Imagine having a friend who is constantly there for support, is happy for you when you do something ‘good’, encourages you to ‘keep going’ to reach your full potential. Sounds quite nice right? But then this friend changes. When you do something for her, she then just wants more. Her voice changes from sweet whispers of encouragement to harsh screams of anger. She is never satisfied. This is what my life was like 4 years ago – and the friend? Well, she was called Miss Anorexia Nervosa.
Miss A.N. came into my life just before I turned 14. Now she didn’t just suddenly enter one day, proclaiming, ‘I’m here!’…it wasn’t like that. She was subtle. So subtle that I didn’t even know I’d made a new ‘friend’. But within 4 – 5 months, she was controlling my every thought and move – like a puppet on a string.
My ‘friendship’ with A.N. seemed quite pleasant to begin with. These new thoughts she was giving me about cutting down calories, exercising in my bedroom, weighing myself more often all seemed pretty harmless and rather good ideas at the time. Why not become ‘healthier’ I thought. So there my journey began. It wasn’t going to cause anyone any harm, right? I was just taking a bit more control over what I ate, right? If I managed to lose a little bit of weight, well, that would make me feel a bit happier, right? …Wrong.
Miss A.N. seemed like a nice character at the start. She encouraged me. She told me that what I was doing was good for me. She praised me when the number on the scales fell. She gave me such a feeling of empowerment and control in my life. The thing is, I still wasn’t happy with myself. A.N. told me that if I kept following her ‘advice’ I would be someday, I just needed to be patient and keep listening to her. Little did I know that every word she said was a lie.
As the weeks passed, Miss A.N. became less and less ‘friend-like’, and more of a dictator. But by then, she had control of my thoughts and I felt there was no option but to follow her instructions. In a way, she was taking over my brain until the point where the majority of my brain consisted of Anorexia Nervosa, and only a little part was Naomi. She was never happy with me. I began to feel more and more guilty for every calorie I consumed. I began to feel the need to increase the number of star jumps I did each day. I began to long for the number on the scale to go further and further down. This all started by me taking control and being healthier…now I had no control. Miss A.N. was controlling everything.
For me, my journey with A.N. didn’t start off as a diet. I never set out to lose a huge amount of weight. However, once I was in A.N.’s grips and the number on the scales started to drop, then weight, food and body shape was all I could think about. I began to get such a buzz when I stepped on the scale and my weight had gone down, even if it was just by a tiny amount. But that buzz was short lived – Miss A.N. acknowledged my ‘progress’, but she almost immediately set a new target that would be harder to reach.
Miss A.N. also was pleased when I refused an offer of food. Be it a grape or a small sweet, anything mattered to her. She told me that not eating was something I was good at, and it would make me feel happy. I’ll tell you the truth…although the lack of eating gave me a buzz at times, I constantly felt miserable, powerless, hungry, craved so many foods and remember sometimes going to bed crying because I was so hungry – but I still didn’t give in. I followed my ‘best friend’s’ advice. That would be best for me in the long run, right?
I knew that I was getting thinner, and A.N. was slightly happy with that – but she still enjoyed playing her fun little games. You see, I know now that back then I looked pretty horrendous – but the girl I saw in the mirror at that time looked fine to me. Not unwell at all. The sunken pale face, dead black eyes and exposed bones was a good look according to A.N. If anything, to Miss A.N., that girl still needed to lose some weight. Let me tell you, Miss Anorexia Nervosa completely twists the image in the mirror and should not be trusted – she distorts your thoughts so you see fantasy, not reality.
Once I started escaping from Miss A.N. and fighting against her, she came up with new methods to control me, but I’ll leave that for another day. The point of this post is that Anorexia Nervosa, the Eating Disorder which I was diagnosed with aged 14, is deceitful. ‘It’ (‘It’ is a name which I use for my ED) started out as a ‘nice friend’ but turned into my darkest enemy. It’s very sneaky and devious. It makes you think that it cares for you, but the truth is, it will never be satisfied until you die from any complications which ‘it’ has caused. That is A.N.’s goal.
There is hope for recovery however, and I am living proof! It’s a long journey…from Miss A.N. being a friend, then a dictator, then escaping from her, then taking control over her; it is hard, but it is possible. In my life right now, I control Miss Anorexia Nervosa and she no longer controls me…and I will fight to ensure it stays this way. Miss A.N. thrives on making people miserable, but happiness is what I want, what I fought to get, and what I aim to keep!
| written July 2016 |