This is an attempt at a short story, it’s an invitation into the mind of an anorexic. So let us begin.
Being anorexic feels like you suddenly stop belonging to everything that is real, and you start constantly wanting to belong to an idea of a body. You get lost in that idea, you stop worrying about the real struggles and problems in your life and you just consume yourself with that one thing. That body you want to carve and shape into the smallest possible figure that society deemed to be beauty. The weight loss, the kidney drop, period disappearing for years, are all just symptoms. They’re not the disease. The disease is the voice eating up your head.
A voice fueled by insecurities, struggles, fear, depression, anxiety and so much more. Anorexia is not just someone wanting to loose weight. It’s something that sucks the soul out of you, and that never completely leaves you. It’s hard for the person going through it and for the loved ones around them. It’s often hard for the people around you to understand why this is happening, why are you driving yourself to your own slow painful death. It’s not about that, and we don’t want to do that, trust me, we are not in the driving seat. And it takes wars, with one’s mind to fight this.
I can’t say I am 100% recovered today, I have a healthy body. But, it’s not just about that, It’s something that you need to constantly be aware of and push that voice out of you. Because, it’s not you.
Anyone reading this who has suffered with an eating disorder, this could be a little triggering so please don’t go forward and read if this is hard for you. It took me a long while to write and edit this, because living in that mindset was hell. For readers who have not suffered with it, keep reading. This is a day in the life of my 15 year-old self, struggling to belong to her own body. It’s not just me, many people suffer with this illness in silence, and it’s not spoken about enough.
Enjoy and please comment or text me your thoughts and if you are suffering please seek help. Talk to someone you trust about it, it’s hard to open up I know. But recovery is possible and it’s wonderful when you have loved ones to rely on when things get tough!
My bones ache and crack as I sit on the cold granite, but the theater was the only place where the sun is shining from 10:40 am-11:20 am. “Okay, Sarah you can have 40 cals from this tangerine, half a piece of brown toast with, 1/2 tsp of cream cheese which is around 60 calories put together, 100 will keep you going till 3 pm”- mind. I sit shivering from the cold waiting for that lonely ray of sunshine to reappear on the layers of sweaters I am wearing. I try to distract myself and just read the book sinking between my thighs. I struggled to hold the 700 page novel at eye level, but it just drops and wiggles itself back into my thigh gap. “Langdon reached Italy… hmm how about the rest of the sandwich, maybe some Hummus.. that would only be an extra 200 kcals or so? … Let’s check the cafeteria, maybe? The food is all fried, though.. How about a salad? That’s a waste of money.. Just suck it up! It’s only 4 hours anyways you can wait!”-mind.
I shift my attention back to my book, but it’s like there is a vacuum in my head sucking all the words, it’s so hard to focus____. “Whooooooot.. BREAKS OVER!! EVERYONE BACK UP” the PE coaches scream. I stumble up the stairs, quickly, leaving the rest of my sandwich, juice and banana on one of the stairs for a hungry someone to pick them up.
I get to the classroom, no one is here yet.. Thank God! I take that time to enjoy the silence and organize my desk. It’s a rectangular, rocky surface: my pencil case on the right, journal underneath it. My notebook on the left and my calculator above it. I can hear the loud yelling and drama approaching from afar, ughhh.. Silence no more. I gather my guts, and try to socialize, like my mother advised me. “Ask her how her break was? Play dumb ask what we have next? Be social for once…. Stop being such a drama queen!” – mind. I open my mouth to utter some words. But, it’s harder than I thought “ehhmm…”
“Hey! Have you done the homework for Physics?”-Laila
“Yea, I did it.”- Me
“Can I borrow it before the teacher is here?” -Laila
“Umm, yea sure, here take it.” – Me
“Well, at least you spoke to someone and they listened, so progress?”- mind
I can hear it twisting and turning, my stomach is yelling. I am trying to focus on the mechanics of an incline, but at this point, it’s impossible to process any of this! “Just breathe, the air will fill you up and drink up water it’ll keep you full. You’ll get through three more hours and then, you’re out!” -mind.
The chair is rock hard. I need a cushion underneath me the chair is, too painful. Should I maybe take off my jacket and sit over it? But then I’ll be colder than I already am. Whatever it’s just another 3 hours… FOCUS!
“SARAH, can you stand up and answer the question!”-Physics Teacher.
“Umm, yes” – Me
” Shit! you haven’t been concentrating the whole time, why are you so dumb, why can’t you do something right for once! Now the teacher will get the impression that you’re a careless day dreamer!” – mind.
