eating disorders never come in concrete shapes
It wasn't about "Oh I hate my body." No, it wasn't just about that. It was "Oh I hate my body why can't I go back to how I was x months, weeks, years ago?" It was "Oh I hate my body look how much happier I was back then." It was "Oh I hate my body I can't deal with life right now, would anyone even miss me when I'm gone?"
Eating disorders are inextricably tied in with everything else. They're not compartmentalized; they're not like how you see it in the movies, the waif thin girl who slowly wastes away. Yes, there may be people who are like that, but most people aren't. The girl with the eating disorder is the one who seems healthy, who seems to have her life together, who makes bomb salads and goes to the gym. But she also, when no one's at home, downs 3 bagels, a family-sized bag of nuts and half a pack of cookies. The waif thin girl is the one who's born like that, who eats normal meals and exercises like a normal person.
I've run the gamut of eating disorders, from anorexia, to exercise bulimia, to actual bulimia, to binge-eating. I've had a combination of all of the above, and it's so confusing to compartmentalize that I just think of it as "disordered eating" or maybe just "being f*cked up" and call it a day.
It's hard to seek help, because sometimes you'll be ok. Sometimes life will seem not so bad and you fool yourself into thinking that yes yes maybe you've got it all together. That you're under control again. That you've conquered it.
But that's what people are fooled into thinking. That's what people who've never experienced an eating disorder think.
In reality, having an eating disorder is fighting an uphill battle. It's fearing food but loving it. It's understanding just how much control you need, understanding that at a moment's notice, at a single trigger, that control can slip and you'll have fallen all the way back to the bottom of the hill.
It's like drowning in an ocean, and desperately screaming out for help, but your voice is silent. No one can hear you, so you flail alone and wonder maybe if you should just give in.
So I wouldn't say I have an eating disorder. I'd say I'm fighting one.
I know I have one, and I consciously realize what behaviors qualify it as.
And sometimes, I want nothing more than just to give up.
I thought I was getting better, I really did. I had stopped counting calories, I had stopping binging so often, I had stopped purging afterward. I loved my friends, my life; I was glad to be alive.
And then the recurring depression hit. I came back from being abroad and had gained almost 10 pounds. I was stressed from work, I didn't feel at home, I wanted nothing more than to leave Boston and go back to California. Life was moving too fast and I couldn't keep up.
So the first thing that slipped was my control and it became a vicious cycle.
I would binge at work, at home, at the grocery store, in a restaurant. Where people could see me and where they couldn't. I would feel disgusting afterward, knowing that that was the first step towards gaining more weight.
And then I'd try and turn myself around. I'd be healthy, eat regular meals and workout. I'd smile and tell myself that it was ok, tell the world that it was ok.
But it wasn't.