A misconception about eating disorders is that they are just about food and people with an ED (eating disorder) hate food. This is definitely not true, it is far deeper than that! People with an ED are actually obsessed with food and when you deprive yourself of food and don’t eat when you’re hungry, it’s all you can think about because of a chemical called ghrelin that is the hunger hormone gets released more when you don’t eat much. However EDs are much more than food, it’s about taking control of something because your life is out of control. You become terrified of everything, an ED can take over every aspect of your life. You lose touch with friends, family and become so scared… The anxiety doesn’t stop when you’re weight restored and this is something people fail to understand! People think just because you are in recovery and are eating you are cured but this is not true, especially after being discharged from hospital, it is just the beginning of the journey.The recovery journey takes a long time and is very hard and complicated. It’s being so scared to look in a mirror but not being able to resist looking at it to check, and no it is not vanity, it is a mental illness. There is a much deeper meaning to the reason for this, and even i don’t quite understand because an ED is not logical. But there are so many emotions that come with this illness, disgust,guilt,shame,fear,sadness and much more. And the feeling that you don’t deserve the help which makes it so much harder to deal with.
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Recovery from any eating disorder is extremely hard and may take many years, some say that you never fully recover from an eating disorder but just learn how to cope with the thoughts better. Anorexia Nervosa means nervous lack of appetite as oppose to anorexia which is just a lack of appetite. Not everyone who is slim has an eating disorder, having anorexia nervosa IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING SKINNY! This frustrates me so much and it is almost used as an insult when in reality it is a deadly illness. It tricks you into believing things that aren’t true, for me my thoughts of disgust seem extremely real but apparently its a delusion. How can i see something different to what other people see, this is what really confuses me.
It is true that in recovery food is the medicine but gaining weight is only the first step. Recovery is so hard! It’s like trying to break away from a toxic, controlling friendship. You have to fight every day despite what you may think about yourself and it takes time. The relapse rate is high which is very worrying as this illness kills people.There is a lot of psychological help needed to treat eating disorders and the NHS have been a great help in my recovery by basically forcing me to start real recovery in an inpatient unit for 6 months.
In my worst times i felt like i was in my own dark world with no escape or sense of reality. With the help of CAMHS (which I’ve been in for nearly 3 years in total but two of those years were for my anxiety and depression) my family and friends and my medication i am on the journey to recovery. It is so so hard and i wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The guilt. The shame. Feeling repulsed at your own body. The constant groan of thoughts playing on your mind over and over again.
If you have a mental illness keep fighting because you are worth more than your horrible , negative thoughts!