climbED: Walking In Anorexia’s Shoes

“What’s it like to have anorexia?”

“So do you just not like eating?”

“You aren’t fat though! Why do you do it?”

These are just some of the questions people ask me about anorexia and I imagine to those who don’t have any experience of the illness it can be a difficult thing to get your head around. So this is a day walking in my, and anorexia’s, shoes.

I woke up early, I was physically and mentally exhausted from the day before but my body wouldn’t sleep any longer. I woke up, my vision went black as I tried to steady myself. The dizziness tends to happen every day when I get out of bed. I walked to the bathroom, whipped my clothes off and weighed myself. The number had dropped considerably more than I had expected. Sometimes having anorexia can feel like you have two minds, almost like a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Part of me was pleased that the number had dropped and the other was both gutted and terrified. I need my health right now, I need to be a relatively healthy weight because I have so many exciting things happening and I am determined not to let anorexia steal them from me.

Breakfast time, and for some reason I always seem to look forward to it, I think it’s probably because food feels safer in the morning so I’m less anxious. I grabbed my small bowl as I have rules about which bowl to use on which day and I poured in my cereal. I ate it slowly, making the most of each mouthful and washing it down with lots of squash.

I body checked in the mirror as I got dressed, my body image hasn’t been too bad lately but perhaps that’s because my self-esteem and mood have been pretty good. As soon as I was dressed I grabbed a fizzy diet drink, I drink so much fluid these days and my team think it’s an eating disorder behaviour but I just seem to be constantly thirsty.

I spent the morning walking around the house and doing little jobs here and there. A few weeks ago things were really bad exercise wise and I would spend hours walking up and down the kitchen but thankfully I no longer feel the need to do that.

I speed walked to my dietitian appointment and it was rather stressful and frustrating. I feel so positive in myself and about life but I guess walking into these appointments make me realise that I am still unwell and I find that upsetting. We argued a bit and he said some home truths that I didn’t want to hear, he suggested eating croissants for breakfast because I eat slowly so it would get the calories in and wouldn’t take long to eat and I said that I felt they weren’t healthy and he responded “You know what’s unhealthy? Being your weight and continuing to lose weight! Nothing is unhealthy until your BMI is at least 19” and he told me that my antidepressants won’t be working properly as there isn’t any protein in my diet so they have nothing to work off.

I left the appointment fairly annoyed and so speed walked home, walking the frustration out before sitting and doing some jobs on my computer until dinner time when I heated up some soup before having a bath in an attempt to get warm. I realised in the bath that I had forgotten to take my medication but when I eventually got downstairs it took me half an hour to remember what I had gone down for.

I spent the evening obsessing over pictures of food, people assume that those with anorexia avoid food at all costs but the truth is most obsess over it whether that be looking at recipe books, baking for others, looking at picures (or food porn) or watching cookery shoes. My dietitian wanted me to start looking at bread products I could have at breakfast which triggered the obsession for the night, looking on supermarket websites.

I then took my night medication and laid in bed under blankets and duvets with the electric blanket on, my thoughts racing until the medication knocked me out.

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