Anorexia is looking at yourself in the mirror, taking in every inch of your wasted frame and emaciated body, and feeling hatred surge up your throat like a tidal wave of poison. It is feeling your muscles atrophy and your bones grow brittle and gaining strength and fortitude from it leaving your body.
Anorexia is running your fingers through your hair and watching as clumps of it come out, stuck in the soft, pliable ovals of your nails, because both of these things have become unhealthy and weak from being malnourished. It is watching your skin slowly begin to contour itself more closely to the bones barely able to support your body as weight and vitality seep out of you like blood from a fatal wound. It is staring at your reflection and being incapable of feeling anything other than vitriolic disgust for yourself.
Anorexia is watching as your thighs slowly grow further and further apart like two old friends separated by animosity and coldness. It is deceitfulness and spinning a web of lies so complex you get caught up in your own contraption. It is noticing that your clothes no longer fit you like they used to; instead, they sag off your body, and even the smallest article of clothing dwarfs you. It is longing with a pain that sears and burns to just be left alone to be ill. It is wishing that everyone would simply give up on you as easily as you have given up on yourself.
Anorexia is a dark abyss from which there seems no escape. It is having people have so little faith in you that they monitor your food intake and make sure you live a sedentary lifestyle, knowing full well that to do both of these things is to slowly kill the monster inside you while also slowly destroying the person it has built. It is gazing out the window at the world passing you by and wishing nothing more than to simultaneously go out and join it and stay locked away like a princess in a tower. It is feeling ugly, decrepit, dilapidated, broken down, disgusting, worthless, and useless.
Anorexia is refusing to listen to the pleas of others to just stop; stop, and consider what you are doing to yourself. It is enduring the endless drone of “just eat more” and “don’t starve yourself” whining in your ear like a mosquito, irritating and pointless. It is seeing the world through a warped, distorted vision that cannot be erased from your vision.
Anorexia is not being allowed to do more than walk from your room to the kitchen because to do anything else would be too much exertion. It is having to take the elevator up one flight because you are forbidden from scaling the few steps that separate you from your destination. It is having to open your mouth after meals and show your pockets to demonstrate that you have truly finished your meal. It is breakdowns and tears cascading down your face like a waterfall, washing away any desire to recover.
Anorexia is a hurt lodged deep in your chest, close to your heart, eating away at your spirit and your soul like a disease spreading throughout your body with every pump of your blood. It is watching the sun rise in the morning and wishing for nothing more than to go back to bed and sleep, because to close your eyes and be numb to the world is easier than enduring the agony living puts you through. It is waking up in the morning and wanting to simply drift peacefully into a permanent sleep.
Anorexia is having to bundle up in layers and layers of clothing until you can barely move because your body is so incapable of keeping you warm that you have to resemble a marshmallow more closely than a person. It is feeling exhausted all the time; having no energy to muster up a laugh or even a smile, and not wanting to anyways.
Anorexia is learning that there are others suffering from the same sickness you are. It is discovering a community of incredible supports that understand what you are going through like no one else ever has been able to, nor will. It is staying up well past when you ought to, spilling your secrets and your fears to each other, knowing that they rest safe and sound with the two of you. It is crying tears of sadness mixed with a tinge of happiness as you watch your fellow fighters continue along on their journey, leaving you temporarily behind. And it is the same tears when it is time for you to make the transition yourself.
Anorexia is feeling like a flightless bird that has had its wings bound tightly to its side, doomed to forever be tied to the ground and to never soar freely throughout the skies. It is the sensation of drowning in the middle of a vast ocean with a rock tied to your ankle, dragging you down to the watery, deathly depths below.
Anorexia is staring blankly at a plate of food with a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, as voices in your head scream at you not to open your mouth, chew, and swallow, like some sort of automated eating robot. It is watching food items turn into glaring red numbers that designate them as unsafe to eat. It is sitting with having ingested food and not doing anything detrimental to compensate. It is admitting that the lifestyle you were so barely managing to carry on was not healthy.
Anorexia is forgetting that the world around you is bright and full of opportunities and possibilities not yet explored. It is getting to step out into the outside realm for the first time in months, smell the fresh air, hear the sounds of the city and of life around you, and feeling like this is where you belong. It is also being terrified of taking the steps along the path that leads you to the door through which you can experience this world. It is a horrific, all-consuming fear of change. It is a complete lack of trust and faith in anyone or anything.
Anorexia is heart monitors, hospital beds, and food called “therapeutic meals” that feel anything but. It is having to dress yourself in a hospital gown and pants every morning rather than regular clothes. It is celebrating important events in your life, like your birthday or a friend’s accomplishment or a family milestone, from the confines of a small room in which medical professionals make their daily rounds. It is having a deadened, glassy look in your eyes.
Anorexia is your worst enemy and your best friend, all at the same time. It is the comrade that you turn to when the rest of the world fails you, because it is there, whispering comforts into your ear like a snake. It is the last ditch resort that you turn to when the world seems to be fragmented and falling apart all around you. It is the devil personified, but rather than simply sitting on your shoulder, he comes to embody your whole persona.
Anorexia is anger and mistrust directed at those who love you. It is hateful words and refusals to listen; deaf ears turned to caring words of support. It is confiding in someone who you thought you could trust and watching as they abandon you, insisting that you are simply too much of a burden to deal with. It is watching your friends live their lives without you, and see that there is no empty space for you to squeeze into at some indeterminate point in the future. It is an overwhelming feeling of loneliness that sucks the very life out of you, both physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Anorexia is giving into your demons. It is finally deciding to confide in someone and be amazed as not only do they refuse to leave you, but they constantly make sure that you are right there with them. It is discovering that there are people out there who are caring and wonderful and kind, and who truly want to help you rediscover who you are. Anorexia is a constant companion, but it does not have to rule your life. You are the ruler of your own destiny.