07 Feb What having as eating disorder is like
For some people, reading about eating disorders may make sense: many girls—and some boys—(even if they do not have a disorder) can relate to the feelings people with eating disorders may have. I am too fat: I shouldn’t eat that: I wish my thighs were thinner.
But to many people, eating disorders may seem very strange. Some people find relating to disorders difficult. To help understand this disorder just a little bit better, here is an example of what goes on in the mind of a person with anorexia:
Okay, time to get up..(looks in the mirror when getting up and examines her body)… OMG! My thighs are so big!!! Why can’t they be thinner? What am I going to do… we’re going to Aunt Marcy’s house for a family swim and everyone will see my fat thighs. I can’t go. I can’t… but mom will yell at me if I say anything to her… “Family is important. Be respectful. Put a smile on your face.” Ugh, I hate this… well, maybe I can wear my big long basketball shorts in the pool, that way no one will see my grotesque thighs. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. No breakfast, I’m going to workout instead, I’ll tell mom I ate a bowl of oatmeal if she asks.
BTW, this person is stick thin. Her thighs look like pencils but she sees them as being tree trunks. That’s not an act: one of the defining features of anorexia is a distorted view of one’s body. (For more on body image, click here.)
Here is an example of what might go on in the mind of a person with bulimia.
OMG! I had such a terrible day at school. I can’t wait to get home. I need to eat a bowl of cereal and some ice cream and definitely the chocolate cake from last night. That’s all I can think about, I need to get home… [Later after having eaten all the ice cream, all the cereal in the box, the rest of the cake and a pound of turkey, the thoughts continue:]… I am so disgusting. I am such a pig. I can not believe I did that. I have no self control. I am such a loser. I am going to get so fat and I can’t stand that. I need to get rid of this food, now. I’m going to make myself throw it up.
This person is likely to loathe herself for having eaten what she did. But the urge to comfort herself by binging on food (and then purging) will come again, and again, and again. And each time the binge/purge cycle happens, she hates herself a little bit more because of everything she put herself through, just adding to the pattern.
What do you feel when you read those thoughts of someone with an eating disorder?