I’ve had an eating disorder ever since I was a child. At times, it has been severe both as anorexia and periods of bulimia. I have been hospitalized (sectioned) twice in 1996 and 1998 as my anorexia was severe and my weight dropped dangerously low to five stone only. I was in my late thirties at that time as contrary to popular belief, eating disorders affect both men and women of any age, not just teenagers although I was in the minority being that age on my ward.
I don’t intend to go into details about my past eating behaviours as this post isn’t about encouraging anyone who is struggling with tips on how to eat less and all the other negative practices associated with an ED. This is just about my feelings about myself.
As most of you know, I am now in my early fifties and over the years my weight has gone up and down like a yoyo. I have also acquired, as a direct result of my ED, severe osteoporosis and problems with my teeth amongst other issues. (NB. This isn’t the cause of my disability although it obviously aggravates my symptoms).
Suffice it to say, I still have great difficulties with my eating and know I have a distorted body image but despite counselling, I still have a daily battle. My weight is fine (although I would like it to be less [but that is the anorexia speaking] and classically, think I look far too fat). I come slap-bang in the middle of the healthy range on the BMI scale yet I still see this as bad instead of healthy and good. I generally eat fairly healthily but maybe a little too less than I should. But, this is interspersed with sudden desperate urges for chocolate, cakes, ice-cream etc for which I go out of my way in my wheelchair to the local supermarket or newsagent for too large a quantities! I don’t keep any ‘naughty‘ food as such, in the house because I wouldn’t be able to control my bingeing on it.
I hate having an ED – it rules my life and is just an added stress on my mind and body along with the effects of my child abuse, rape, PTSD etc which I have written much on previously. Many people consider that once you have gained a healthy BMI, you are ‘cured‘! This is not the case, unfortunately, speaking for myself that is. I only wish it were. EDs don’t always get better; they may wax and wane or be mild or severe at times). Currently, I would put myself in the middle of that scale which is a constant battle.
I detest my ED. It’s the first thing that springs to mind whenever I am stressed or have experienced current feelings of trauma such as flashback and new memories surfacing. I think about food first thing in the morning until last thing at night. When I was younger and in out of hospital, I truly believed at times that I had become free of my ED. However, this is not the case….eating disorders can bite back! However, I still have fight in me and will never give up believing that one day, I will be free of all this.