‘I’m not really sure what’s going on with me and food.’
There are so many misconceptions around anorexia. Most people living with it are misunderstood, brandished as:
- Attention seekers
- Control freaks just to mention a few.
But it is much more complicated than that. Life becomes unbearable during the anorexic experience. Pressure builds up slowly but surely. Many women subject themselves to this choice, life in the pressure cooker.
Where does it come from? As little girls, our roles are often clearly defined and reinforced by our parents, teachers, grandparents and story books. Girls are conditioned from a young age to repress strong emotions e.g. anger, frustration. Like boys, we get angry but are told not to throw toys of hit out. What happens to these those emotions? We bottle them up. Furthermore, we realise something is wrong with us, for having them. Strong emotions become something to be hidden away and not acknowledged
The we read fairy tales and want to be princesses. The prince will come on his white horse and rescue us. Really? Well we’re kids… In late primary school hormones kick in and our bodies change. Teen magazines enlighten us. Our world is broadened by glossy magazines with unattainable ideals of the perfect woman. We want to be like her. An innocent wish …
Many of us look at our mothers and our home life at that stage finding them flawed and shabby. So, it begins, innocently shedding a few pounds. Compliments spur us on. It’s hard work so we look for shortcuts, dieting with exercise will get us to our ideal faster. The restrictions have entered our psyche. Perfecting our path, we modify and add more things to our body maintenance list.
The list grows and time shrinks. More and more things need to be done. It spirals out of control and we struggle to keep up. As we fall behind, shame and guilt take up residence eroding our faith in ourselves even more. The weight falls off, we can’t think straight under the influence of self-imposed dietary restriction, overwhelm and isolation.
People around us notice changes not just physical ones but emotionally and socially. Cornered we become irritable often lashing out. Immediately we feel shame, not knowing where this angry monster comes from. Busy, we isolate ourselves. Friends and family begin to watch unsure of what to do.
There isn’t time for everything: diet, exercise and study.
In a cage lost and alone. It is very hard to reach out for help. It is confronting to admit that things are of kilter. This is my experience. I encourage you to reach out: anorexia is a bad friendship but recovery is possible. Your GP is a good start, ask him/her about their experience with eating disorders. Organisations specialising in EDs (eating disorders) are specialists in this area. On line information, online chats etc., can make those first steps to recovery easier.
Your life is your own. The inner voice of anorexia is not you.