So You Want An Eating Disorder?

This may contain content including pictures that may upset some people.

Eating disorders kill, that is a fact. They destroy your body and take your sanity down with it.

I was only young when I stopped eating. I remember being in primary school watching my friends eat their lunches while I ate an apple. I’d sit in my classes and stare off into the distance, my stomach cramping from hunger. Increased arguments with my mother when I wouldn’t eat the half raw chicken nuggets she was trying to force me to eat.

When I was 16 I moved into my dad’s house and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. My dad worked shifts so I was alone in the house a lot of the time. My weight started to drop and I started taking laxatives.

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I didn’t think things could get any worse but they did. At 18 years old, I moved into my own flat. I was scared and I was alone. I didn’t have a reason to live. I didn’t see the point so I decided to starve myself to death. But my body fought back and I started binging on anything I could find. And then I’d lean over the toilet and throw up until I spat blood.

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Eating disorders are not fun.
They are not cool, pretty or stylish.

Your organs will shut down one by one, your heart will fail.
You’ll wake up in the morning and there will be clumps of hair on your pillow. Your teeth will become so yellow and rotted from all that throwing up. Your periods will stop so you might not be able to have children. You will be so cold that you will be sat in a fluffy jumper in summer. You will grow extra hair on your body to keep warm.

Do you know what it’s like to have your 70 year old nan begging on her hands and knees for you to eat?
Do you know what it’s like to hear your best friend say “I thought you were gone this time.”
Do you know what it’s like to hear your 8 year old little brother asking you why you’re not eating christmas dinner?

Oh but you will. Eating disorders rip lives apart. They destroy your relationships with the people you love. You won’t care that your lying to people about why your not eating because you’ll have a little voice in your head telling you it’s okay and that it’s what you need to do.

Do you know how much self hatred it takes to starve yourself? To lean over a toilet and stick your fingers down your throat and not stop until you see blood. To take handfuls of diet pills, water pills and laxatives a day?

Do you know how unwell you will feel at 3 in the morning when you can’t sleep because your body is crying out with hungry? When your crawling on your hands and knees into the kitchen and shovelling food into your mouth until you throw up.

Do you know how much willpower it takes to keep running when your legs are shaking and your head is spinning but you can’t stop until you’ve burnt all the food off?

So yes. When I see people telling others HOW to make themselves throw up. When I see 12 year olds asking how to become anorexic and GROWN adults telling them what to do. How to hide it from their families and telling them that they can’t eat otherwise they will be seen as weak.

Yes I will report them. Yes I will get angry and defensive because my eating disorder nearly killed me and it’s taken so many beautiful people I’ve known.

Eating disorders are ILLNESSES not lifestyles. They are not something to aspire to. If you wanna live your life that way then fine but don’t encourage others to do the same.

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Dear Charley….

*Written when I was 18 years old.*

Dear Charley,

When I look at the photographs from years ago, you sitting there with your ocean blue eyes and the fly away hair,
and the little blue dress,
it seems like a different person, it doesn’t seem like me
it breaks my heart.

I want to tell you that bad things will happen,
that you won’t always be that happy,
everything will hurt and you will want to die.

I want to warn you about that day and those nights,
I want to make you promise me that you won’t keep anything a secret,
because you’re just a child, you are only 5 years old and you don’t have to be brave,
and when you grow up a little,
you still don’t have to be brave,
you don’t have to be strong for anyone,
its alright to cry.

Afterwards, you will lay in bed,
you’ll be terrified and unable to sleep,
some nights, you won’t get to sleep in your own bed,
and you’ll spend the night in a dark dingy cellar,
you’ll shut you eyes and escape to a pretend land you’ve made up.

Soon it will seem like an awful nightmare and you’ll pretend it didn’t happen,
but it did happen,
and I know that’s impossible to accept.

By your fifteenth birthday, you won’t feel anything anymore,
you will be numb
and in one of those awful moments,
you will lock yourself in the bathroom and draw a blade quickly across your leg
and you will say to yourself,
‘if anybody is going to hurt me, then it will be myself’
You are in control, but I promise you that you aren’t in control,
its a cruel illusion,
because it happens again and again,
your exposed bones and scarred skin will not save you.

Over the years you will write pages upon pages and you will read hundreds of books,
and you will do you best not to upset or anger people.

You tell yourself that you are holding it together while you hide the scars under your clothes,
and you can’t tell anymore if you’re eating or not.
You will become so cold that you won’t like anybody touching you
and the anxiety rises up in you chest like a heavy weight.

I know all this seems beyond awful,
and I know there will be days when you are so tired that you can’t even take another step,
and whenever you want to give up entirely, just remember that you survive.
At 18 years old, I can tell you this, you survive the first time,
you survive the second time,
you survive all the other times,
these terrible things happen to you and you survive,
slipcovered in lies and scars.