The ability to gracefully live amongst a world of perfectionism is an understatement. Perfectionism is a word created by society to keep us in our nice and tidy box. A world created that is nothing but ordinary; however, it is justified as anything but that. The simple word called “perfect” creates so many problems.
Growing up, I was surrounded with all the beautiful people, on television, movies, and in magazines. As a teenager, I wanted to be beautiful too; I wanted to look like the perfect models displayed throughout my social media. I was enticed with being perfect and at any cost.
When I turned thirteen-years old I started my first diet. It was more of a starvation, until the guy that I liked said I was too skinny. I wanted him to like me, so I started eating again. At seventeen years old, I wanted to lose a few pounds. I loved standing on my scale every morning, waiting to see the results – had I lost weight? It was such a euphoric feeling witnessing as with each day to see the weight dropping off. If I could lose five pounds, maybe I could lose five more and five more after that. It became an obsession with me. Something that started out so innocently had turned vile. I was obsessed with food, or the lack of it.
What once started out as wanting to be beautiful, had now turned to wanting to have control – control of my life. You see, at the time, my parents had the control. They said where I would go to high school my senior year, they said what college I would go to and what my major would be, they said who I was or wasn’t to date – they controlled my waking existence. I just wanted a little piece of that control back, so I took it, the only way I knew how, by controlling what I ate.
Sadly, I went from one hundred fifteen pounds to ninety pounds in under a year. I looked dead, but I still saw myself as fat. I continued to starve myself, while exercising excessively. My mom caught on to me and said I had to start eating or she would put me into a hospital for eating disorders. So, I tricked her by eating and then throwing it up. I was now anorexic and bulimic.
I did break the eating disorder cycle; perhaps, but now I was dealing with another destructive disorder to address. My mom was off my back, thinking I was okay again – “normal”, but I wasn’t, I continued to struggle with my distorted body image and damaging thoughts.
Eventually, I maintained my eating, learning new eating habits and ways to control my urges to binge and starve myself after the binge. I’ve developed new coping skills throughout the years, maintained a healthy weight, glowing skin and hair, and food is no longer my enemy.
I can now eat without feeling guilty every time I am hungry or thinking about food. However, thirty years later – I still have a body image distortion. I’m good with food again, until I start to gain weight and at that point my old thought processes creep in – distorting my perspective.
So, to say I’m cured? I would have to say no – eating disorders are like any other addictive personality, you can get back to a healthy you, living a normal life, but you’re always an addict. The good news is – I’ve learned how to control it instead of it controlling me.
- if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or a distorted body image perspective – reach out to NEDA Feeding Hope by texting “NEDA” to 741741 – they have counselors available to talk 24/7