The Invisibility Of An Eating Disorder

Darren Tunnicliff
Darren Tunnicliff

Each day is a new day. I wake up with the intention of having nothing more than a coffee for the foreseeable future. I quietly applaud myself if I persist. Each bite of food I take leads to an inner struggle as I question whether I will stay the course and get a light salad thereby cementing my extremely limited caloric intake for the day or do I dare have a sandwich thereby necessitating a insatiable consumption of junk food.

The days alone are easier, there is nothing to hide. I can eat anything that I please with a ravenous gluttony or deny myself necessary sustenance with an unabashed sense of pride. There is rarely an in between.

I cant seem to remember a time where this wasn’t the case. Many have commented on my aptly labeled “weird” eating habits but few have inquired further. Those closer to me have noted that I have a “problem with eating” with little more than exuberant frustration at my decision. As if I have a choice.

Here’s the thing about eating disorders, there is no choice.

In my attempt to manipulate a sense of control over my life and my decisions, I am rendered powerless by food.

I starve myself because I can, because I can control that. Even then though, I cannot, I lose control and I eat. And boy do I eat. A box of cookies, a bag of chips, a cake, because why not? I have already succumbed, what more can I lose? Once the taste of that one cookie has touched my lips, I have already lost, so what difference does a dozen more make? Today is a lost day, I think as I devour the first cookie which will inevitably lead to finishing off the box and looking through menus of food to order.

I am an otherwise intelligent person, and I realize this thought process is neither healthy nor rational, yet here I am still ascribing to it after all these years. And this is where the true invisibility lies.

People can observe the quirky behavior that I take on with food, but in a society where being thin is revered as one of the ultimate bastions of success, the struggle hidden beyond that is rarely ever addressed. The weight loss is applauded with envious compliments. The gluttony is reviled with promises of extended gym trips and future limitations. All of this done with light hearted comments intended to leave little more than superficial commentary but it fuels this invisible battle that I am fighting. TC mark

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