Believe It or Not, Becoming Healthy is the Most Unhealthy Thing I’ve Ever Done.

Photo Credit: Riley Irwin

Sometimes all it takes is a peculiar perspective…

Well, I did not even realize it until Friday but apparently the week of February 26th to March 4th was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It’s kind of funny, you know. Eating disorders are something I am constantly aware of, thus I was never aware of these seven days being anything other than an average week for me.

I still remember those dark, cold moments…

…and thoughts.

…and feelings.

…and nights.

…and days.

I can root the agony back to a single word:

“healthy.”

Here is an excerpt from a blog post I did May 16, 2017:

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a maturation of my language. Words such as “fuck” and “shit” have secured themselves permanent spots into my everyday vocabulary. These words simply enhance my sentences and descriptions by changing a phrase from “that was rad” to “that was fucking rad.” No harm. No damage done. They just further my point. However, the h word, which is considered socially acceptable, has destroyed my life. It manipulated me. It used me. It stole the real, genuine happiness from my smile. But the h word is good right? I don’t get in trouble when I say it at school. It’s okay if I use it when talking to younger kids. They don’t sensor it out on television. How harmful can it really be then? But here is the part that scares me. When people don’t know who the enemy is, we are left vulnerable to it. We were cast the role of the victim. We can’t fight an evil power that we don’t know exists. The ignorance we all share keeps us from looking for this affliction. It’s why we still perceive the h word as completely innocent. It’s why we use it to describe a noun positively. Its destructive nature remains surreptitious, lurking in our shadows, while simultaneously it’s reflected in our mirrors. But maybe it’s our perception that is the real problem. We choose not to see it. It’s what we were taught, it’s what we have suffered for, it’s what we devoted our time & energy to. The blood, sweat, & tears we endured need to be worth something; but what if I told you that it actually hurt you? Would you think I’ve gone absolutely mad & remain in denial? And if you do choose not to see it, will others do the same?

I find that being so-called “healthy” is quite destructive in nature; for everyone seems to be in pursuit of pure, optimal “health,” but what does that mean? We all have different definitions of it. How can we expect to reach something undefined? How will we ever realize we are there if we don’t know what there is? What is the most terrifying is that in order to reach such a pedestal, we are willing to take reckless steps and make choices solely based on desperation. It’s a fight to the death… it’s a fight we will partake in until we are dead.

I absolutely hate the “h” word.

Becoming “healthy” is the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever done.

In order to be “healthy,” first you must stop trusting your body.

Yourself.

Even though every single cell of yours is constantly working to keep you alive, we are told not to trust our bodies. That as soon as we take a bite of thick crust pizza (because whole grain thin crust just wasn’t appetizing enough to your pals)…

*bam*

It is over.

Your body is going to take that thick crust that you chose to nibble a tiny piece of and use it against you.

An idea as such is insane.

Straight mad.

I don’t think those cells that take down the deadly pathogens you come into contact with five million times a day are secretly trying to kill you.

Doesn’t it sound a little silly not to have faith that our bodies aren’t out to get us?

I mean why do we choose to cut out entire food groups because someone told us that this source of energy, nutrition, etc. is a weapon? We cut out carbohydrates, then we cut out dairy, then we cut out fats… but the fact of the matter is that these groups make our body thrive. So why do we believe some stranger on the television who claims that gluten is going to break into your house and murder you and your family?

The “h” word.

*cringe*

Not only can it physically harm a person by convincing them to go on extreme diets, but it also damages a person mentally.

There’s nothing worse than missing out on parties, weddings, spontaneous shitty fast food (most likely at midnight) runs because they are not “healthy.” Well, honestly, I doubt on your death bed you are going to be regretting those chocolate chip pancakes you devoured with your best friends at 3 a.m. 60 years prior. I know I’d regret not allowing myself to have fond memories like that because of the “h” word.

Think about it. Think about all of the smiles and the laughter we diminish with feelings of guilt. All because we wanted to be healthy.

I could go on and on about this topic.

I’ve been there.

I’ve hit rock bottom.

But I was one of the lucky ones who had sense slapped into me before I was too far gone. Too far lost in the head. Too consumed with what I was consuming.

If you take anything from this mess of thoughts, I really hope you think twice next time you say the word “healthy.” I hope you hesitate as it creeps out of your lips. I hope its eeriness lingers in the back of your throat. I don’t desire you to rid it from your personal dictionary. What I ask is that when you say it, you think about what you just said. Try to view that word from a new perspective…hear my words.

“Becoming healthy was the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever done.”

Like what you read? Give Riley Irwin a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.