A note: these are all purely my experiences, and I will put a trigger warning on this, as it talks about the effects of anorexia, but by no means does it make your suffering any less by not experiencing the same.
I haven’t written about anorexia in a little while, possibly because it doesn’t feel close to me anymore. It doesn’t feel like it’s in my life. I go days and weeks without thinking about how I should eat less or exercise more or be a different size. I am finally at peace with eating, with exercise, with myself.
I came across some old pictures of myself, just of my little gaunt face, a couple of months after I’d left hospital, well into a relapse, or as I will refer to it as anorexia take 2. It wasn’t relapse because I was never recovered. But anyway, I digress. I was alerted to a 2 year old picture on Snapchat and when I looked, there I was, and I didn’t just look ill, I looked miserable. And trust me, it’s no surprise.
Anorexia is sometimes seen as something privileged people have, something that’s just not true. It’s seen as glamorous, something had by supermodels who just nibble at food. I have never been through something less glamorous.
Waking up in the middle of the night covered in sweat was not glamorous. Neither was having to go to the GP because I was so scared I had impacted bowels because when little goes in, little comes out. Neither was the carpet burn I had on my chin from collapsing at home. Or the amount of snot I must have produced when sobbing at every tiny thing – that wasn’t glamorous. Or getting into arguments when someone said anything to do with food or exercise. Or having someone watch you go to the toilet in hospital. Neither were the enormous blister I got on my foot and my swollen other foot I got from running all day in hospital.
There are so many more things that weren’t glamorous about anorexia and hospital but I guess what I’m trying to say is, anorexia isn’t a choice, but stigmatising it and romanticising it is. It is a horrible, insidious, awful illness, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I am so far away from it now and it is possible to come back from it.