Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Through lying eyes - Part 1

I have a friend in my life who has been on an incredible journey. Hers is the story of many young women in Australia, but it is rarely told with such clarity. Whenever we find ourselves in conversation, I find myself wondering how someone like her, ended up in a place like that. What was it really like to maintain a lifestyle so fraught with temptation and judgement and self-deprivation? I asked her if she would put together some thoughts for my blog. I wanted her to be able to reach others who may find her story as interesting as I do.

Here is the first instalment of what I believe will be a fascinating series on Anorexia Nervosa.


Image credit
Imagine the scenario....

You are 21 years old and should be living up these gregarious, responsibility-free years, but instead you are trapped in your own mind in a very black place. No-one outside can penetrate your thoughts or beliefs and make you see reason.

Your main priority in your day-to-day life is to starve to the point of lightheadedness; to see how little you can eat, see how hungry you can get, how much exercise you can do, and show how strong willed you are.

Your thoughts from the moment of waking up are focussed on how much you weigh or what you are going to eat that day or how you are going to escape people's comments or demands to eat and being around food, all while going through the motions of holding down a full-time job.

If you weigh 0.2kg more than the day before, your day is destined to be emotionally torturous.

If you weigh any more than you did half an hour earlier, your day will be equally as emotionally torturous, and sometimes you want to die.

Weight, food, how long until your head will let you eat, what you will eat, how boney you feel, how many ribs you can see, how prominent your hip bones are, what you look like in the reflection of the window, what rules you have about food and eating, constantly moving and burning energy.....round and round, these thoughts are all you can focus on all day.

You become a very good liar, to others and yourself.
All the while wondering when you might start to look thin.

By the end of the day you are drained beyond belief, but somehow you get a high from the knowledge you will do it all again tomorrow.

The scenario is anorexia nervosa at 34kg.

This was my life, but I didn't think there was a problem at all.

How did that snapshot make you feel? Pretty exhausted? Please leave a comment below for my friend to read and then tune in for the next installment next Tuesday.

16 comments:

Maxabella said...

Thank you so much for sharing this - it floored me. Utterly devastated. But it lifts my spirits to know that your friend can look back on this period in her life - that she is not still there. That she made it out somehow. But, oh my, such a waste of a young life.

Imagine all the thoughts your beautiful friend might have had if only her mind wasn't cluttered with such anxiety, such sadness, such emptiness. And it wrecks me to think that this is the way many women feel. Fortunately most of them will not be anorexic, but they will still spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about food and weight and appearance and self, always self. What I think of me, what others think of me, what I should think of me, what others might think of me... and above all the pursuit of nothingness.

Oh, such a waste.

x

x0xJ said...

I look forward to reading more!

Anorexia Nervosa is like a drug, only whereas drug users have an outside substance this addiction is fed from within.

This is definately something that needs to be spoken about more, we need to learn about it so we can hopefully steer our children away from the self loathing so many of us have felt in our life at some stage.

life in a pink fibro said...

It is exhausting. So all consuming. I am waiting for the next installment - if only to see how your friend managed to drag herself out of that dark hole. I can't imagine how a person changes that thinking.

Gill@OurParklife said...

I am not sure how the snapshot made me feel...sad and a little shocked too...
But this post is both very hard to read and captivating at the same time if that is possible...I will be waiting for the next installment to see how things can change...

Truly heartbreaking

Gill xo

Quadmama said...

As a mom of four girls, I'm constantly worried about how I present "body issues." I exercise and try to eat healthy, but I try not to emphasize weight. It's always heartbreaking to see healthy young girls who think they're overweight and start hurting themselves to be thin.

DancingInTheRain said...

Yes, thank you for sharing. I know someone in her 40s who still battles with anorexia and I have oftened wondered what life is like for her (and her four children) so I am grateful for this insight. Hopefully, with a greater understanding of her illness I can be more sensitive and helpful in what I say to her.

Suzie G said...

This is an extremely scary scenario in which too many women find themselves.

I believe that the age-old argument about what is portrayed in the media is definitely something that needs to be investigated. Having stick-thin models in advertisements, or articles on the latest diet truly need to be looked at from the eyes of someone with anorexia. Perhaps only then will others get an idea of how this makes someone with AN feel.

Look forward to next week.

Natalie said...

Wow. This was powerful and eye opening! You did a fantastic job expressing in words the effects this has on women. I'm glad your friend is past it all and can now inspire other women, as you have.

Buttons by Lou Lou said...

Like others have said, it is so sad that so much time and energy and thought is spent on all of this, often leaving no space for anything else. Sad that something much more productive could have been in its place. So many people think it is about the food but of course it is not at all, that is just an outward symptom of what is happening inside.
Thanks for sharing. Lou.

MultipleMum said...

I am so glad that you have found this story as interesting (and heart-breaking) as I have. My friend is wrapped with the feedback and is well underway with her next enthralling installment.

Tenille said...

I'm glad your friend found a way to manage that horrible disease. It's such a complicated thing to deal with, and I think that it's wonderful that she's sharing her story.

Rebecca said...

That is how so many girls/women see themselves every single day. I looked at that picture for a long time and it devastates me, but I'm glad you're talking about it. We have to talk about it.

Michelle Twin Mum said...

Thanks so much for sharing. It is really important for eating disorders to be bought more into the open.

I did a post a short while back about a friends daughter who is 10 and has been diagnosed as anorexic.

http://mdplife.blogspot.com/2010/08/10-years-old-anorexic-this-could-be-my.html

It breaks my heart.

Mich x

Clea said...

Wow. This is so sad, and such an awful waste. The visual particularly got me, as I often wonder if this is truely the kind of images anorexics see when they look at themselves.
I kind of use to feel like this at a time in my life when I was VERY weight conscious. I wouldn't say I was anorexic, but I can relate to that feeling of exhaustion that comes with being totally immersed in food and diet, the feeling of being completely governed by something. It's always good to remember this is an illness, and not a choice.
:(

Clea said...

Wow. This is so sad, and such an awful waste. The visual particularly got me, as I often wonder if this is truely the kind of images anorexics see when they look at themselves.
I kind of use to feel like this at a time in my life when I was VERY weight conscious. I wouldn't say I was anorexic, but I can relate to that feeling of exhaustion that comes with being totally immersed in food and diet, the feeling of being completely governed by something. It's always good to remember this is an illness, and not a choice.
:(

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

This is an amazing post...haunting, but amazing. Thanks for bringing this issue to light. I look forward to the follow-up next Tuesday.

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