Inside The battles of an anorexic mind

Today is World Eating Disorders Action Day

(#WeDoAct) is a grassroots movement designed for and by people affected by an eating disorder, their families, and the medical and health professionals who support them. (http://www.worldeatingdisordersday.org/)

One of the greatest strengths of grassroots movements is the power of our stories. Today’s guest blogger will remain anonymous, but they have the courage to share with us what it’s like to battle daily with an eating disorder:

I fight within my mind every day.  I start with my morning exercise.   Sometimes I am so tired I don’t want to go to the gym. I always go.  I tell myself I will just do what I can, but after I start, I push myself as hard as I can.  Even when totally exhausted, I keep going.

I tell myself I will only go 7 miles, but I go 8, or 9, or 10…11, 12, 13, 14…because it is never enough.  If I only run between 7-10 miles, I will get on the elliptical and go for more, to switch it up.  Just 100 more calories, 200 more calories…300 more.  I exercise to justify eating.

I only eat to fuel my workouts.  After I have lunch, I am always full, so I like to go back to the gym to work my lunch off so I can feel better about having dinner.  I do not want all this food sitting in my stomach.  If I exercise I will digest my food quicker and feel relief…which is better than purging right?  Right?  Because purging is not healthy.  It’s harmful to my body…but it’s quicker than exercising.

I fight over things like going to the grocery store.  Food I want to eat but don’t, food I don’t want to eat, but do sometimes and then punish myself, food that NORMAL people eat every day, food I eat that makes me feel guilty, fat, heavy, sick and disgusting.

Every day, every hour, every minute, is a battle of the mind and body.  A battle I cannot seem to win.  That is no way for a person to live. No wonder I am so tired.  My self is a constant battlefield.

This is not who I am.  I have lost myself somewhere along the way.  I can’t do anything without a fight with myself, planning around food or not food.  Thinking about how many calories I am or am not burning.

In everything I do I wonder how many calories I am burning… by mowing the lawn, gardening, raking, walking, dance class, household chores etc.  I hate sitting because being stationary does not burn calories.

After dinner is the time I always feel the worst.  Dinner does not sit well in my stomach.  This is the time, if I am going to get rid of my food, I will.  Will I throw dinner up tonight?  I want to because then I will feel so much better quickly.  But I know purging is BAD for my body, it is a destructive behavior.

If I don’t do it all the time then I will be ok.  I know the process is uncomfortable to go through.  It hurts actually.  Yeah, but it’s only for a little bit, and then I will feel better, empty…lighter.

On and on it goes…sometimes I lose the battle (what I think is losing) and keep my food and feel nasty and fat and gross. Sometimes I win (which is what I think is winning, but others think it’s losing) and I purge and feel better.  And in the morning, I feel emptier and satisfied.

There are other battles I fight as well.  Going out to eat is a nightmare, going to functions that involve eating is overwhelming.  Many times, I miss out being with friends. Other times when I can’t miss, I eat to avoid drawing attention to myself by not eating when everyone else is.  Then I hate myself.

Going away is hard as well.  I plan most of my meals and bring most of my food so I don’t have as much anxiety.  Of course, my family gets annoyed by this, but it makes me feel more relaxed, but takes the fun out of just going.

Every moment of every day.  I know I am a freak… When I heard myself telling all of this to my therapist, I realized I would feel so sad for her if she were telling me this about herself.  This is no way for a person to live.

I don’t deserve to feel sad for myself. I am the one who got myself into this mess…and now, I can’t get myself out, or I won’t, or I don’t know how.  Yeah, I don’t know how.  I start getting all anxious and panicked when I think about ways to stop…if maybe just maybe I will not go to the gym one morning

Will I ever be better? I want to be…I just can’t seem to reach that point.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.