Many people who are misinformed are fooled into thinking that anorexia is a choice. That people who have ED CHOOSE to have it, simply out of the desire to be thin or lose weight.
It's simply not true. I mean, sure, usually ED begins with the desire to lose weight, but it soon spirals out of control. What began as a way to innocently shed a few pounds turns into a nearly unstoppable storm that continues to howl, night and day.
Why would any human being choose such a thing? Why would one subject him or herself to a monster that clings to you, threatening to take away every source of happiness and peace?
It's simple: you DO NOT CHOOSE IT. Anorexia chooses you. No one knows exactly what causes eating disorders, but it is known for sure that no one actually falls into the depths of the disease with knowledge of all the damage that it can do to you.
I'm not exactly sure when ED began in my life. I can trace back to days when people made fun of me because of my weight, saying that I was too fat, too chubby, or bigger than everyone else. I remember moments where my own friends teased me because of my shape, commenting on my thighs, stomach, or arms. Words hurt. They hurt a lot. And so began the wish to lose some weight. After five pounds, I felt great. If you can lose five, why not 10? 20? Heck, go all the way!
And this was me, a person who knew all about eating disorders. A girl who had done numerous projects about anorexia nervosa, explaining all the consequences of the disease. Advocating for people with eating disorders. Never once did I imagine that I would be one of the sufferers.
The hole is deep - difficult to climb out of. It takes so much patience, hope, perseverance, and strength. Falling into ED's trap even though I knew how bad it could get makes me feel silly. I mean, if I was informed, how did I let it happen to me? Why couldn't I just stop it?
Researchers have discovered that anorexia nervosa changes the way the chemicals and hormones work in your brain. In fact, some have found that the dopamine-reward-punishment system is altered in people with anorexia, making eating feel like punishment (the reward and punishment centres in the brain light up at the same time when anorexics eat). **See http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=99283 for details.**
So, the moral of the story is that people with eating disorders do not choose to be sick. No one would purposely push themselves into such an illness. It's terrible, horrible, and torturing. If we could get this message across, people with anorexia would be stigmatized like they are today. Some people blame anorexics, saying that they are doing it all 'for attention'. Some people harshly accuse anorexia patients with blindly making themselves sick. Well, I'm proof that this is not the case - at least for most cases.
I did not choose anorexia. I guess it just chose me. But the one thing I CAN choose is to get myself out of this dark illness - to emerge into the freeing light that fills my life with new energy and strength. To spread my wings, to fly out of this deep hole. To live my life, free of any chains holding me back.