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.