Weighing Me Down ~CD

As a child, I remember stepping on the scale for annual doctors appointments and not giving a second thought to the number that would appear on the small digital screen above my feet. I look back and miss the time when my weight was simply just a number. Weight is a number. A simple 2 or 3 digit number. It’s a simple concept, but I’m unable to grasp it. I allow this number to determine my mood, thoughts, and actions. It’s a constant mind game, thinking of how I can shave off the next few pounds, how many calories I consumed that day, or how long the run I just went on was. However, I am not alone in this journey. No, I am not crazy but I want to make it clear that this is not normal either. I am sick, not like I have a 100 degree fever sick, but I am mentally sick. If you saw me, you wouldn’t know I was, you probably wouldn’t think anything of it, I’m not as skinny as the models you see in magazines, physically, I’m healthy. Mentally, I’m in poor health.
I suffered from an eating disorder, ED, for short. However, do not be fooled that I said “suffered”, this is still a present-day battle. I believe it is healthy for me in my recovery to refer to my ED in the past. My journey with my ED started off so innocently, hoping to lose about 5 pounds. I was able to reach this goal, and quadruple it. Yes, that is 20 stupid meaningless pounds that took away so much from me. It took away my happiness, my friends, my family, and most of all, my sanity. My eating disorder took everything with those 20 pounds. I remember one of my first therapy sessions when my therapist asked me to state one positive characteristic of myself. I sat in silence on the couch avoiding eye contact, but most importantly avoiding the question. I could not answer that question. I could not give myself the satisfaction of just one compliment. My mind was so occupied with the number on a scale that everything else about me just seemed so meaningless. I defined myself by my weight. I would take a visit to the scale in my house about 3-4 times a day. I could not accept the slightest increase in my weight, and if it increased, I would lose my mind. I would beat myself up over it, I was a prisoner of my own mind. If my weight had dropped, this unexplainable feeling came over me. It was like winning an olympic medal in a race that I have trained my whole life for. But, I couldn’t show off that medal, because it was my little secret that must be kept. No one could know I just lost 3 more pounds, because if they did, my secret may be let out. So I was silent, and until now I have been silent. EDs are rarely spoken about, but why? Why is it that young men and women feel so ashamed with a clinical disease?
Eating disorders have a lot of unanswered questions. To this day, I am still searching for these answers. Why did this happen to me? Why do I let my weight define me? A 5 letter, 1 syllable word occupied my everyday thoughts and actions. I was mentally exhausted, going back and forth, whether to work towards recovery or let my illness take more from my life than it already had. Fortunately, the decision wasn’t up to me. Honestly, I don’t think I would make the decision my friends and family made for me when they got me the professional help I needed. Recovery was not fun or easy. Eating disorders are not a choice, or a phase. They’re misunderstood, that’s why they’re so dangerous. I didn’t know I had a problem, sometimes I’m still in denial. I didn’t think I had a problem because I wasn’t as thin as someone else. I didn’t think I had a problem because I wasn’t as sick as someone else. I didn’t think I had a problem because I only threw up once a day. The mind games are endless.
I do not wish for my journey to be a sad story of a sad girl with low self esteem. Let this be a cautionary tale, that there is more to life than how much you weigh. I know first-hand that allowing something so irrelevant to define you is a dangerous mistake. Too many women like myself make this mistake. 20 million women, to be exact. It’s upsetting to know that this many women let their weight define them, but at the same time it’s comforting to know I’m not crazy no matter how many people tell me otherwise, and I’m not alone in the fight against ED.
Weight. I could argue this word ruined my life, but at I could also argue this word made me a warrior. Weight does not define my personality. Weight does not define the quality of life.Weight does not define anything. Weight does not define me.