20 October 2011

Why Don't You Just Eat?

I don’t know what I’ll do If I get asked again ‘Do you want to get better?’ ‘Do you want a new job?’ or the worst ‘Why can’t you just eat?’ These are the questions I keep getting asked by my family. They keep saying that EVERYONE is getting frustrated and annoyed with me because they say ‘You’re an intelligent girl; you know what you need to do.’ I know I have a degree, I know I haven’t always restricted my diet to the extent I did this year and I know I haven’t always been this underweight, but the sooner they realise I have felt like this for A LOT longer than they have known the better. The sooner they might be able to understand why I CANT JUST EAT.

The hardest thing at the moment is they can only understand the physical sides of anorexia, they keep going on and on about how ‘they don’t believe it’s this psychological.’ That my treatment is focusing too much on all that ‘psychological stuff’ and that I need to just eat. K asked if I ‘get told off’ for maintaining my weight and not gaining this week and she can’t understand why I don’t get ‘in trouble’ for not gaining a huge amount of weight.  

I keep getting asked if I want to get better. YES, of course I do, that’s why I am going to my appointments, it’s why I am going through this battle, it’s why I am sat at my parents, not in my own home. If I didn’t want to get better, I wouldn’t have said anything, I wouldn’t go to meetings and I wouldn’t be drinking Fortisip, eating food or listening to my apparently ‘intelligent self’. I don’t think they are trying to understand (and I don’t expect them to fully understand!) that recovery is an exhausting battle which is trying to restore my weight and health physically but trying to re-build my mental health by teaching me to accept my body, my weight and to build a better relationship with food. Basically, re-teaching the last 10 years of my life.

Dismissing and trivialising of the psychological aspects of anorexia hits me like a bullet, it completely makes me feel pathetic and it makes me feel like I am making it up, that it is trivial and easy to beat. It makes me feel thick and weak for not ‘just getting better’ and it makes me feel like I should know what I want from life. I don’t. I don’t know what I am fighting for, other than health right now. But in order to fight for my health I have to fight off Ana, I have to fight off anxiety, obsessions and fear – and trust that it will be worth it.  I have to leave a place where I feel safe and warm and in control and run and leap in to the freezing cold sea and swim for dear life.

They don’t seem to want to accept that I have presented them with a ‘happy’ me for so long, but I haven’t felt like that inside. I can see that is hard for them, I get that – it’s the way I felt when an old friend told me she had and ED a few years ago and even I hadn’t noticed. It made me feel horrific for not noticing her pain, 

But that’s the biggest danger of eating disorders, they makes you good at ‘sucking it up’ at hiding your feelings and amazing at pretending you’re fine. Because Ana always CONVINCES you and everyone around you, that you ARE fine. It’s just the way I am, I just like to be healthy and in control and I don’t like chocolate. 

I was obviously good at it, because everyone around me isn’t accepting just how long this has been going on. I just wish they'd believe me. 


  1. I am really sorry that you're dealing with those comments. I think I've had the opposite with my appointments the last two years - EVERYTHING has been focused on eating and I've never gotten the therapy that I needed - which I am going to begin getting this Tuesday.

    I do feel that you need therapy to gain the coping skills that you need to eat, but I also feel that you do need to push yourself to eat in order to make progress. That being said, I do not add the word JUST in there because recovering isn't JUST eating. Yes, you need to eat to restore you nourishment and to begin to think clearer, but it's not JUST eating.

    I hope that this made some sort of sense? Maybe you should print this blog post out and let those who tell you to "*just* eat" read it - maybe it would help them understand the way that you're feeling more? Just a thought.

    Sending you happy thoughts!

  2. Oh, totally! Yes, I want to recover. Some days, though, I just want the day to go smoothly, so I hide my struggle. Hiding my ED makes me seem normal to everyone else, so I almost believe it too. I understand what you're saying for sure.

    When I first was diagnosed with anorexia at age 14, my mom took me to a nutritionist who taught me about the food pyramid. I was like 'are you serious'? Um, lady, if I wanted to eat food, I would. That's not the problem. I gave up on "treatment" at that point. Now, starting to seek treatment again, I hope my therapist helps me with some real coping skills and healing so that it's not all about food.

    I understand you as if you were my kindred spirit. I'm giving you a virtual hug right now!!


  3. You are both SO right. It IS about eating, and at the stage i'm at I do need to restore my weight to enable me to deal with the psychological aspects of my AN. I believe my therapists when they say it would be easier when I am at a more healthy weight/BMI etc. It's just that I need the SUPPORT and encouragement from my family in order to not totally FREAK out about the increased calories and growing weight.

    I'm glad you can both relate - and it will get easier day by day and I already know that every set -back helps us learn to cope.

    Jessica - I've always only had food/dietciaian help in the past and cognitive therapy for OCD and Anxiety - and I am really loving finally getting the deeper psychological aspects of my ED (and everything else) sorted.

    Keep strong x