Non-ED thoughts v.s. ED thoughts. A story with memes.
I first developed my eating disorder when I was 17 and in my senior year of high school. I didn’t fully realize what I was doing at first. I was aware that I wanted to lose weight, and I was aware that I had started to count calories, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I just went on with my life. It was soon pointed out to me by a few of my teachers that I wasn’t eating enough (or at all) after I had opened up to them. I was pressured into seeing a guidance counselor at my school, and I still remember that meeting quite clearly. I remember talking about what I was doing to myself and being asked did I know what the effects could be…? I remember starting to walk out of the office, and then staring my counselor in the eye and pleading with her not to talk to my parents about this, as I was handling it and I would be okay. I did my very best to trust her.
There is a whole lot more to my eating disorder (ED) story that I might share one day. The undetailed and quick version can be viewed here:
I’d rather not tell all of the details of my story here today. Instead, I wanted to point out some “normal” thoughts that people think and compare them to what I typically think. I think that by doing this, I can bring some insight to those who know someone struggling with an eating disorder.
“I’d better eat breakfast so I can have enough energy to start my day”
Breakfast. Seems simple enough, right? To me, breakfast is not only the first meal of the day, but it also determines how much I am going to eat for the rest of the day. Sometimes breakfast is something I will only allow myself after I’ve weighed myself and can be satisfied with my weight. Breakfast sometimes is coffee because caffeine suppresses appetite. Breakfast is not a given, yet it is the first thing on my mind when I wake up. I have to mull it over- eat or not eat?
“I feel full, maybe I shouldn’t eat so much next time”
To me, feeling full is the same as overeating. When my stomach reaches capacity, it begins to freak me out and I feel uncomfortable and gross. I feel like exploding from the inside-out. Feeling full triggers me into wanting to purge what I ate by self-induced vomiting. It is a true battle to talk myself out of doing so. I can’t just brush off the full feeling. Instead it sticks with me and makes me anxious and impulsive.
“I am craving something sweet- I’ll have myself a piece of candy”
Sugar is a no. Just….no. I cannot allow myself to give into my cravings because then I will be tempted to let go of my control and binge away. Even when a “binge” is simply eating one or two pieces of candy. It’s unacceptable. Letting go of control is one of the most difficult things for me, and when I do, I feel so much worse because I feel as if I cannot regain my control. I obsess over these cravings and feelings of control until I work up my own ball of anxiety and stress over this simple little thing…
If you can’t tell already from my previous responses, it’s just not that easy. Most people with eating disorders have an extremely anxious mind, and thoughts of eating certain foods or eating in certain situations can be HUGE triggers for them. Telling someone with an eating disorder to “just eat” is like telling someone who is having an asthma attack to “just breathe.” It’s not going to work.