Eating Disorder Awareness Week – 2022 – another chapter of my story.
This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2022.
I wasn’t going to write this, but something told me to. My story is out there. I didn’t know what else I could add to it.
You aren’t alone. If you need to get help, reach out. It may be the best thing you ever do.
The following is another chapter in my story. I remember the picture clearly. The green and white baseball-style shirt. Proud of my school. Proud to be an athlete. But…
It was a picture that showed how fucked up I was.
I thought I was healthy.
I thought I was doing the things to lose the weight.
I thought I was okay.
That picture told the true story. Pale skin. Dark circles under the eyes. Dull looking hair. The red knuckles. All the signs. Some of the signs. Hiding the signs.
The picture. It was a gathering at a coach’s house. Gymnastics coach. I think maybe I was a sophomore or a junior. We were eating barbecues and potato chips. I watched what I was eating, very hawk-like. The food was good and I wanted to binge. But, I didn’t want to set off any red flags for anyone who was there. I was hungry. So hungry. But I held back.
The disorder was full-blown at that time. It was awful, but I felt in such control. I could dictate what I was going to eat. I could eat anything. I could eat however much I wanted, because I was in control. If I wanted M&Ms, I could eat them. If I wanted ice cream or cereal or cookies, I could eat them, because I was in control. I could eat whatever I wanted. It was a powerful feeling. The feeling was power and control, yet at the same time it was anything but.
The mind is an amazing thing. On one hand I felt like I was doing what needed to be done in order to succeed at losing weight. On the other hand, everything I was doing was amazingly unhealthy. Making yourself vomit after eating copious amounts of food is not healthy. Not eating any meals and then 4 pm hits and you binge for hours and then vomit again, is not healthy. Thinking about what you are going to binge on next is not healthy.
I could rationalize with myself. I could tell myself it wasn’t that bad. I could tell myself I could stop at any time. I could tell myself, just a little while longer. How can a 16 or 17 year old really rationalize this stuff? Eating disorders are a real thing. It can be really scary. It can be hard to quit.
We all have shades of shame. We all try to hide things. Don’t be afraid to open up. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. You never know who might resonate with it. You never know who it may help. That is why I will keep talking That is why I will not be ashamed. That is why I will keep telling my story.
I was lucky. I quit. So many people don’t. So many people don’t know where to look for help.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with you. You are not defined by an eating disorder. You matter.
If you have an eating disorder or think you might have an eating disorder, get some help.