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Binge. Starve. Binge: My constant fight with my eating disorder.

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Binge. Starve. Binge: My constant fight with my eating disorder.

One sophomore talks about how her eating disorder has affected her mental health.

One sophomore talks about how her eating disorder has affected her mental health.

Photo by Miroslava Kacmarova/Creative Commons

One sophomore talks about how her eating disorder has affected her mental health.

Photo by Miroslava Kacmarova/Creative Commons

Photo by Miroslava Kacmarova/Creative Commons

One sophomore talks about how her eating disorder has affected her mental health.

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This writer of this article has chosen to remain unnamed due to the sensitive nature of this topic.

I’m sitting at the dinner table, and as I lift my fork to take a bite, my mother makes a casual comment about calories. The scoreboard in my head illuminates. 75 for the pasta. 65 for the sauce. 31 for the green beans. Total of 171.

Far too much.

I push back from the table, muttering something about not feeling well.

I am not vain. I am not doing this for looks or for attention. When everything feels like too much, there is a girl in my head. She tells me her name is Ana, and she tells me she can make everything feel okay. All I have to do is listen.

I was just shy of thirteen-years-old when my life spiraled out of control, when my parents got divorced, when my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, when my brother ended up in the hospital. Ana was there for me. She told me that I couldn’t control those things, but what I could control was what I put in my body.

Ana was mean; she told me no one could love me as I was. She told me that I was ugly, that I was unworthy of the people around me. She isolated me from my family and friends, telling me that all I needed was her. I needed no one, they would try and stop me from listening to her. That she just wanted the best for me.

Silence was dangerous. When she wasn’t talking, I was eating. Stuffing my face with anything I could find. Anything to calm the storm within myself. Searching for comfort in something that couldn’t provide it.

After this binge Ana would speak again, and she was bitter. I had failed her. She hurled insults, and told me what a waste of space I was. If I had no self control, how could I ever expect things to be okay? I thought this was normal. That everyone had a voice who shamed them like this.

To punish myself after the binge, I wouldn’t eat for the next six days. I’d starve to the point I would faint because I was so weak.

Once I told all this to my therapist, she transferred me to a psychiatrist, who started the process of finding out what was going on.

When I was diagnosed with “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” (EDNOS). I was understandably upset. I was blind to the seriousness of what I was doing. I wish I could tell you that my diagnosis was a fix-all and I’m better now. That I’m recovered, and the girl has become silent, but she hasn’t. Recovery is hard work.

It’s not all avocado and yoga mats. It’s crying because you know what you’re doing to yourself is dangerous. It’s fighting with the people that care about you because they are just as scared as you are.

There are setbacks too. You relapse. There is no cure-all. Some days calories are all I can think of, and the number on the scale seems too high. Some days I’m perfectly fine, enjoying junk food with my friends, laughing and not worrying about the food in front of me.

I know that one day those good days will be more common than the bad days, but the bad days tend to make me wish I stayed in that hole of mental illness.

I’ve lost friendships because of my disorder, people who weren’t able to cope with the relapses, and the days where I just couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. People accused me of not trying, and for a while, I wasn’t.

I was “happy” where I was. I was proud to be losing weight as quickly as I was. It was hard not to be. My family was always critical about my weight, with comments like knives, with no intention to hurt, but they cut deep.

I want to get better, for my friends, for my family, but mainly for myself. I want anyone who has an eating disorder to know that you don’t have to suffer in silence. You aren’t alone, and things can, and will, get better.

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Binge. Starve. Binge: My constant fight with my eating disorder.