Daisy, 21, UK.
My eating disorder was like the most passionate and destructive love affair of my life. Just like an unhealthy relationship, when I was in control I felt alive, indestructible, like someone had poured petrol on my soul and set me ablaze.
When I was alone, I was a shell. Barely alive, a haze of skin and numbers and not much else. I would sit on my bed not even crying; there was nothing to weep, no tears, no emotion. Anorexia (and indeed, many other eating disorders) makes you burn like a gas flame; raging, out-of-control destruction, with nothing underneath.
I will not attempt to spin the entire story of my disorder, as inevitably they are the same cycles of hatred, control and unbearable loneliness.
What I will do is attempt to convey the incredible worth and value of recovery.
As soon as I realised I was in trouble, and navigated the horrific process of re-feeding and re-gaining, I realised how much of my extroverted self I had turned to ash with neglect. I realised that the only way for me to truly recover was to throw myself back into the loud world I used to inhabit.
Taking the first step towards recovery was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, possibly because it was quite a drastic and emotive thing to do. I smashed my scales to bits. You don’t think it’ll make much of a difference, and of course it makes you incredibly anxious at first, but with time everything became a lot easier after that; my perception was always skewed, and with the numbers gone losing weight seemed a little pointless. It got much easier after that one step. Each bite was terrifying, but no instant evidence was detectable without scales. It was a good first step to make.
Instead of focussing on eating, I joined sports classes, theatre, gradually made friends, went to gigs and got hilariously, uninhibitedly drunk. That’s the thing; as impossible as it sounds, the less I focussed on eating, the easier I found to just get on with it.
I love my new friends, and I need energy if I want to see them.
Suddenly, the loneliness I feared and the happiness I felt became so much more powerful than my self-hate.
Now I don’t have to weigh out meals because they excite me every day.
I don’t pinch and prod myself, but stroke and care. Eating disorders are fires; take away the fuel of your negative thoughts, and they will dim into embers. Eventually. The more I ate, the more I saw, the more I let go…. The more I learned to love myself. I haven’t mentioned the months if not years of torment I went through to get to this point, or how desperately hard it was to force myself to eat every day. But looking back, it was worth it. So, unbelievably, worth it.
And just like a forest after a fire, I regenerated, bloomed, and lived.
Daisy writes as The Feminist Agony Aunt on Tumblr.