When battling anorexia, I wasn’t the same person I am today or before my eating disorder (ED). I was typically angry at the world or crying of disappointment in myself. Either way, for the most part, I kept it to myself. My emotions and problems were just that, MY emotions and MY problems.
The biggest difference in my personality throughout my eating disorder days was how, when I was anorexic, I was proud of my body, while when I was binge eating, I was so ashamed of my body I was afraid to expose it to my family and friends.
Looking back at my years of binge eating and severe weight gain, I’m not as ashamed of my past as most would expect me to be at this point in my life. The main reason for that is because I never stopped living.
There is only about one month from my years with an ED that I recall hiding from everyone I could, including life. I didn’t want to leave the house in case I would be spotted, but I didn’t want to stay at home because I was worried my family members were judging my every move.
I recently asked my mom what she remembers from that month I spent in deep depression and all she remembers was my anger. I was not a happy person, however she is proud that I never tried to drag the world down with me.
After that one month of serious depression over my recently developed overweight body, I stopped pitying myself and kept on moving forward with my dreams and goals.
Did I stop binging?
No! However, at least I didn’t let my binging take over my life.
Although it may have been clear to my family and friends that I wasn’t all that happy and had some obvious eating issues, to anyone who met me for the first time, I was just another college student trying to get by.
I could look back at all I have done and be seriously disgusted with the amount of food I could consume or the baggy clothes I would wear to hide either my starving or overly fed body. But I am not disgusted! I am not ashamed! And that is because I kept my head held high. I rarely complained to my peers that I was ill, I never asked for special treatment because I was mentally sick, and no matter what, I tried to keep my ED my problem. Every now and then, I would slip up and cry on a friends shoulder when someone called me overweight, but I think just about anyone would in that situation.
There is nothing healthy about having an eating disorder, or any mental illness for that matter, and you should always seek help. During that time of getting better though, the best way to help yourself is to keep your head held high. During college I had a professor whom I rarely saw eye to eye with. However, she did teach me one valuable lesson before I left her class:
If you do not feel well, it is best to get yourself out of bed, get ready for the day, and give the day your best effort right off the bat. If you dressed your best, fixed you hair, and walked out of the house smiling but still really don’t feel well, then call it a day and get back in your P.J.’s to rest in bed.
This applies to people physically sick and mentally sick. Rarely did I wake up in good spirits on a day after a binge. My stomach was usually in knots, my cheeks flushed, and my fingers and feet swollen; but my parents didn’t really believe in sick days and therefore, I didn’t take very many.
Based on my personal experience, I can tell you feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. In fact, it usually makes the situation worse. Ignoring the problem isn’t the key either. You should definitely seek the necessary help for whatever it is you’re going through, but waking up every day and giving each day your all is important for recovery.
“I’m just trying to make it through the day.” Erase that expression from your memory.
Every day is a new day. Even if the day ends in tears, at least you gave the day your best, and you can do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
Everyone has their share of rough days, some more than others; everyone deals with the challenging times differently. But bringing others down with you only ever caused me to lose friends and create hostel environments when people were around me. Let everyone around you stay positive, and eventually, it may rub off on you!