Ian blogs for us about his experience of coping with an eating disorder.
Write a blog post about your experiences of eating disorders.
“I don’t have one.”
“Oh, it’s like that is it?”
For a long time it was. In fact I’ll still vehemently deny it to anyone who dares to ask or assume. Not because they’re wrong, but because it’s mine. It’s me.
It’s so hard to tell where IT* ends and I begin that even I am not sure what to say. That’s what makes this so difficult. Being quiet it was always fairly easy to hide things. Little things. Things that go unnoticed. Things that ruled my every waking moment.
*Yes, we’re giving it the name IT. That’s how I refer to IT. Ironically saying the real name out loud leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Most of the time it’s okay. It’s there. But it isn’t an issue. I’m just ‘fussy’, or awkward.
I’m well educated, not genius material, but clever enough to understand what is going on. Think about it this way. I know what’s healthy and what I should be doing but there’s this other voice. One that’s louder. Imagine there’s a classical guitarist and a heavy metal guitarist. Both share the same basic understanding. Both play the same song. Each interprets it in their own way. I hear that song all the time but so long as I hear both it’s fine. The problem is when the more harmonious part is drowned out by the more powerful part. And then suddenly IT is a problem.
I’m sneaking and crying and lying and desperately trying to play to whoever’s tune I can hear.
And then there are the other voices. Ones belonging to real people.
“Are you trying to make yourself ill?”
“Are you stupid?”
I’m battling a monster that simply won’t die.
“And it comes when called.”
Without realising other people can be a trigger. I struggle with anxiety and depression and IT is a problem caused by, and leading, to both.
When I’m in its grip I can have panic attacks at the mention of food.
Portions larger than I’m expecting make me burst into tears.
Terror and avoidance of places or situations where I won’t have absolute control of my intake. That includes a close friend’s wedding.
Worse, it has been so bad I’ve had delusions that people are trying to poison me.
Having people you love cry because they don’t understand.
I feel a lot more in control of myself
Thankfully IT isn’t so bad anymore. I feel a lot more in control of myself, I don’t struggle with other facets of myself quite so much which has relaxed the problem.
So my main piece of advice is to go to the doctor. I did, eventually. Doctors are nice people. They listen and understand and try their hardest to help. Actually talking about my strange cocktail of ideas was horrifying at best, so I wrote them down. Smiled pleasantly at the doctor and burst into tears. Luckily my piece of paper was on hand to save the day.
Eating disorders can feel like they're taking over your life, but there is support available. Visit your GP or contact your local Mind.