OK, so you always hear that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and of all the eating disorders, right? Well, that’s not quite true. Ednos does. Not that I’m trying to start a macabre competition here, but I think there is, well, danger in touting anorexia as the most “dangerous.” (Don’t even get me started on the DSM classifications–that’s a different post.)
First, let’s face it, EDgang, if we were to choose the way our eating disorders manifested, we would most likely choose anorexia, right? It seems more controlled, you are outwardly thinner, you are pale, frail, but oh so strong, it seems, correct? There are damn pro-ana sites out there that say as much! It’s a sad, sick movement but I confess to jumping on those sites in my crazier moments, thinking: “I wish I had that control. I wish I had that body.” And the physical symptoms of anorexia let people know you are suffering. Which is what I think is a key point here.
Eating disorders are never for attention, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a damn fool. But when you work so hard to lose weight, when you have these mind-screams ringing in your ears constantly, you want someone (and simultaneously are horrified at the thought) to fucking notice. “I’m in pain and I can’t talk about it. I hate myself. I hate everything about myself. I am slowly killing myself.” And anorexia is the manifestation that writes this on the body.
The typical eating disorder image is the tiny, wasting away adolescent. And that is truly horrible and I want to hug each and every one of them/you. Every. single. one. I want to tell them they are beautiful and that they CAN make it through. Oh, please please let that be true. That age is so hard anyway–with an eating disorder . . . It breaks my heart.
But I also want to hug the rest, too, including myself. You see, during my latest relapse, I was very overweight before I started restricting, and then I lost a crazy amount of weight by anorexic behaviors. Naturally, all I got was compliments, no concern. But I was literally killing myself. I came very close to a heart attack and my body is still not recovered. I have low bone density. I don’t ovulate so I’m infertile. My skin isn’t quite what it used to be. And I’m not an adolescent. I don’t have the healing powers I once had.
So for those of you suffering in silence, no matter what your body shape (including the “typical” anorexic-looking person, because I, by no means, am trying to diminish your pain!): I hear you. I do! We suffer an illness we battle everyday, in many different ways, at many different ages, so don’t think for a second there’s something weird about you if you don’t fit the stereotype. All ages experience this horrible disease and it comes in all forms. If you’re abstaining from food, if you’re purging, if you’re spitting and swallowing, if you’re overexercising and restricting, if you’re binge eating, if you fight the voices every day . . . I hear ya. You are not alone.
I am hugging all of you, no matter what your diagnosis. xoxoxoxoxo