Article by Rebecca Shafer
Edited by Maureene Danielle G
Blog Post Layout & Design by Christy Zigweid
Photo made using @WordSwagApp
As I sit here with a blank page, an eager cursor waiting for me to write about eating disorders; I am thinking to myself, "Why did I starve myself for so many years? Why did I exercise every calorie I put into my body? Why was I consumed with every inch of my body?" The answer is simple; my emotions were everywhere, unregulated and I needed a way to survive.
My only remedy at the time for survival was to starve my body, go numb, and not feel anything. I could not think for myself, as my eating disorder thought for me. So a vicious cycle began. I would starve as my anorexia told me I'm fat, ugly, unlovable, and worthless; then I would go for a run to clear my mind. And repeat.
Think about it. Food is an important part of everyday life’s celebrations and disappointments. It is there during baptisms, weddings and funerals. Food brings friends and family together. In contrast, eating disorders are the ultimate source of division.
I am anorexia. I seek to kill. I take the basics of human existence, food and water, and I create terror. The terror that if one calorie "too many" is consumed, then my victims whole being is worthless. Their existence is not only a waste, but a heavy burden to those around them. One is an even heavier burden to those who pretend to care or love them. No one actually cares about my victims; this is the story I engrain into not just their thoughts, but their entire self. Whenever they try to think of love, joy, or hope, I replace it with weight, calories, food ingredients, exercise and body image. It works, too. Not because anyone allows me in, but because I am stronger than any defense. Give me enough time and my victim will starve, pass out, and die. I win. Or better yet, I'll drive him/her mad and he/she will save me the trouble.
In Matilda the Musical there is a song titled “Quiet” that expresses well what it is like to live with a mental illness. It speaks of being around others and hearing noises, but comprehending nothing and becoming agitated by the noises that will not shut up; even after the people are quiet. I highly recommend if you think you know a loved one who may be suffering to listen to this track.
If you are reading this and think someone might be anorexic, look up the warning signs and develop a plan to help them.
I was blessed with family and friends who expressed their concern, forced me to get treatment, and now I am here to tell you about what it is like to be recovering from an eating disorder. This can be everyone’s ending, and awareness is the first step.
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