"If you develop an eating disorder when you are already thin to begin with, you go to the hospital. If you develop an eating disorder when you are not thin to begin with, you are a success story."— Button Poetry, 2015
For the last six years, I have been a "success story." No one knew what was really happening. To be honest, I did not even know myself what I was doing to my own body — I was not super thin and you couldn't see my bones, so it must have been okay to keep starving my body. How is a 13-year-old to know that they are developing an eating disorder when social media and movies praise a thin body type?
Over the years, I have learned that you do not really know how to comprehend how this journey starts. For me, it is getting tired of being the "bigger" friend — the pressure of having to fit in with my friends, and the constant comparison with others. You constantly feel terrible about yourself and I wish that I could say that things get better, but sadly, five more years of feeling horrible follow that first bad year.
I feel like I am able to say that my high school experience was not the best. Dealing with an eating disorder while being in high school was one of the hardest things to handle. One memory that I have from high school that crushed me was from one of the last encounters with friends. One friend openly called me "on the heftier side" and I knew that at that moment this would be the last time I would ever talk to them.
Friends who comment on your weight, especially if they know that you have struggled with body images in the past, are not friends that you need in your life.
I can gladly say that I am in the recovery process of handling my eating disorder. I really have college to thank — I was in a new environment and I was able to analyze my own life without anyone having any input. Talking to someone is one of the most important things to do when dealing with any type of eating disorder because you do not want to be alone in this season. Unfortunately, I did not have the closeness of friends at the time and I was scared to talk to my family because I felt like they would have been so disappointed in me. It is also hard to explain to someone about an eating disorder when that person does not really understand, which is why talking to a therapist is always a good source.
This process does not happen fast and I'm not saying I still don't have those thoughts of "just skip breakfast and lunch today" or catching myself looking up the calories of food, because I do, but the difference is now I know how to control those thoughts because I have completely changed my mindset.