In the Mind of Anorexia

I'm sitting down at my kitchen table, facing my biggest fear. My worst nightmare. The enemy. My chest tightens, it is becoming hard to breathe. My heart is racing - I can almost hear it beating against my chest. My head is pounding. I cannot do this. I cannot face this horrible, wretched thing. Someone, make it stop! Take it away! Free me from this misery!

No, I'm not talking about a spider. Or some deadly bacteria. I'm talking about (can you guess?) That's right. F-O-O-D. Yup. That's my fear. The only thing that makes me shiver, makes me want to  run away and hide. And for so long, that is exactly what I did.

Having anorexia is not 'all about the food' - there are lots of other issues, depending on the victim. But, to a great extent, it IS about the food and the weight gain. I spent countless days, desperately trying to run away from any chance to eat. Of course, this sounds strange to many people. I mean, what happens when you get together with your friends? You eat. Or what does grandma do right when you walk into her house? She feeds you (despite your reassuring her that you are full!). What happens on Easter and Christmas after Church? We eat. Make no mistake - it is very difficult to run away from food.

But for people with AN, the ultimate goal is to avoid food because for them, it translates into immediate weight gain. I am guilty of this. Before every morsel that enters my mouth, I think about the weight gain behind it. I'm terrified that I will gain too much weight too quickly, that I will look 'fat', that people will notice and make fun of me, that my clothes won't fit, that I'll have to diet all over again...AHH! The list never ends.

Please keep in mind that these feelings and thoughts are REAL. I do not make them up to seek attention or to be annoying. I really truly am afraid to eat. That is the essence of the illness. It lurks around, just waiting for the time to eat arrives. Then, it pounces on the victim, literally taking its life with it. ED does not want you to live; he wants you to die. To cease existing. It is ruthless; it will not stop until it gets what it wants - your life.

In my illness, I have told myself that I will stop 'after I lose just these 5 pounds'. But then I'd lose those, and want more. Why? Because if five pounds could be lost, why couldn't 10? 15? 30? But here's the paradox: the very thing that is avoided in AN is the same thing that must be consumed in order to recover - food.

When faced with a meal, I immediately want to RUN. To escape the pain that comes with eating. My body and my organs are screaming 'feed us!', but that nasty little fool in my head is saying 'NO! No food. Do not eat. Stay strong. You do not need to eat. You will get fat'. 

So, what to do? Do I eat and face the perils and sufferings of ED? Or do I listen to ED, not feel bad for eating, but then end up being sicker than before? Ah, here lays the hard decision: to eat or not to eat?

But I have to stay strong. Even if all my thoughts and feelings are arguing against me. Even if ED insists that I will gain weight. Even if ED makes me feel like a 'fat pig'. I have to eat. Because, as is often said, food is medicine. But HOW do I just ignore these things? It is not easy. It takes a lot of work...the recipe for recovery in yesterday's post is a good way to start. And keeping up hope that one day, things will get better.

It sounds easy - it is not. It is very difficult. It is a long road. But, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13). And that's enough to keep me going.

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