You’ll be missing out and we’ll be missing you – no one wins.
For anyone who used to read this blog, you will know all about my biggest struggle in life – food. No I do not think I’m fat, no I do not think I need to lose weight, I simply struggle with a positive body image and maintaining a healthy mental state towards it. You can’t control it, you can’t simply just eat something and you certainly can’t just change your state of mind over night. Eating disorders are in my opinion one of the worst mental illnesses because it leads to panic attacks, anxiety, body dysmorphia, depression and OCD.
During my early teens I struggled with anorexia nervosa which lowly turned into body dysmorphia in my late teens. Now I have everything under control but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days still and that is why I’m writing this blog post.
What is anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphia?
Anorexia nervosa is where you do not eat enough food to get the energy you need to stay healthy and do basic day to day activities. Anorexia is not just about slimming and dieting it is most often a connection to low self-esteem, negative self-image and control.
Body Dysmorphic disorder also known as BDD is an anxiety disorder related to a person’s body image. BDD either makes you experience obsessive worries about “not there” flaws in your physical appearance or/ as well as makes you develop compulsive behaviours and routines such as excessive use of mirrors.
What happens to you when you have BDD or anorexia?
Most people who have anorexia will do the same things but I did the below:
- Hide food
- Reduce food intake/ skip meals
- Use products that “help” with weight loss and control
- Have very structured eating times
- check body and weight all the time
BBD gets a little more complicated, due to there being so many different types of BBD i’ll explain my behaviours. They were:
- Obsessive behaviour over a simple comment regarding my body
- Constant comparison with other girls bodies
- Constantly looking at body/face in mirrors
- Obsession over someone looking/talking about me
Although some people with BDD experience an eating disorder as well, not all people with eating disorders have BDD. This is why in my case my first doctor believes I had an undiagnosed type of BDD which slowly over time turned into an eating disorder.
What happens if you don’t get help?
I must stress that I was luck enough that I had people around who realised I had an issue and intervened before I’d done too much damage to my body but the below did happen.
- I lost weight very fast
- I felt weak and tired all the time
- Periods became irregular
- Hair fell out – I’m still sorting this out so many years later.
- Low concentration levels
- Stress levels increased
- OCD is control
- Anger outbursts if someone or something interferes with your schedule
All of the above affected friendships, school work, family relations (especially my lovely mum). Your life becomes a bubble, you forget how to live. The first time someone confronts you about your eating disorder will be the worst day of your life because you’ve finally been found out and you finally have to admit you have a problem. I was found out in school by a PE teacher who was a close family friend, I was pulled from a lesson and confronted by my mum, the school nurse and the school student support. The talk lasted 3 hours, I produced 10 buckets of tears and after hours of saying no I finally admitted I needed help. Although this was the worst day of my life it was also the best, It was the start of a long journey that I still haven’t finished – Eating disorders are for life not just for summer.
Although this doesn’t explain my story in full I do ask that if you know someone who is suffering or who you think may be suffering, help them. Tell someone. Confront them. You may just save their life because as all time low say “You’ll be missing out and we’ll be missing you” – no one wins.