Anorexia has a wicked way of sneaking back into areas of your life, convincing you that you are doing nothing wrong, that what you are doing is the right thing to do. Anorexia can manipulate my mind and has the power to take over without me even knowing. Well actually, sometimes I do know when I am behaving in an anorexically driven way but the thing is with anorexia, when it has a strong grip on you, like it has on me for many years, you are powerless to behave otherwise. Anorexia’s poison in your mind is enough to make you believe and behave exactly how it wants, even if you know you shouldn’t.
I have fought against a lot of my anorexic drive for over five years now since my last hospital admission. But I have become weak to it again in some areas and I didn’t realise I had until I had to go against it again. In my last hospital admission we devised a meal plan where I was allowed to eat my ‘safe’ dinner of fish, jacket potato and vegetables four times a week but the other three days I had to eat a different source of protein other than my usual white fish. And this is something I have continued to do.
However, for the past month, my mum has mis-calculated how many non-fish meals I have been having a week…she thought I had been having three when I had actually only been having two. And the anorexic voice is such in my mind that when the opportunity arose to ‘get away with’ not having a non-fish meal, I did not say what I should be doing and went along with my anorexic drive because that is what it has convinced me I should do. Calories and weight gain are terrifying and I am not physically (or mentally) able to say I should be having more calories when I could otherwise avoid them. I am unable to explain in words exactly how anorexia gets into your mind, brainwashes and makes you completely subordinate.
So, for a month I have been having two non-fish meals instead of three and to be honest, I didn’t think much of it. I felt glad to only be eating two but didn’t really think it was a big deal. That was until last week when my mum accurately counted my number of meals and on the third day when previously I had not been having something different, she told me I had to. And I found this incredibly difficult. I was taken over by panic and nerves and when sitting down to face the meal, I was full of butterflies and did not want to eat what was in front of me. I felt daunted by it and I haven’t felt like this about a meal for quite a while now.
I did eat the meal but it just goes to show how anorexia can creep in and how by giving into it for just a few times makes can really give it strength and set you back, making it so much harder to break the habit again. Eating three non-fish meals a week was something that I had become habituated to and what over time had stopped bothering me and had become my normal routine. But by taking out one of these meals and slipping back into the anorexic mode of restriction for only a month, anorexia had gripped its clutches tighter and has made what was a relatively normal and easy task a real struggle and fear. I hadn’t realised it was growing its hold on me by me allowing myself to only have two non-fish meals and I hadn’t realised it would be so difficult to go back to my proper routine. It just goes to show how every little thing does make a difference. Every little bit of calorie shaved or exercise added, whilst not seeming to be a big deal, is actually hugely important and just allows anorexia to grow. It does seem harmless when you think ‘oh I will just have 10 calories less, it won’t matter.’ But it does matter and every time anorexia will strengthen and make it far more difficult when you try to return to the ‘correct’ way.
It is a huge effort to not give in to anorexia all the time. I will try my best to not fall back into its little traps and I encourage other sufferers to do the same. It is a hard fight but the fight gets harder the more anorexia gets a grip. I’m not saying I won’t slip up, I probably will like this past month. But now I see what a big impact it makes and whilst feeling terrified for doing so, I must try to do the right thing.