Anorexia has been triggered this past week. And it surprised me quite how much. I have often heard people and read in magazines how recovered and recovering anorexics relapse due to events that happen in their lives or a spout of illness or something that just triggers the illness to start again. And I have never quite been able to understand it. Being at the point I am in my life, where I have regained some sort of normality and have started to have things to live for outside of anorexia, I had thought that I would never be able to fall back into the depths of anorexia to the extent that I have experienced it previously. Until this week.
I have had some sort of stomach bug which caused me to have diarrhoea on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. During this time, whilst I still ate the same amount of calories I am meant to, I consumed them in different forms, not eating a main meal but having soup instead. The reduced volume of food coupled with the diarrhoea had the effect of making my stomach a lot flatter and feeling empty. And I had forgotten how nice this felt.
Generally day to day, I am not losing weight, I am eating normally and I don’t give my whole attention to anorexia. I have been out of the ‘anorexic routine’ as you may call it, of restricting and losing weight for over five years now, so I had got used to not feeling it, and the urges to go back whilst still there, were just niggles in the background and not overpowering in the forefront of my mind.
But having this bug this week and feeling my empty and flat stomach was like a light switch in my head turning on full beam. I was reminded of how good it felt and so now all I wanted to do was go full on back into anorexic mode; to lose weight again, be thin again, be empty again. These thoughts were stronger than anything else…just to have that one last taste of what complete dedication to anorexia gives. I realised that I so very much miss it and I want it back. And if it weren’t for my mum insisting that I return to normal meals as soon as possible, I think I would be falling head first down the path to severe anorexia. Left to myself, I would not have been able to resist the temptation in my head.
And that is actually a very scary thought and I realise now how easy it can be to slip right back and be gripped by anorexia. I am very lucky to have my mum there to stop this happening. Logically I know that going back completely to anorexia will do me no good-I would lose my job, I would lose my friends, I would lose the life I have started to build, I would end up in hospital and I could possibly end up dead. But anorexia is so overpowering that these thoughts are pushed aside and replaced with convincing thoughts that giving anorexia one last go would be incredible. But I (and my mum) have to keep reminding myself that it wouldn’t. And deep, deep down…as much as I want to experience weight loss and ‘anorexia’ again-to feel that sensation again…I know it is the devil in disguise and ultimately it will not lead me to the happy life I want. I have tried it for many, many years and not once has it ever made me happy or got me to where I want to be.
So my mum has made me start to eat normally again, for the first time yesterday. And it was very difficult but I know she is right. And giving responsibility to her (and my CTO which does in the back of my mind remind me that with any weight loss I will be immediately readmitted to hospital) has helped and hopefully, with returning to normal eating the overwhelming craving to be anorexic again will ease. Because by god is it strong at the moment. So strong I can’t put it into words. I will just have to keep repeating: ‘to succeed in anorexia is to fail in life.’ And I do want a life.