Trigger warning: Eating disorders
I didn’t know I had an eating disorder.
How could I? Everything I had been taught about eating disorders had nothing to do with me. People with eating disorders didn’t look like me or act like me. And every medical professional I ever saw just fat shamed me.
I didn’t know that my relationship with food was unhealthy, bordering on dangerous. It wasn’t necessarily about my food choices, but what I wanted from the food. I desired validation, comfort, and emotional support from the food I ate.
Food was always there for me. People were not. I saw food as my companion.
I consumed food past the point of fullness into the realm of making myself physically sick. Even then I still wanted more. My hunger, mentally and physically, knew no bounds.
If I began to restrict in the form of dieting, I somehow felt I was betraying my relationship to food. The praise I received for achieving thinness could only at best temporarily keep my food addiction at bay.
But I always came back because I could never run completely away from something I absolutely needed to survive.
I didn’t know I had an eating disorder. Aside from my fatness, no one ever told me about the serious harm I was causing myself. No one stopped to look beneath the surface to see what was really going on.
Oversimplified solutions to eat less or only eat certain foods would fix me. Or so I was told. If I wanted it bad enough I could and should make better choices.
When I found out I had an eating disorder, I was filled with a mixture of relief and shame. There was also anger for all the years, decades, my eating disorder went untreated because someone that looks like me couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder.
There were some tough decisions ahead of me on my road to recovery. Tough decisions I’m still working through. Acceptance, forgiveness and deprogramming myself from all the messages that only caused me pain. More than anything, educating myself so I can better understand how to move forward in a healthier way.
I didn’t know I had an eating disorder, and I made choices based on that. As much as I wish I could go back to undo all the ways I’ve harmed myself, I can’t. Now I know I have an eating disorder and I owe myself to try my best to make better choices.