When it comes to eating disorder, there are some common perceptions revolving the issue. However, eating disorders come in many different forms, and might not always fit the general preconceived notions. The disorder does not have one face – it does not always involve overly thin girls, or even limitation of food intake. Here are a few stories from eating disorder survivors about their experiences.
“One day, after listening to me whine about my weight for the hundredth time, my roommate suggested a solution: a little pink pill—a laxative. “It’ll change your life,” she said. Later that night, a miracle happened. My muscles burned, my stomach cramped, and what felt like half my weight in water ran down the toilet. When I looked in the bathroom mirror, I was astonished. My stomach looked distinctly flatter. For a second, the fat girl inside me felt almost … pretty.”
“Whereas many of my friends would listen to music or go for a run, when life got hard, food was my source of relief. I would take my babysitting money, walk to the local market, purchase enough groceries to last a family of 4 a week, and eat until I couldn’t feel anymore. These binges sometimes resulted in “blacking out,” where I wouldn’t remember what — or how much — food I consumed. Initially, I turned to food as a coping mechanism, but eventually my relationship with food became more serious than any of the earlier issues I was trying to mask.”
“I think I was on the cusp of admitting my eating disorder, but when I met the psychologist, the first question I was asked was “are you gay?” I do not identify as gay, but the question seemed to assume that because I was a man with what was classically identified as a female disorder, that I must be homosexual. I felt incredibly confused and felt that I could not speak up about my eating disorder, and became deeper in denial. I felt that I could not seek treatment and that straight men could not admit to being anorexic or bulimic because it was not a heterosexual man’s disorder.”
“People have a lot of misconceptions about what it looks like to have an eating disorder and what it looks like to be in recovery from an eating disorder. The general assumption is that people who have eating disorders are visibly, dangerously skinny, and when they recover they return to a “normal weight”, whatever that means…
When I was at the worst point of my eating disorder I fell within the “normal weight range” for my height according to the BMI chart. I got a lot of compliments on my body. I never heard that I was “too thin” and people often commented on how healthy I looked.”
“One of the many things people don’t get about an eating disorder is that it takes on a life of its own. It’s bigger than anything you’ve ever seen. Bigger than you, your family, and the things you love. It has nothing to do with food. It is an illness, a disease, an addiction. A way to gain and lose control. To fill a void, mask a pain, punish, self-harm.
Despite all of the darkness, it also gave me a gift. It gave me recovery and the ability to be forced into learning how to love myself. It was survival for me to learn that I’m worthy… I’m forever grateful for my disorder. She was a mean bitch who kicked me around, but I stood up to her and gave her a hug and let her know everything was going to be OK. Like all mean girls, she just needed to know she was loved.”