Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Life with an Eating Disorder. . .




An eating disorder.  Unless you are unfortunate enough to have this disease, and yes, it is a disease (just as real as cancer), it is impossible for you to understand what it is like to live with one.  I will take this time to try and explain what it is like FOR ME to live with this disease.

I have suffered from an eating disorder since I was 15.  I am now 42.  An old lady who has lived most of my life with this horrible illness.  I have had ALL forms of the disease...anorexia to the point of weighing 72 pounds at 5'7''....bulimia to the point of throwing up several times per day for years...over-eating to the point of weighing nearly 270 pounds....to my current state of the disease, bulimia nervosa.  I have lost over 100 pounds in the past year. 

Having an eating disorder is a profound example of self hate.  It also comes with a loud voice in your head that NEVER shuts up.  It screams at me all day long, and has since I was even younger than 15.  It says things like "You are disgusting.  You are so nasty ugly.  You are so so fat.  You better not eat that.  If you eat that, you MUST throw it up.  Nobody loves you.  You are unworthy.  You are too needy.  You scare people.  You are a monster.  You deserve this disease.  You deserve nothing good.  You should hate yourself because you are a worthless piece of shit.  I hate you!!  I HATE YOU!!!  I HATE YOU!!!!"

It is a voice that I call ED.  (Eating disorder).  ED is extremely mean to me.  Even though I call the voice ED, I know it is just myself, my brain talking to me.  It is like having a little marine standing in your ear SCREAMING at you all day long.  It is consuming.  So, I may seem normal to people, I may seem normal at work, I may seem normal to my family...but this voice is in my head ALL DAY LONG. 

All. day. long.

You cannot imagine how exhausting this is.  It is all consuming.  Hearing this voice, fighting this voice, and trying to be "normal"...is just simply exhausting. 

The food piece:  I feel extremely fat and nasty.  Even though I have lost over 100 pounds, I am still very much disgusted at how I look.  I am embarrassed to be seen...by anybody.  I feel that I should lose another 30 pounds.  AND THEN I WOULD BE HAPPY.  Or so I tell myself.  My "wise mind" knows better.  But that is what ED tells me.  I try very hard not to eat much all day long.  If I do happen to eat more than I had planned, I have to literally fight the voice in my head to try and shut it up.  It screams at me telling me that I MUST purge.  I MUST get rid of what I ate.  If I can't help myself, and I eat, I will eat enough to make a purge worth it.  I hate purging.  It is hard.  It is dangerous.  It is socially unacceptable.  It is embarrassing.  It is secretive.  It is gross. It is exhausting. It is just wrong.  I know this. 

But I can't help myself. 

You would think that purging would make it "all better"...but then the voice tells me how disgusting I am.  Things like "How dare you eat!!!  How dare you throw up your food!!!  You are so f'n disgusting.  I hope you have a heart attack the next time you do this.  You don't deserve to live!!  Your family deserves better".  And so...the voice...ED...owns me, it seems. 

And then I am consumed with guilt.  Both for eating.  And for purging.  There is no winning with an eating disorder.  I have guilt 24 hours a day.  Nothing I do is the "right" thing.  Like I said earlier...

exhausting. 

Life with an eating disorder is dangerous, embarrassing, difficult, expensive...and exhausting.