There is something that has been bothering me lately. I haven’t thought about it for a long time, so of course my brain would start getting all philosophic and deep (and slightly confusing) when I am trying to finish 42 pages of AP notes in 3 days because I procrastinated all summer. No kidding, last night I sent my friend a 4 page long text ranting about “how sexist it was of our founding fathers to create a country led by a (ahem MALE) president, because it meant Walt Disney had no material to work with to give America a Disney Princess. Therefore we have American Girl. Is there an american girl land though? Nope. Disneyland, filled with castles. Of lies” See, that didn’t even make sense. I need sleep…anyway onto my most recent deep thoughts…
this post does go into a slight bit of numbers, habits, etc. so if you are sensitive to that please disregard. Go to my last post about an ice cream sundae contest!
You don’t have to be underweight to have an eating disorder.
In my case, I was caught ‘early’ enough for it not to have gone that far.
Does the fact that my BMI never fell below the ‘healthy’ range make the thoughts I had (and occasionally still have) any less disordered? No. My lowest mentally was not my lowest physically. I was tired, constantly cold (in the summer), I sometimes had heart pains. I was confronted about what I was doing, I saw counselors, I ate more and some of those problems went away. The thoughts were less rampant but still there and I still lost weight. At my lowest weight I was omitted to an outpatient (not inpatient) program. Does the fact that I wasn’t in full day treatment mean my thoughts were any quieter? No, it just hadn’t gone far enough for that to be completely necessary. I was asked by the intake specialist if I really thought I had an eating disorder. Yes, I said, I think I do. No, I know I do. I had read online the ‘symptoms’ and I identified with most of them. No, I’m not drastically underweight. But if I don’t get help, I might get there. Just the same, gaining weight doesn’t make the thoughts go away.
When I finally told my friends (just a few) that the reason I was always busy after school was because I was in an outpatient program being treated for anorexia, they didn’t believe me. “But you eat” (do you actually see what I eat? an apple and a slice of bread?) “But you look healthy.” (read: But you aren’t emaciated enough to be anorexic. You don’t fall into society’s standards for an eating disorder). So thats what its come to. Not only are there unrealistic standards for what women and girls should look like, but there are standards for an eating disorder. If you aren’t noticeably underweight, If you actually eat (however little), if you don’t “act” anorexic, then apparently to the rest of the oblivious world, you aren’t.
But to be truthful, there aren’t any ‘rules’ of what is considered an eating disorder. Imagine two people, if you will, A and B. A was originally at a healthy weight, but developed an eating disorder, lost 20 pounds, and is now underweight. CALL THE AUTHORITIES she now has a flashing sign over her head that says ED. On the other hand, B was originally considered overweight, then developed an eating disorder, lost 50 pounds (unhealthily) and is told by friends how great she looks, how healthy she must be, how jealous they are. Fuel to the fire my friends. She may have even had the ED longer than A, but nobody would believe that upon looking at her simply because she is not underweight.
Truth be known, an eating disorder is not a competition. At least, not one that I want any part of. Going into it, however, I never believed that I really had one. I didn’t think I was “worthy” of that label. I wasn’t thin enough to be anorexic. I was thin, but not “thin enough”. I also don’t think I was solely anorexic. In the beginning, I had a mild case of Binge ED (when I began to rapidly gain weight with mindless, sometimes emotional, definitely uncontrollable eating. If you put a plate of cookies in front of me, I couldn’t stop. All I could think about were those cookies). With initial weight loss came a diagnoses of ‘pre-anorexia’, which later turned into a diagnoses of anorexia, which I believe was (is) really a blend of that plus orthorexic tendencies, exercise bulimia, and EDNOS. Yet the whole time I was considered to be in a ‘healthy weight range’. At 5’1”, my highest was 130, my lowest (at a doctors, not at home in the morning) was 100. Yes, this was a large weight loss, over the course of a year and a half. But it was always a “healthy” weight range. And yet, over the course of the two years I have had an eating disorder, between gains and losses, gaining back and losing again, my weigh has fluctuated a total of over 64 pounds. That is not healthy.
Its not about the weight you are. If it was, I wouldn’t have struggled, and I wouldn’t still struggle. Its about the ugly thoughts in your head. The disordered thinking. Please, if you are struggling with unhealthy thoughts, don’t disregard them simply because you or others can’t ‘see’ the eating disorder. I think (and this is not meant in any offensive way whatsoever, please don’t take it as such) that an eating disorder is like a cancer. You can’t see it until after its already taken hold, caused damage that is so deeply rooted that overcoming it is no easy task.
Thoughts are still thoughts. Struggles are still struggles, and disordered thinking is still vicious and harming at any weight.
You are not alone. You are never alone.