Bad days are awful. Today was a bad day. It’s so hard when everything is falling apart to cope with my eating disorder as well. I suppose that’s what the help is for.
I guess everything falling apart was what started this. Stress will always be a trigger.
When I was 16 I felt I was losing control of my life. My family had moved away and I felt very alone. I felt I was losing everything that mattered most. I needed control.
I was big, I wasn’t always big, but my parents splitting up and constant arguments, looking after my mum when she was broken herself and bullying, meant my relationship with food became skewed. It became a comfort and almost a friend and I gained a lot of weight.
My self-esteem was rock bottom due to the years of bullying. ‘Big nose’, ‘fatty’ ‘so ugly no one would even rape her’ – these are just a few of the things that have been said to me over the years and still haunt me to this day. Combined with living with neither of my parents, I felt unlovable, abandoned and disgusting. That’s the overwhelming feeling. Disgusting. I still feel like that now, but I’m working on it.
It started with a diet. I just started eating healthily. Everyone was fine with it, I got encouragement and praise and felt amazing. But it didn’t feel good enough. Now I knew I could lose weight I wanted to lose more. It was an addictive and exhilarating feeling. It gave me a high. I added exercise. Walking every day after school. Then added exercise DVDs in the morning before anyone was awake. It got to a point I was walking for hours in the cold every morning before anyone was even awake, then doing an exercise DVD and walking some more after school.
My weight was dropping fast and I felt strong, invincible and in control. For possibly the first time in my life.
It was hard living with my grandparents. I don’t know about anyone else but my grandparents are severe feeders, always wanting to feed you and make sure you’re ok. I recognise now this is just a thing grandparents do but I was certain they were trying the make me fat. Clearly, my relationship with food had become even more skewed.
I learnt to play a game. My eating disorder made me a manipulative liar. I wasted food, binned my lunches, crumbled cereal crumbs into bowls to make it look like I’d eaten. Evening meals were the hardest. Hiding food in pockets, in my drink cup or in tissues now makes me feel disgusted but back then I felt like I was winning.
My friends at school became concerned. I didn’t eat lunch ever and they saw me losing weight fast. A few reacted with anger, as I’ve noticed over the years is a common reaction. A few were very concerned and tried to speak to me about it, but I denied I had a problem. I honestly didn’t believe I had a problem at that point. None of my clothes fitted me anymore and calories made me nervous but I was strong, not sick.
Unfortunately, it has taken me years to overcome those feelings and I’d be lying if I said I don’t still feel like that sometimes.
As none of my clothes fitted, nan decided to take me to get my school trousers refitted. I’ll never forget that day. It involved nan seeing me with very few clothes on for the first time in months. Baggy clothes had become my go-to outfit. That way I could hide my weight loss. Nan didn’t say anything the whole time we were in there. But when we left and were sat in the car she started sobbing, saying I looked horrible and ill and she was worried about me.
I knew I couldn’t carry on the way I was. Nan was clearly guessing what was happening. I had to change. I wish that change had been for the better.
In actuality, my struggle had only just begun.
*Please. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or any mental health problem seek help*
Written by Scratchingthesurface