I Want To Disappear…

I believe in timing. I am not ashamed of what I’m about to tell you, but I didn’t have the need to share it, until now. Because it is Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 3-9) I decided to open up my old journals and tell my story.

In July 1996 I was unofficially diagnosed with “ANOREXIC TENDENCIES”. What does that mean? It means I didn’t eat. I STARVED instead of using laxatives, exercise or purging to get thinner (although I remember sticking my fist, fingers and toothbrush in my mouth and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t throw up).

Although I was barely eating, I initially was unaware that this could be the reason for my health problems. I thought my extremely low energy levels were due to an inactive thyroid since it runs in the family. Lack of food, depression and self loathing never entered my mind as a reason. My teeth hurt, I would get headaches and the left side of my stomach sometimes stuck out more than my right…this was due to being so thin that when I did eat, my intestines would push out and you could visibly see it. It grossed me out and I felt UGLY and FAT but also relieved I didn’t have a tumor.

I started going to counselling because I felt my life was out of control. I was DEEPLY DEPRESSED, NUMB, had ANXIETY ATTACKS and toyed with SUICIDAL THOUGHTS. I had absolutely NO SELF-ESTEEM and deemed my life WORTHLESS.

I struggled with deeply rooted insecurities about my looks, value as a person, and singing career. My toxic relationship only magnified my own issues. I coped with the internal and external chaos by not eating.

I TURNED INWARD BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE I FELT SAFE.

In one journal entry, I ruthlessly compared myself to a singer on television:

Whenever I see amazing singers I literally feel myself shrink inside. They are way more talented. What’s the use? Why do I even bother to sing? I’M NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH…and yet I feel competitive…I hate it because I feel competitive but also feel I’d lose.

Somewhere along the way I decided if I couldn’t be the better singer, I could at least be the thinnest…I could be good at something.

Another entry said:

I guess deep down I really do feel like a BAD PERSON. How can I convince myself that I am not? I’M PATHETIC. I have nothing to feel bad about…

The battle with yourself is endless and exhausting:

I haven’t been eating well. It’s like the right side of my brain really wants to eat well, exercise, be creative, try to be happy but my left side of my brain is stronger and more powerful and says, “DON’T EAT! YOU’RE UGLY! YOU WON’T BE ANYTHING IF YOU GET FAT!” I know who I should listen to but the power of the evil always wins.

I never felt loved…

I am sitting in my room violently shaking and can’t stop crying. No one will love me…how could anyone possibly love me? I’M NOBODY. I can’t even eat right.

But I did recognize I needed help:

I need to go see my counselor. I am BITCHY, CHILDISH, INSECURE, LAZY etc. I feel really FLAT, UNINSPIRED, WORN OUT and UNMOTIVATED. Maybe I don’t eat because I feel I don’t deserve food because I haven’t accomplished anything. I feel lousy about how I look. I feel horrible…I FEEL DOOMED.

My SELF-LOATHING was fairly easy to hide from people because I was very good at PRETENDING. I could joke around and make people laugh or just disappear without anyone noticing.

It was easy not to eat and to hide it from friends and family. If ever they asked, I just said I ate earlier. If I had to eat with others, I just made sure that was my only meal for the day.

I was an EXCEPTIONAL LIAR, which made me feel GUILTY and ASHAMED. I suffered alone because I wouldn’t share:

I feel trapped. I want to cry…ball my eyes out but people are here visiting so I can’t. I feel like I’m suffocating in silent screams…I have such PAIN IN MY CHEST and it’s HARD TO BREATHE…I feel nauseous…

My lowest weight was 101 lbs. I romanticized about getting to 100 lbs but I hovered at 101 lbs careful to not go under…in my brain I felt if I went under 100 lbs I was really screwed up…I was only prepared to be sorta screwed up…although that rationalization is unhealthy, it did keep me from going lower in weight.

I recognized I felt a SEVERE LACK OF SELF that contributed to my need to shrink away and yet I also recognized my INSTINCT…the part of my SELF that wanted to LIVE, THRIVE, BE HAPPY and SUCCESSFUL in life…although very quiet it is consistent throughout my journal entries….one sentence per 20 pages…but it is there.

I often felt ALONE and MISUNDERSTOOD. I ISOLATED and struggled to eat, pick myself up and convince myself I was WORTH IT but it was exhausting and the ‘evil’ voice was always so much LOUDER and STRONGER. In hindsight, I should have been hospitalized.

It’s like a bully in your head shouting at you constantly and because you are exhausted, it’s just easier to listen to it than fight it.

Although I was terrified of getting fat I also hated my skinny legs and felt horrifically ugly around people who were at normal weight.

EATING DISORDERS ARE VERY COMPLEX.

I WANTED ATTENTION. Sometimes, I just wanted someone to “SEE” me and yet in the same breath, I didn’t want anyone to notice me. I wanted to shrink away into my own darkness because that is what I deserved. I didn’t deserve food; I deserved NOTHING.

I WANTED HELP and yet FEARED help because I knew I’d be forced to eat, and I was terrified of food.  Think of your worst fear…it could be of heights, spiders or flying…now think of that fear towards food…IT’S A PAINFUL AND CONFUSING WAY TO LIVE.

You create RULES for yourself and your need to have things PERFECT is consuming. This could be in how you eat (separating your food in little piles by color on your plate), organize your closet, or do your makeup…everything must be meticulous.

You have incredible MOOD SWINGS and then feel enormous GUILT for reacting so strongly to something.

The FEAR inside is enormous. You are scared of everything…people, situations, being attacked, getting a disease, getting fat, food, etc…and yet you don’t share this with others because they may think you are crazy…so you keep all this bottled up inside and it consumes you and you lose control…so you circle around to what you do have control over…FOOD…what you don’t realize is your control over food becomes unmanageable.

I look at myself in that photo and it breaks my heart.

You don’t realize when you are in the eating disorder how extremely UNHAPPY you are in your life.

You don’t realize that your eyes are flat, just like your energy levels.

You will yourself through the day to get things done…and yet, IT’S NEVER GOOD ENOUGH BECAUSE YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

I had unreasonable expectations of myself but I was unable to see it.

I fought the eating disorder as best I could but it was a very AGGRESSIVE and PERSUASIVE voice inside my head. Sometimes it would win and sometimes I would win. The last entry is when I started to improve:

I like getting to know myself better – it’s such a great thing. I never thought my style, looks, thoughts and ideas were good enough. I am trying to constantly remind myself I AM GOOD ENOUGH and stop myself from shrinking into my little hole. I’m eating better. The fear of gaining weight is really extreme but once your body gets food regularly it wants food regularly and it’s harder to ignore…the hunger pains seem stronger and I’d have to starve myself for a few days to get the numbness and lack of hunger back…but I WANT TO BE HEALTHY. Eating scares me…but I’ll do it, one day at a time…that is what I’ll focus on…

Once I got out of the relationship and away from the damage it was doing, I gained control over my eating disorder because I started to deal with the inner issues. I no longer needed it as a coping mechanism to the chaos around me and ultimately inside me.

Click HERE for the Kelty Eating Disorder website and HERE for the National Eating Disorder Information Center for more facts and information on all EATING DISORDERS.

The story I’ve told is my own, from my perspective. I am not a medical professional; however, I am someone who has experience in how it feels and why…if you think this can help someone else, please do not hesitate to pass it along. I SHARE MY STORY TO HELP OTHERS REALIZE THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE.

With love and deep compassion,

Tina

 

Share Your Thoughts

*