For most of my life, you have been in control, consuming my body, my heart, and my soul. When I was just 12, I had no idea that meeting you there would end up with me being here. It was love at first sight, or so they say, and I did all I could to obey. At first, you were polite and you did not intrude, you gave me some tips to avoid certain foods. You said they were “bad” and they would make me fat, but soon, “You shouldn’t eat this” became “You cannot have that!”
Schooling was tough and I couldn’t concentrate, my grades began to drop as did my weight. I couldn’t have lunch, you told me to throw it away, I had to eat less than I did yesterday. You restricted my diet and controlled my mind, your reign grew stronger as my weight dropped behind. You made me lie and you made me cheat: “Tell them you are ill so you don’t have to eat.”
You stole all my holidays and soaked up my fun, when friends were out sunbathing I had to go for a run.
I avoided mealtimes and any social events. “She was just here, do you know where she went?’” I don’t know what it feels like to have a birthday cake—inviting you to my party was a big mistake. They sang “Happy Birthday” and everyone cheered. But, “You can’t eat cake!” was all I could hear. Family gatherings I couldn’t attend. “I’m not feeling well,” you made me pretend.
Christmas was agony and I dreaded every year, being smacked in the face with my biggest fear. Surrounded by food that you wouldn’t let me touch, even just one mouthful would be too much. I became a stranger in my own home, surrounded by family but oh, so alone. They didn’t understand and I couldn’t tell them that underneath the smile I was going through hell.
My clothes didn’t fit, I had nothing to wear. You broke all my nails and pulled out my hair. You bruised all my legs and my cuts wouldn’t heal, you numbed my emotions so I couldn’t feel. You stole my health and made me so ill, unable to function without anti-anxiety pills.
I lost my friends as they all gave up hope: “We can’t watch you die.” They just couldn’t cope.
You made me believe that all I needed was you, but I’ve come to realize that isn’t true. After 19 years of starvation, I’m beginning to see that your only goal is to destroy me. I’ve always thought that I needed you to survive, but let me tell you something, without you I will thrive. Without me, you have no power and you don’t have a voice. Without me, you have no permission and you don’t have a choice. You took all I had and all I had to give, but now I’m telling you I’m choosing to live. So, guess what, Anorexia? Now that I’m free, you’re just a word when separated from me.
You are more than a number on a scale or a measuring tape. You are human. Messy and whole, capable of so many good things, regardless of your body’s shape. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at [email protected].