Anorexic. I never liked that word, spoken as if anorexia is all that one is, as if you are the disease. It has become a popular choice of conversation topic amongst our group these days, Facebook photos being flashed around the group as the girls gasp in awe and disgust at the bony frame of that girl. “She is not anorexic, she has anorexia,” I tell myself as I bite back the anger I feel at the use of the word like an adjective, and I am brought back to the years I spent in the depths of my anorexia.
Depression, loneliness, self hatred, self harm, fear of food and a desire to starve myself to death. Daily weigh-ins, collapsing during exercise, swallowing handfuls of laxatives and sleeping in the bathroom. The scales decided how much hatred I should swallow for the day and how many laxatives I should take before bed. That was my life. I was desperately grasping at something, that would make me forget about the chaos unfolding around me. The pursuit of thinness and control did just that. Three years later and three months in hospital and I am doing much better.
I look okay. It doesn’t mean that I am okay. I am not over anorexia; I am living with it. Some days are harder than others, and I am ready to trade recovery in for that other me, that controlled me.
But I am going to say the thing I am not meant to say; I still miss it, because conversations about “anorexics” make these thoughts all the worse, make me want to go back there. Maybe I could show everyone that I am strong enough to become that thin again. Maybe they’ll admire me for it.
That’s what I am thinking when you speak about eating disorders as if they are something to be jealous of. You make me miss the disease which threatened my life. You wouldn’t speak about cancer they way you speak about eating disorders, show me a photo of a cancer patient and comment on it as if it is something to admire. I did not want to let go of my disorder, I had to. I never thought I was good enough to be “normal” again, I thought death was my ticket out. When you show me a photo of that girl I am comparing myself to her, I think I was never as good as her, as thin as her. You make me struggle to love, even like myself. Because everyday is already a battle not to revert to my old ways.