I remember when my eating disorder used to be my life. I used to love it, to cherish it, I was proud of it. Each day it helped me achieve by getting skinnier and skinnier, eating less and less, conquering my own human needs. It was like my child and I fed it what it wanted and what it needed to keep it alive and to make it stronger. To make it capable of controlling me. Because I liked it to do so. If it were a child, I definitely spoilt it by giving in to everything it wanted.
But you can only be on the path to killing yourself for so long without either cracking or dying.
And I cracked. I thought that made me weak, because I was giving in. I was eating, I couldn’t stand high on a pedestal anymore that I was placed upon by ana. I wasn’t superior to the rest of the human race due to an ability to starve myself thin. Like everybody else, I had to eat, and that was a biological fact that I didn’t want to accept because it made me loathe myself. It made me sink. It made me lose control of not only myself but the disorder which had controlled me up until now. Nothing was holding me in its grasp anymore, not me or ana.
But actually I was being passed over to mia. Worse than ana. At least with ana you are achieving; you don’t want to eat so you don’t eat, and although you are weak and tired and skinny and achey and bony and everyone begs you to eat against your will, at least you are doing what you want to do. But mia is so, so much worse from my experience. You still want to avoid eating and to starve, you still want to be skinny, you still want to be inhuman, but you can’t do it anymore. Because your biological urges have gained too much of a drive to ignore them anymore. It is a constant fight that is so tiring. The ana in me wants to starve myself, whilst the physiology of me makes me want to eat myself sick to make up for the 18 months of starvation that skinned me of myself – physical and mental. The fight is exhausting. If you don’t eat, all you can notice is this desperate drive to eat as your body fears going into ‘starvation mode’ again, but then if you give in to your basic hunger and eat you feel terrible –worthless, fat, vile, like a failure, disgusting. I know it’s hard to imagine having never experienced these thoughts yourself, but please take a minute to imagine how difficult this fight is. Two incredibly strong desires fight for victory of you. And you are the victim of this, you are in the middle, you are the rope being stretched from side to side amidst a tug of war. And you try so hard simply not to snap.
Think about a time when you’ve felt not physical hunger (those signals turn themselves off after a while of being ignored, like a crying baby that is starved of the energy to scream when it realises its neglect), but the times you’ve felt weak and irritable due to lack of food. Weak, irritable, lethargic, tired. And then imagine refusing yourself the right to eat, because if you do eat your conscience is devoured by your flattening thoughts at what an awfully cowardly person you are. Imagine the struggle. The fight. These thoughts can’t be turned off, but nor can the hunger. And there is little or no balance whatsoever.