Imagine if you couldn't take a bite of anything without fearing gaining weight or throwing up. Imagine if you obsessively felt the need to count all the calories you ate down to the last piece of gum or the last drop of ranch dressing. Imagine being afraid of one of the most essential things to keep you alive- Food.
This is what it's like to live with an eating disorder. No matter how hard you try, you can't get past the feeling of needing to constantly watch what you eat. It consumes you. You think about food all the time. It's always on your mind once you've fallen into the trap.
For me it started with wanting control. My life was unraveling and I felt like there was nothing I could do about it.
For some weird reason, my mind turned on food. If I couldn't control everything going on around me, I would control what was going on inside me.
I am a teenager. I’m supposed to like food- and I used to- until now. Hunger is one of the most basic feelings humans have felt since the beginning of time. It drives us. But for some reason, my mind told me I wasn't allowed to eat. If I ate, then I was a failure. I ate, but would still come in way under the 2000 calorie daily limit. There was one day I ate less than 200 calories.
This lated about a week. I was starving myself to feel in control, when in reality I was becoming more out of control than before. Along with that, it suddenly became about the weight. I had a goal to weigh 90 pounds and be a fragile little feather so that I would like my body better. I felt fat and ugly, even though I only weigh 110. I've always been called skinny or told I have the perfect body, but I could never believe any of it.
I've never tried to throw up my food because I'm too afraid of throwing up. I guess it's for the best. I met a boy in the hospital who was bulimic and he had fake teeth because the stomach acid from throwing up had rotted away his teeth.
I've always had self image issues. I don't remember a time where I looked in the mirror and was very happy about what I saw. Part of it came from being bullied as a kid, and part of it just came from internal problems.
Having an eating disorder is frustrating because sometimes you want to eat. Sometimes you wish you could pick up an apple and not see the 60 calories attached to it like a price tag. It's almost physically impossible to eat other times, and if I could force my baked potato down my own throat it would be a victorious day. I'm force feeding myself and fighting off my own mind every time I eat.
Every single time I eat, I hate myself. I think, this is it, now I'm going back on my ‘diet’. It's a mental struggle for me to eat anything, so sometimes I avoid food because of that too.
I do this weird thing where I talk about food a lot and buy or make things with pictures of food on them (like I got pizza socks the other day) but I hate eating. I guess I do it to seem more normal. I like the idea of food, just not actually eating it.
Another reason eating is so hard for me is the physical part of actually eating the food. I hate the sound of chewing and the feeling of the mush going down my throat. Don't get me started on the digestive process. It makes me want to throw up just thinking about it. The fact that all of that goes on inside of me just grosses me out.
I'm terrified of eating in front of people. Even though I know no one is going to judge me for eating, I still get worried about it.
I wish I could go back to when I thought of food as something I liked. When I could sit down with my friends and have a slice of pizza without worrying about all the calories I'm consuming. When birthday cake was still a thing to be celebrated.
To all the teens out there considering starving themselves: It's not worth being skinny, it's not worth hating yourself all the time, and it's not worth always being hungry. Food tastes so good, but I’ve ruined it for myself by making it the enemy.
Food should not be your enemy. You shouldn’t be mad at yourself for eating. I'm still learning that, and i’ll get better eventually (with effort and determination, of course).