Low Fat. No Fat. Fat Free
Fat. Funny how that word can make people feel uncomfortable. That word used to be my enemy. Now? I eat more fat in my day than anything else!
Can you find me in these photos? These were all taken around when I was 18-19 back in 1997-1998. I weighed around 32-36kg in these photos, and yes I had anorexia.
Anorexia Nervosa is a mental illness. But, unlike other mental illnesses it is also so totally self consuming, addictive and becomes attention seeking and ultimately becomes your whole identity.
It is a dangerous condition that effects so many young and impressionable girls. Many give in and let it become their entire identity.
I recall back in my numerous hospital stays there was a lady called Sue. She was in her 50’s and had suffered with anorexia for over 30 years. 30 years? Yep. She was totally consumed, a self confessed victim to the illness. I had 2 other friends in my time in hospital who sadly lost their battle weighing in at less than 30kg at 30 years of age. I remember one of the girls mothers coming in every day to visit her and leaving just crying as she’d had more years suffering anorexia than not. She missed out on friends, boyfriends, children parties, night clubbing, coffee catch ups, parties, beach dates and sleepovers. It absolutely ruined her mother as she just wanted her daughter free and to be happy.
The things about anorexia is that you think you’re happy. As long as you eat less, weigh less and feel skinny then you’re happy. Or well, you think you’re happy. I’ve never seen an anorexia patient living life to the fullest, loving experiences and embracing experiences. There’s always exhaustion and sadness in their eyes.
Although they’d never admit it, it’s tough being your own worst enemy. It’s tough fighting that battle of sheer will not to eat or exercise more or drink less water.... or whatever other little clicks you have in your day.
I would never admit it. Gosh, I wouldn’t ever admit some of the incredible self sabotage I ever got up to at home and in hospital. It was uncontrollable. You’re always always thinking about it. It’s like a drug addiction. Unless you’ve been there it’s really difficult to grasp the concept.
I was incredibly lucky and only struggled for around 5 years with my really severe thoughts and deathly low weight. I don’t even know how, but after my 10th or 11th trip back into hospital something clicked. I can’t even tell you what but I ate. I ate to get out and I just knuckled down and ate to see what happened. I think I was sick of missing out. I was sick of a stupid voice in my head that nobody else could hear dictating to me what I could and couldn’t do. I was sick of seeing my parents sad and frustrated. I was sick of being ‘one of them’... ‘one of those girls.’ I was sick and tired of lying, being deceitful to everyone I loved. I was sick of being watched in the shower and toilet and I was sick of being medicated. I was dam right sick of it all.
I have years of stories. My near death experience from this stupid, pointless and horrible illness, experiencing being overweight afterwards, having problems conceiving children, gut issues and depression....but I’ll save those for another day.
If you are struggling with that second voice that is telling you that you’re worthless, too fat and stupid then stop! There is nothing more important than your life right now. Please seek help and speak to somebody, anybody.
If you are a friend or family member of somebody struggling with anorexia, hang in there (that’s what my Dad always used to say). It’s a bloody tough road but so worth it if you can get to the other side. Get help too! Talking to somebody is always better than internalising it.
Life is so dam short. It is not worth wasting away as we are all important and are here for a purpose.
Much love and strength all,
Mumma O x