Eating Disorder: A mind of its own
Clodagh writes about her experience dealing with bulimia
Written by Clodagh O'Sullivan
Voices - Experiences
Young people share their personal experiences.
Disclaimer: This is my personal experience with an eating disorder, my only goal here is to raise awareness and be open about it, something that has been very difficult in the past.
An eating disorder is something, like many things in life, unless you’ve gone through it’s very difficult to understand. The best way I can describe it to you from my experience is when your hunger to be “perfect” is greater than your hunger for food.
Perfect is a scary word and what’s funny is in saying I was aiming for perfection, it was society’s idea of perfection and not mine.
So, I set out to achieve the impossible, in the beginning it was just a short-term diet to lose weight so I wouldn’t have to deal with how self-conscious I was, in my mind if I was thin everything else would fall into place, it sounds crazy but nothing about an eating disorder is logical and before I knew it, I was out of control. I think the scariest thing for me is how easy it was for me to romanticize what I was doing. I grew to crave the feeling of an empty stomach screaming out for food and that light-headed feeling I got from standing up, the lack of sleep, the haunting thoughts. They were just reminders to me that I was in control and that is truly how I felt, but what I couldn’t see was that I was not in control but under it, I couldn’t differentiate myself from the disorder and so if it was in control I was in control.
Bulimia was my best friend and my worst enemy all at the same time, I had pushed anyone and everyone away and my sole purpose in life was to be thin, to be in control of my body, how it looked and how it felt but when it got too much and I lost control or had to sacrifice my fast to avoid suspicion, that’s when I would pay the price, I had a choice; rid myself of what I had consumed as soon as possible or spend the next week thinking about the effects of what I had done and go through even more extremities to make sure it wouldn't happen again.
I remember sitting in class and not knowing what was going on because I had spent the time thinking about whether my next meal should be that evening or the next one, what should it be? how much? how long would I last without losing control? who would see me? I couldn’t eat in public, people would think I was fat, people would see me with food, they would judge me but was more important is that I would judge myself.
The mirror, the piece of glass that would determine everything, my mood for the day, the week or month, how did I look? how did I feel? It was all based on what I saw in that mirror for a split second. I couldn’t see the tired, dead eyes, sunken face or the hair that had lost its shine. I only saw a morphed version of my body that was never going to be good enough.
I’ve been in recovery for three, maybe four years now, but the process is still the same, the feelings are still the same, it’s I’m the one who's changed, I’m the one in control and this time it's really me. I’m still not comfortable in my skin but I’m learning and I spend every day working to like myself. I now aim for perfection but my idea of it, the achievable kind, the human kind, where there is power in my flaws, in owning and acknowledging them, in loving them and loving me.
I wouldn’t wish what I’ve done to myself and put my body through on my worst enemy but I do wish you all learn from my mistakes and realise you have so much going for you if you allow yourself to see it, surround yourself with good vibes and good people and life won’t let you down.