It’s been 16 years since I was diagnosed with Anorexia. I have my ups and downs, obviously, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s an everyday battle, a constant war I have to fight in my head to stay alive. Before it was hard; now, it’s even harder — I have a baby.
The most difficult part of having a mental illness is how hard it is for other people to realize you’re not choosing to be like that. “You have to eat to be strong for your baby.” Yes, I know; It’s part of my battle. People say that, thinking it will help, but it only makes it worse. It makes the guilt almost unbearable. I look at him so fragile in my arms, depending on me to survive, and here I am not being able to eat. “If I died, he wouldn’t even remember me,” I tell myself every day — but it also doesn’t help.
During pregnancy I was able to eat normally; even I was proud of myself. Of course there were days when I didn’t want to have a full meal, but at least I ate. “It’s for the baby,” I told myself; and it really was. But now he’s not inside of me anymore and, unfortunately, I’m not breastfeeding — my motivation is gone. There are days when I can’t even open my mouth; it’s shut, it’s sealed.
Having an eating disorder is punishing. “Eat and fight your head. You have to be stronger than that!” If only people knew that’s the same as telling someone with cancer to fight it and let it go. (And before anyone says anything about my statement, I’m a cancer survivor. So yes, I know how cancer is like.) Trying to explain gets tiring, so you start to hide yourself from the world. Only I know how many times I’ve said things like “I already ate, thank you” or “Mmmm that looks delicious! I’ll try it next time!” Before it was bad, but now I look at my baby and feel even worse. Guilt starts building up the moment I feel good for not eating anything — now I always feel guilty, regardless if I eat or not.
Every day I wake up thinking “I won’t care about it anymore,” and every day I fail. I see people eating and I simply can’t understand the pleasure they feel. “How come they’re not ashamed?” I ask myself and envy their satisfaction (in a good, wistful way). I miss my childhood years, when I didn’t know the pain, shame and guilt I feel every time I eat. I just hope I’ll be able to fight it over and over again; I hope I’ll keep myself alive for my son and my family. I know it will never go away; the day I look at myself in the mirror and not see a fat person will never come. I’ll never look at food without getting anxious and trying to figure out how many calories I’ll be eating. It’s a curse.
I’d like to thank my husband Jeremy for always being there for me, and my family and friends for trying to help. I know it’s hard, and I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. I don’t know how to stop.