Title: Anorexia is not…
This post was originally published on Pretty Girls Do Eat and has been cross-posted with permission.
Disclaimer: This blog post may be triggering to some readers.
Anorexia is not flaunted collarbones, and black and white thinspo on your computer screen. Anorexia is placing your entire worth as a person on a number dictated by a set of scales, and believing that others judge you by the same method. Anorexia is a voice in your head that constantly screams at you that you are too fat, too big, take up too much space; that you must shrink yourself in order to be acceptable. Anorexia is constantly comparing yourself to people, and always coming out worse. Anorexia is not happiness, or doing everything you planned to once you’d lost that little bit of weight. Anorexia is turning down invitations to restaurants and coffee shops and holidays and parties. It’s losing every friend you ever had as you isolate yourself from the world around you. Anorexia is being so intensely preoccupied with food and weight that you don’t even notice. Anorexia is not a diet, or a weight loss plan. Anorexia is getting on the scales and off the scales and on the scales and off and on and off and on countless times a day, and never being satisfied with the results. It is still being too fat, even when your initial goal weight is just a distant memory. Anorexia is not a sense of achievement as your weight decreases, and your goal is in sight. It is the constant demand that the amount you’ve lost is not enough, it’s never enough, and that you must lose more, more, more. Anorexia isn’t posing for selfies in bikinis or underwear or impossibly tiny shorts. Anorexia is feeling your skin crawl, clawing at the fat all over your body, but not being able to stop the feeling of disgust and hatred. Anorexia is feeling fat, always, even when it’s not logically possible that you are. It’s staring in the mirror at the weight you’ve gained since the last time you looked, an hour before; squeezing and poking and scrutinising and imaging slicing the fat right off. Anorexia is not about fitting into the smallest sized clothes, and being able to look good in anything you put on. Anorexia is emaciated bodies and weakened bones concealed in oversized clothes. It’s layers upon layers, and attempts to hide your perceived fatness. Anorexia is numbers; numbers on food packets and boxes, numbers on scales, numbers on tape measures, numbers in clothes, numbers on BMI charts; always counting and adding and subtracting, trying to get the lowest number, be the lowest number. Anorexia is not hot guys falling in love with you, and every girl wanting to be you. Anorexia is stares from strangers, and pity and whispered explanations to little children with pointed fingers. It’s being told you look disgusting and ugly; that no-one wants to date a skeleton. Anorexia is being told that how you see yourself is distorted, and not believing a word of it because whoever told you is obviously just trying to make you fat. Anorexia is not cheat days, or the ability to stop when you’ve reached your goal, or had enough. Anorexia is every moment of every single day and every single night. It’s sleep plagued by nightmares of binges, and waking up panicked and believing it’s real. Anorexia is not treating yourself to a slice of cake because you fancy it, or a glass of wine after a rough day. Anorexia is counting every single calorie, weighing and measuring every single morsel, then re-counting and re-weighing and re-measuring, before deciding it’s too much anyway. Anorexia is not strength or willpower, or self-control. Anorexia is being so controlled that you’re out of control. Anorexia is watching loved ones cry, and beg you to eat just a couple of bites, while you sit frozen, unable to comply. Anorexia is not being strong enough not to eat. Anorexia is hiding uneaten food in your sleeves, in your pockets, in your socks, and secretly disposing of any edible gift you’re ever given. It’s isolating yourself from every event that could potentially involve food, and christmases and birthdays detained in hospitals, a plastic tube forced down your throat, while you beg them not to buy a birthday cake for morning snack in case the other girls hate you. Anorexia is not hipbones and fucking thigh gaps. It’s bruises as your prominent bones knock against each other as you lie in bed, pain when you sit down, your tailbone bashing against the bath. Anorexia is not a lifestyle. Anorexia is coldness so bitter that you feel it in your bones. It’s holding your breath when you walk past a fast food restaurant, for fear of breathing in calories. Anorexia is checking toothpaste tubes, and lip gloss and bottles of shampoo for its calorie content. It’s hospitals and doctors waiting rooms and blood tests and ECGs. It’s being unable to take the vitamins and supplements and medication your body desperately needs because you do not know the calorie content. Anorexia is not glamourous. Anorexia is fear, and mistrust, and desperation. Anorexia is grey skin and sunken eyes and hair that snaps and falls out in clumps. It’s the smell of your decaying body, as it eats away at itself in order to continue to stay alive, and the eventual inability to walk due to your wasted muscles. Anorexia is your handful of safe foods losing their safety, and the refusal to take water because you’re scared it will make you fat. Anorexia is the inside of a coffin, days after screaming at and fighting the nurses because you were too fat to need any more food. Anorexia is victims of suicide and failing organs. Anorexia is sickness. Anorexia is torment. Anorexia is death.