Written by Cait Grogan
My eating disorder has always taken the back burner to my other mental illnesses. It's always been pushed aside to deal with the more “pressing matters.” I remember being 12 years old and throwing out my lunch every morning when I got to school so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. I remember being 14 years old the first time I made myself throw up in the school bathroom. I remember being 16 and having to cut my hair short because it was all falling out from nutrient deficiency.
The only reason my eating disorder was never taken seriously is because I was never big. My highest BMI was still in the low range of the healthy category. Why? Because I haven’t fed my body properly since I was 10 years old. Because I was never big I never dropped enough weight for it to be shocking. For years. I didn’t fit into the category of “anorexia” or “bulimia.” When I was finally giving the name of EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) it was almost another reason for me to not get help. It felt as if my eating disorder wasn’t valid, like my problems weren’t real and like I had been telling myself for years, I’m not “sick” enough.
My eating disorder convinced me for years that I was never “sick enough” for it to be an issue.
It was “maybe if I drop 5 more pounds I can get help.” I was always too fat, not skinny enough, not sick enough, not worthy of recovery, because I was convinced that there was nothing for me to recover from. It took 10 years of fighting with myself to realize that they only way my ED will accept that I am “sick enough” to get better is if I am dead.
This year my weight dropped back to an all time low. But this time I looked at it differently. I could see my thin hair, the bags under my eyes, the dull skin, the blue fingernails. I didn’t see what I wanted to in the mirror, I didn’t see what I thought being skinny would bring me, all I saw was a girl who was more unhappy in her skin than ever before.
With the help of my lovely campus rep partner, Ally, I started to realize that my eating was a real problem. I finally admitted to myself that I DO have an eating disorder. I started attending an eating disorder therapy group, got a referral to an eating disorder clinic and started taking charge of my life again. I can never express my gratitude towards Ally for giving me the courage to ask for help.
So, for the first time in my life, my eating disorder is coming to the forefront. I’m sick of pretending that it is nothing - it is something, and I deserve to get better, regardless of what my eating disorder tells me.