Through the Eyes of Anorexia

Lately I’ve encountered people questioning the legitimacy of anorexia, not only as a mental disorder, but as a disease on the whole. So I’m here to say it loudly, albeit not proudly, but with all the emphasis I can muster. 

Anorexia is real.

It’s what made me lose sixty-five pounds in the span of seven months.

It’s what makes me look in the mirror and see every flaw. Every inch of imperfection.

It’s what distorts my vision. Distorted body image is also a very real thing, and to put it in the most tangible of analogies, it’s like having goggles on constantly. These goggles don’t see those same flaws or imperfections on anyone else; they only work on me. And they work excruciatingly well.

Anorexia is real.

It’s what prevents me from seeing how frail and fragile I am.

It’s what drove me to exercise compulsively, even when I had barely consumed anything all day.

It’s what’s leading me to continue to strive to lose weight despite the shock on everyone’s face when they notice how diminutive I’ve become, and how much less of me there is, both literally physically and figuratively in terms of vibrance.

Anorexia is real.

It’s what prevents me from seeing my matchstick arms and legs and birdlike bones that jut out abnormally.

It’s what keeps me proud of the scars on my back from exercising so much I actually made myself bleed, over and over again, through multiple layers of clothes.

It’s what makes food look not like ordinary apples or pizza or bread or salads, but numbers. Big, angry numbers with gleaming red eyes that scream out their caloric amounts in frightening voices.

Anorexia is real.

It’s what makes it impossible for me to eat more than fifty percent of what’s on my plate, and that’s on a very, very, unusually good day.

It’s what brings me to cower in fear from carbohydrates, sugars, and fats, even though I’m told my body desperately needs them by everyone from my family and friends to medical professionals.

It’s what makes me morbidly, sadistically, giddily happy when size extra small or double zero clothes, and everything I used to fit into, all my old clothes, look gigantic on me and hang off my wasted frame.

Anorexia is real.

It’s what reduces people to quivering, dysfunctional messes of tears and fear when faced with the prospect of eating anything at times, let alone something.

It’s what causes us to be blind and deaf to the dangers everyone else sees and hears.

It’s what turns perfectly ordinary, happy, healthy individuals into broken, empty, shadowy shells of their former selves.

Anorexia is real, and I am it.

Anorexia is real, and my estimated over thirty million and counting brothers and and sisters who suffer from it and other eating disorders, too, are it.

Anorexia is real, and so are all the lives it holds in its spindly, deathly grip.

Anorexia is real, and so are all the people it’s taken from this world; the death toll is only rising.

Anorexia is real, and so are other devastating mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder (I happen to suffer from all three, personally.) And when combined, these diseases make for such a powerfully potent concoction, such a hideously horrible amalgamation, that it could bring anyone to their knees. Or their graves.

Anorexia is real, and it affects all ages, genders, cultures, ethnicities, personalities, and walks of life.

Anorexia is real.

Anorexia is real.

But through the eyes of anorexia, it is not.

Never doubt how real it is, however. Ever.

Because anorexia is irrefutably, undeniably, and deathly, deathly, real. “

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