1. You keep saying to yourself… this isn’t the 90s. Nobody has an eating disorder anymore.
How can you have an eating disorder if eating disorders were cured over 16 years ago by those people who came to our schools and did bad lunch time plays about eating disorders? Depression, sure. A sweet tooth, definitely. An uncontrollable and overwhelming desire to control your unravelling life by not eating or purging? That’s more of a hobby.
2. You Declare Today is a New Start Every Day.
Today, you will eat. Today, you will not throw up. Today, is a new day and you will not binge and – shit. Dammit. Okay, tomorrow, then. Tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a new day and it’ll be a new you and everything will change and who needs treatment and you’re perfectly fi – well, if not tomorrow, there’s always the next day. Or week. Or, you know, let’s see how February looks.
3. You Are Expertly-Trained in the Art of Self Denial.
You’re a healthy, well-adjusted person with a daily mantra and it goes something like this:
I don’t have an eating disorder. I can stop any time. This is temporary. This is temporary. This is temporary. Sure, it’s been ten years – but ten years is a drop in the bucket when put against our entire lives. I’m fine – it’s everyone else who isn’t. Everyone else needs to just take it down a notch and leavemealoneI’mfineI’mfineI’mfineI’mfine.
Now, who wants a cupcake?
4. You Anger-Watch Eating Disorder Movies.
If they’re going to commit to writing and producing an eating disorder movie (or, God forbid, an episode of a popular TV show), they could at least make it accurate. Not that you have an eating disorder – but you know, you lived through the 90s, you remember. Tracey Gold, hello?! Also, can the sick characters stop being “cured” after a dramatic, one episode bout of bulimia/anorexia/depression/whatever? It doesn’t work that way. An eating disorder is a disorder, it hangs on you like an angry monkey whispering sweet, evil nothings in your ear. A sobbing talk with your BFF won’t fix it – intense therapy will.
Not that, you know, you have an eating disorder.
5. Your Fridge is Full of Celery and Your Roommate’s Ice Cream.
Celery for when you want to pretend like you’re actually eating – all that good chewing and swallowing and bitter, crunchy “flavor” – without any of the taste, enjoyment, nutrition, satisfaction or joy. But it feels like real people food! And you look totally normal at the office Holiday party eating it! You swear!
Also, you never buy ice cream because you never eat ice cream, but when you do eat ice cream, you eat your roommate’s ice cream because your roommate doesn’t have an eating disorder. And neither do you. And there’s nothing weird about sneaking your roommate’s ice cream in the middle of the night and then eating it all in one sitting and then hiding the empty tub in the trash and being like, “Bitch, please, I ain’t seen your ice cream!” when your roommate asks you about it the next day.
That never happens and when it does it’s totally okay because tomorrow is a celery day.
6. You Wander Grocery Stores for Hours.
You don’t want to commit to eating anything because – well, FOOD IS THE ENEMY! But also you’re very, very hungry… like all the time. So, you wander, like a lost, sick zombie trying to avoid the aisles and aisles of brains that you so desperately want to eat. Finally, after a few hours, you leave with two healthy snacks and bags full of candy – that’ll do it, you reason, falsely, you’ll eat healthy today.
7. You Drink to Forget About Potentially Having an Eating Disorder.
Okay, fine, maybe you have some weird habits. But that’s all they are! Habits! Liking biting your nails, or smashing your head into a brick wall until you die. But that’s no fun to think about, so you drink. You drink to not think about eating. You drink to not think about not eating. You drink to not think about how much you’re drinking. You drink and drink and drink and drink and, oops, you just slept with someone – what was their name? You don’t remember. But for a half second you felt much better. But now it’s morning, and you’re hung over and the person you slept with is still there and – man, could you use a snack and a toilet right about now.
8. You Drunk Dial Rehab Centers.
What? You have no memory of doing that so there’s no way that happened… but Janet at the reception desk has a very soothing voice.
9. You Know Every Trick in the Abusing Yourself Book.
You know where to pinch to see the worst of you, you know what to eat to destroy your body and you do it all while emotionally looking the other way. You know the foods that’ll keep you feeling full without adding calories and you know how to get the smell of vomit out of your breath. You know how to hide every part of your disorder – even, emotionally, from yourself – and you’re a damn professional at it.
10. You’re Not Alone.
There are approximately eight million people in the United States that have an eating disorder. We know where you’re coming from, we know how you feel and we want you to know that this nightmare is curable.
In fact, we – the writers of this piece – have created a Pilot around the real-life struggles with bulimia of our co-writer and star, Angela Gulner. We did this because we think it’s a story that needs to be told. We did this because we want you to know you’re not alone. And we invite you to watch it and hope that you laugh, stop hating yourself for twenty minutes, and then go get help (or, hell, don’t watch it at all and go get help now — that’s even better.)