Often, I’ve told myself I’m ‘lucky’ to have developed my Eating Disorder at the age of 18.
Increasingly, younger and younger people are suffering from a multitude of different forms of disordered eating and/or eating disorders.
While their peers are laughing in the playground, they are navigating the cruel reality of life with an Eating Disorder, with all its individually devastating component parts.
It’s destroying children’s concepts of ‘childhood’. Forcing girls and boys as young as 5 to form damaging relationships with their body and mind, before they’ve even had a chance to get to know them.
Eating Disorder’s in children scare me more than any others. I can’t even comprehend the recovery from something which infiltrates your life from *such* a young age.
I can’t speak on behalf of these young sufferers and if I ever find the brave voice of someone who can, I’ll be sure to share it with you.
I was ‘free’ in my childhood. I laughed, and played, and let my body exist in the very form it wanted to. I don’t know what it’s like to have this precious time hijacked by the strongest of forces.
Instead, developing Anorexia aged 18 has left me reflecting on the loss of my 20’s, and the significant impact this appears to have had on developing my sense of ‘self’.
Arguably, you unconsciously grow in your childhood. Perhaps, you’re just about (literally) finding your feet.
Your 20’s? Apaz those are the years where you begin to #findyourselvez. (If I was techy enough to work out how to put emoji’s on this it’d be the vomit one right here!)
When friends were travelling, forming relationships (with themselves and others), finding their voices, forming their passions…growing, learning, trialling and erroring…I was stagnant and vacant.
Instead of growing, I was shrinking.
Instead of exploring, I was retreating.
Instead of finding, I was losing.
I couldn’t travel, and I repeatedly lost work. I drowned in the guilt of receiving benefits for something I deemed ‘my own f*cking fault’. Nights out were fraught with anxiety over what to wear to hide my shrinking frame, and fear over whether my weak heart could survive the mental and physical stimulation which I was going to put into it’s dwindling system.
Relationships were based on a craving to be needed. To be liked. To be loved. And in the ‘early days’ the aesthetics of my body formed the means of receiving this.
Instead of strengthening friendships, I was weakening them.
Instead of finding independence, I became a dependent.
Instead of seeing the world, I felt the weight of it.
In the year I turn 30, I’ve found myself grieving this time.
For me, it feels like a loss, and currently it’s a V painful one. With society telling me the things I should have ‘done’, ‘seen’, ‘felt’, ‘achieved’ at this point in my life it’s taking all my energy to be kind to myself, and remember that the most important thing I’ve done in my life so far is SURVIVE.
Survival is enough. Survival will always be enough.
“Who do you think you’d be aged 29 if it wasn’t for your Eating Disorder?”My therapist asked me.
Me: “Definitely on a constant on/off diet. Still in that relationship which made me feel like shit. Counting down the dull AF minutes on the number 27 cross trainer in Southwark Fitness 4 Less. Listening to the ‘should’s more than the ‘I absolutely WILL NOT?!”….” Struggling in superficial friendships. Poking and prodding at my body. Working in a job for the money and the status rather than the joy?”
“Then perhaps this wasn’t lost or vacant time, maybe this was the exact time you spent #findingyourself?!”
However you experienced your 20’s, I hope your survival of them is enough.