I sat up with a start, hearing my name being called in the distance. The room was still dark and voice said that it was time to get up for school. My heart started to race, I looked at the time on my face and the numbers glared at me in the darkness. I had slept in, my alarm was for 5am and the numbers clearly read 730am. This was a disaster.
I was seventeen and I hated myself. I hated the body I was given, the angles, the curves all of them taunting me every time I looked in the mirror. I exercised for hours on end, watching every calorie that entered my mouth. I nearly failed maths but I could tell you how many calories where in the meal you were eating.
Laying in bed I felt my stomach cramp, as if my insides were searching for that last morsel of food that I had allowed to pass my lips. I allowed myself one meal, at 430pm, before embarking on a 2 hour long exercise gauntlet. I never ate in front of anyone else, hiding away in my room, in the dark. Ashamed that I had given in to what I saw as nothing more than primal urges.
Walking into the bathroom, I stripped off, turned on the shower and then weighed myself. I weighed myself again, and again to make sure that the number was right, committing it to memory so that I could record it in my diary. Those numbers determined the rest of my day. A gain and there would be no meal, and an extra hour of exercise added. A loss and I could eat that day. It didn’t matter how much I had gained, a gain was still a gain.
After showering I stood in front of my mirror looking for changes. Looking at the lumps and bumps. I put my uniform on, smiling at how loose it was. I stared at the pictures that were lining my wardrobe doors, looking at the angles, so much sharper than my own.
I filled my water bottle ready for the day. I drank lemon flavoured cordial so that I didn’t pass out at school. Passing out would give me away. I hadn’t eaten lunch at school for years, this was nothing new to my classmates. I slept or read most of the day, conserving my energy for what I saw as much more important, exercise. I drank litres of lemon cordial a day, with nothing to stop the digestion, I also spent most of my school time making trips to the toilet. Thankfully the ban I had placed on my use of the toilet during class time had been lifted.
Each school day was spent wishing the time would just hurry up. I needed to get home, I needed to complete my exercise regime. I saw nothing else as important. I lived and breathed exercise. Second guessing if I had done enough. Pushing myself that bit harder, running for that bit longer. I pushed myself to breaking point and then kept going. I saw myself as weak, and needing to be punished.
Disordered Eating is no laughing manner. It is so much more than restricted eating. It changes a person. Takes your loved one and spits them out a completely different person. A person with disordered eating wants to care about more, unable to see past the next meal, the next binge or the next exercise session.
Disordered Eating is more than Anorexia and Bulimia. It is an umbrella that has a myriad of conditions under it. A person doesn’t have to thin to suffer. As soon as food starts to have a negative impact in your life, I urge you to seek help. Speak to your GP or check out The Butterfly Foundation for more information. You don’t have to suffer alone.
very heart felt post
Thank you for sharing this post Tegan. I am sure it will be of benefit of many. As a mother I so worry about my girls and their perspective on their body image. Sending some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses your way
Body image is such a delicate thing. I worry about my son and how he will perceive himself in years to come.
Thank you for having the courage to share your very moving and heartfelt story Tegan.
My heart is with the girl as I read it.
I had an eating disorder right through my teens and it is not something you ever truly get over.
I still have health issues today, many years later because of it and have to work at believing and accepting myself every day .
Much love to you XXX
The disordered eating doesn’t ever really go away. I still question every thing I put in my mouth, and justify to myself why I deserve to eat. It’s not something I would wish on anyone.
Oh, Tegan! What a powerful post! I hope that many sufferers out there read your story. I can only imagine how psychologically complicated an eating disorder can be.
Wow T that must have been hell for you. As a young teen I had issues with food, I didn’t eat but tried hard to hide it but at a boarding school it was hard to – I still can’t accept that I’m beautiful the way I am but I’m trying – as I don’t want my kids to be like me! x
That’s one of my biggest worries too, I don’t want to pass on my body image issues to Mr 4.
I understood so much of this Tegan. I was obsessed with the calorie intake of food and dangerously thin. Not a good place to be.
So sorry that you went through this too but I am glad that you are healthy now xx
Thank you so much for sharing. This is so important to remember for when my daughter is growing up.
That is one of the things that I am working hardest at making sure that I don’t pass on to Mr 4. I don’t want him to have the same body issues that I have.
Miss 16 has a very good friend who has an eating disorder, my daughter just doesn’t know what to do or say anymore, she feels so helpless to see her friend wasting away. But as I try to comfort her, the psychiatrists etc her friend is seeing have been training/studying for as long as she has been alive to be able to help her friend, so she shouldn’t feel bad that she can’t “fix” it!!!
That’s great advice. It is such a personal thing and until someone is willing to accept the help, all that anyone can do is be there for them.
A really moving post.
I am not a fan of autobiographies and the last autobiography I would have looked for was the one by Portia De Rossi (maybe not the absolute last, that would probably be anything by a Kardashian!) but a friend gave me her book The Unbearable Lightness, so to be polite I read it. I found it really moving and very sad and absolutely fascinating, so many lonely years spent punishing her body to be thin, I’d definitely recommend it if anyone is interested in this area.
I have read her book as well. It was interesting to see the impacts on someone who, to the world appeared to have it all.
Such a clear heart felt description of a very stark reality. Thanks for bringing light to the subject from a different angle.
Wow, in tears! Very personal and relatable. Thanks for sharing and helping me to reevaluate things. (((HUGS))) #laceyslegacy
Wow, thankyou for sharing your story. I have a friend who suffers from bulimia and it’s so hard to watch and feel helpless