What you’ll be reading is something one of my close friends told me and I am sharing this because the world needs her voice to be heard.
It starts with thinking about food. All the time. You would think that having an eating disorder would mean that you thought of anything else except food, but it’s quite the opposite. You think about food all the time and you think about how you are eating too much, even though you are probably eating a lot less than what you should be. You start thinking about food as numbers, about how many calories are on your plate and about how many hours you’ll have to spend in the gym to burn them all off.
But that’s not it.
Eating disorders are much more complex than that.
Sometimes you are binging, eating more than you should be. Other days are drastically the opposite and you are starving yourself and trying vainly to keep yourself occupied so you don’t have to think about food. But it is always in your head.
What makes eating disorders so easy to relapse back into is because they are so hard to talk about, especially if you are talking to someone who has never had an eating disorder. It’s much more than simply wanting to be skinny; it’s about needing to aggressively control yourself. It’s an outlet of bullied self-infliction, it’s an aftermath of stress or depression, it’s a pathway to insomnia, and it’s something that affects every person who has had it differently.
One thing that makes it so hard to talk about is that after you tell someone that you have an eating disorder, they start seeing you as just someone who has an eating disorder. You are flattened in their minds to just one, impressionable aspect of yourself – your mental health condition.
Eating disorders have become so common because the aesthetics of the human body are embedded into young minds as notions of success. Images on social media distort the view of your body until instead of seeing yourself in the mirror you see the amount of food you have consumed.
Eating disorders are that part of mental health that are not only romanticized in some cases, but also promoted by so many online platforms and even by our peers. You will not know the effect of a single comment until you have stared at your body, reducing its value to that comment playing in your head over and over again.
Over and over again.
Until you relapse.