I stand up, take a few moments to collect my thoughts, and answer the question correctly . “Slow..”-mind. I survive the next four periods, somehow, and now I am on my way to the “by car area” as everyone called it. I was getting picked up by my mom. “Make sure you are wearing your bag forward, you don’t need another lecture about how your size is not normal” -mind. I get to the car and all I can think about is the second I get home to eat. “But wait, what’s for lunch.. no what if she cooked with oil, what if it has butter, cheese, milk or red meat. You know the second you even inhale this shit you’ll gain 5 kg. Weigh yourself the second you’re home!”- mind.
” So how was everyone’s day, ; lovelies!”-Mom
“It was all good mamy!” – Us
“What’s for lunch today?” – Me
” Zuchinni in red sauce, white rice, baked chicken and a salad.” – Mamy
“Perfect, you’ll have the Zucchini, drained out of the oily sauce, a chicken breast, no buttery rice, eww.. And half a piece of pita bread.” -mind. I held up my phone as I cornered myself towards the window, so that my sister couldn’t see my screen. I estimated my total calories. “400 kcals including lunch, that’s good and then add the potential fruit after track practice. That’ll be 600 kcals for today. Perfect, maintain this and you’ll get where you need to be.”-mind.
I got home, first thing is first, I go to my room, drop my stuff on my bed, run into my mother’s room and steal the scales to the bathroom. I step on, naked___ 45 Kg. “Ugh that’s more than yesterday I was 44 Kg! Water weight? NO I MUST EAT LESS TODAY! I CAN’T KEEP GAINING LIKE THIS! I’ll blow out in to an elephant soon.” -mind. I get off the scales and pile up the layers of clothing, run back to my mother’s room and put the scales back before they notice. I scoop out half the portion I initially planned to eat, and take it upstairs to eat by the T.V. My mom came up to do laundry, she saw my plate.
“Is that enough food?” – Mom
“Yea, this is just what’s left don’t worry I ate a lot” – Me
“Oh, Okay. Well, eat up because practice is in an hour!” -Mom
“Yep, don’t worry I’ll get more food later.” -Me
I go back down put some rice in my plate and scatter so it looks like I had some rice, then I put it in the sink. Then, I got dressed and went to practice.
“My legs are freezing, it’s too cold to warm up, maybe some more laps?”- mind. I run 7 laps instead of 2 to warm up. Practice ends, and I can hear my heart pumping in my ears. My veins so blue and protruding that it feels like they’re escaping my body.
“Lama, you need to put on some weight so your stride has more power to it”- Coach
“Yes, coach I am trying to!”- Me
I am gasping desperately for air but manage to yell out: “Who wants to do some Ab exercises!” , some follow and we work our abs for around 15 minutes, then stretch and leave. Practice was all I looked forward to in my day, I got to run, be free and just breathe. The burned calories, were just a plus.
I got home after practice, and ran into the bathroom to shower. I let go of the towel wrapped over me and starred at my silhouette in the mirror . ” Gap check, side thigh fat needs work, abs check, lower abs need work, though. Arms, too fat. Back, too fat.” – mind.
I step into the boiling water and I enjoy the warmth. I run my hand through my hair and piles of hair fall out.. I am holding half of my hair in the palm of my hand!!! This is terrifying, what am I doing wrong?? I am on the cleanest diet there is! As I finish up I pour ice freezing water over my body. “It’ll burn that extra belly fat.. “-mind. At least I hope so.
I pile up the Pjs once again and pray no one asks why I have that many layers on when all the heaters are on inside the house. I run to the kitchen and pour myself hot water with a squeeze of lemon, trusting it’ll defy all science and melt my fat. I cut up my night snack; one apple, 5 strawberries, a small orange and a tangerine. I walk over to my desk, curl up, drink my hot water, eat my fruit and get my homework done.
I am so hungry, I can’t sleep. “Do more abs, burn more calories. You’ll get so tiered and eventually fall asleep” – mind. I raise my legs under the covers and do some leg raises in silence. It’s not working!! How about I get out of bed, drink more water. I could be dehydrated? I found myself in the study, instead, I did some jumping jacks. I am so tiered, I can’t breathe properly anymore, CAN I PLEASE SLEEP NOW. ” Fine, stay fat. Sleep like a sloth.” – mind. I do 15 more sit ups and head to bed. My mind finally shuts up and I get a break of 5 hours. Morning comes back and we’re back in the cycle. Breakfast?
“HA! No way. Your mom’s asleep skip the lunch box prep, it’s a fasting day today.” – mind