Hello. I’m Vigilant. I am opening up to you all today about my short but horrible and extreme experience with anorexia nervosa. I understand what it is like, how I could barely see the damage I was doing to my body, how I thought I wasn’t good enough, how I could get yelled at by my family and make no changes. I understand it all, and I appreciate you reading this.
At the end of 2017 I noticed I was gaining weight, and most of it being fat. It was not anything near extreme, but I had gained 5-10 lbs in a few months, and at the time I had gone through a rough breakup. I remembered how they had taught me about eating disorders and how to get help for them in school years prior, but when I was suffering from anorexia, I had no idea I had it. When I had watched those videos, I always thought to myself how I would never be affected by an eating disorder, but that day things were about to change, and in a bad way.
November 4th, 2017 is a day that almost lives infamously for me now. That was a day I told myself I was going to change and make my body look good, but now I look back and see the horrible thing I had started, the disease that would plague me for the next few months of my life, crippling my attitude, body, and social connections. You see, at first when I tried to lose weight, I thought I would lose a few pounds and look fitter, but I kept craving the changes I saw. Week after week, meal skipped after meal skipped, the pace increased as I saw more and more of the fat shave off. After she rejected me and we split off, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to her, and because of that I was good enough for nobody. I thought nobody would like me because of my body. This was simply not the case, and my body at this point in time was the average skinny fat teenager you see everywhere, I was by no means incredibly obese or skinny. I had been really big when I was younger, but I lost a lot of the weight just by growing and learning to eat better (not hating fruits & vegetables, etc.).
I wanted abs, I wanted my muscle to show, I wanted in a way revenge to show her that I am worth something after all. However, it was all in vain, because unfortunately the focus of losing the weight quickly shifted from her and to me. As the number on the scale lowered I didn’t look too much different, so I figured I had to eat less and workout more to start burning off more and more fat.
As weeks progressed I started to change. In those videos about eating disorders they show you at school they never mention about how it affects your social circle and your attitude towards them. I personally presented people for hating food. I remember losing one of my best friends at the time because I didn’t understand how he could eat so much and be loved by his girlfriend, but I could be loved by nobody. It was a horrible thought process, one that forges in you with an eating disorder like this. This plague starts to infect more than just your eating habits, it influences your thoughts and actions. I remember I would snap at my friends for eating things more than 120 calories at a time.
I lost weight, that’s for sure, a lot of it muscle and a lot of it fat. Around this point I started to look thinner and thinner, you could very easily tell that I had lost lots of weight, many people commented on this at school saying how proud they were that I was losing the weight, this only fueled the fire inside me more…At this point my family tried to get involved. I can say first hand that if your loved one has anorexia, screaming at them to eat more will do literally nothing. Forcing me to eat more did literally nothing. I have learned this the hard way too when I tried to help a loved one out with their anorexia, I force fed them and it only converted them to bulimia, in which they started purging their food via vomit. I never resorted to bulimia thankfully, and I cannot imagine the difficulty those with bulimia face. However, the proper way to treat someone with anorexia really depends on the person and their own beliefs and reasons for doing it. In my experience, most of my anorexic friends have done it due to a poor self-image of themselves and the fact they think people will like them more if they are thinner.
It’s incredibly tough to break the mindset of those with anorexia. Once the plague had manifested my body completely, it was like I had an incurable disease. This disease almost in a way rewires everything you do, at this point hunger wasn’t even something that affected me anymore, it was just second nature to me. I was so used to not eating it became normal. When people in my family forced me to eat, I just ended up not eating anything else for the rest of the day to counter out the calories and it just made me suffer more due to not eating in longer periods of time. However, I managed, I drunk lots of water and used other methods anorexics find online to supress their hunger. I adapted, menacingly, looking back it almost like it wasn’t me. It was like I was the host to a virus that had complete control over me, it put me through suffering and torment just to get its way of 1000 calories or less everyday. If it meant not eating a single thing for the next 19 hours, there was no second thought, it was put in action. I look back now and feel sick to my stomach seeing my smile in those photos of my ribcage popping through my chest with my arms almost showing bone through them being so small. Seeing how loose extra-small shirts fit me, and thinking to myself how I could be so “happy” during then. Happy of what I ask myself? How much torture and pain I endured just to see my bottom ribs? I feel so dumb looking back at it now, but at the time I had no idea what I was doing to myself…
Anytime I wanted to eat food, my mind would remind me how horrible it would make me look, how nobody would love me if I ate that, that me and my cravings were the reason I had failed in dating her. All of this really did stem from a point of me feeling like I had failed everyone after I got rejected by her, and internalizing these feelings irrationally. This is how you help those with anorexia, if my family had known about what happened (not putting the blame on them, they wouldn’t know) and had therapy for me to help understand that it wasn’t my body that made her not like me, it was just we weren’t meant for each other, I would have been on the road to recovery way before I had suffered some of the permanent damage anorexia gives you once you’re really strapped in. You have to find the source of trauma that makes them think this way. It’s not as simple as they don’t just hate their body, you have to find what triggered it and help them get the therapy they need to love themselves again and understand they are loved. Now, of course not everybody has anorexia for a reason that involves someone not loving them, but in my experience most cases will be like this or be something similar. The point I’m trying to make is, force feeding someone with anorexia and trying to “fix” their eating habits won’t solve anything. Reassuring them yourself won’t do anything either. At that time what I needed was therapy. My family was force feeding me when the problem wasn’t with food itself, it was with my broken relationships that I was misinterpreting as problems with my weight. It’s like taping a hole in the side of the titanic, you band-aid fixed some of it for a few seconds, but you didn’t fix a darn thing that’s causing it.
If you are a loved one needs help recovering from anorexia, these threads on the eating disorder subreddit on Reddit will be more than helpful in giving you the resources and unbiased advice you need.
I don’t know what made me wake up. After three months of torment I realized I wasn’t getting the body I wanted the entire time. I ran the marathon and didn’t receive a prize, I felt so deceived. I think my innate anger for being swindled rose up out of me and started to fight back against this virus plaguing me. It wasn’t long before I found the bodybuilding subreddit and started to learn how to diet, lift, and live properly. As I forced myself to eat against my will promising myself I would see changes in myself the focus became less of how I looked, but how healthy I was. Putting the right fuel in my body to energize me throughout the day, enjoying life, exercising in a balanced way, and learning that people like me because of my personality and not my body is what cured me personally. Soon the gloomy clouds of anorexia disappeared from me, and I emerged new. I am glad I went through the experience, as it taught me so much. I never would want to go through it again or wish it upon anyone, but after I recovered it made me learn that some people just don’t like you, and that has no correspondence to your weight, and if they do– that’s their problem. I learned to live my life and enjoy it, we only have a limited time on this great planet of ours.
I do help people stuck with eating disorders learn to eat healthier and discover themselves to heal properly. I feel like forcing people to eat doesn’t do anything, it’s a temporary solution to a permanent problem unfortunately. I find that if you really help someone build a strong support group of friends and find out that people like them for what’s inside, then it can help them start to pave away at their eating disorder if it is related to self-image issues.
It was tough, and I used to think anorexia couldn’t be that bad, it is a horrible and devastating disease.
Please, if you need help, feel free to contact me or read these excellent resources which I find more helpful than a hotline.