominent. It’s the smaller appetite. It’s the paler skin. It’s the sensitivity to anyone’s touch. It’s checking off reaching certain goal weights. It’s successfully finishing a water fast. It’s the rings slipping off your fingers , it’s the hair ties falling to your wrists , it’s being able to wrap your hand around your wrist, it’s seeing your collarbones in pictures.
The danger in this is much more than what you could imagine because unlike any other disorders, this one is addictive. You see results and before you know it you can’t stop which is why you romanticise the sleepless nights , the dying lungs , the yellow teeth , the grumbling stomach , the breakdowns over 100 kcals , the freakouts over when to work out , the worries about what excuse to use this time , the lying to your loved ones , the chance of fainting , the chance of your organs failing , the sinking feeling of seeing pictures of skinny celebrities , the cold that never seems to leave.
No matter how horrible these things seem, we choose to accept them. In fact these are the things that bring us comfort and it may seem crazy but a lot of the time torturing yourself like that seems a lot easier than trying to eat. And the truth is , we have to make the choice every day to recover because just like an addiction, being in recovery sometimes seems so dumb until we actually slip up and realise how much it really hurts.