I remembered about this book I used to have when I was younger- 7 or 8 in fact. Instead of making me uncomfortable, my Mother decided to buy a ‘facts of life’ book, and put it in my room. I vividly remember the section about body shape and puberty, with a couple of sentences about eating disorders. 11 years later and I can still recall that i was located on the bottom left of a right hand page, and it showed a picture of a girl looking in the mirror: “some girls don’t want a woman’s body and restrict food. Anorexia is an eating disorder when young girls try to stop the physical effects of growing up.”
I was scared of my body changing, despite the fact it didn’t really change shape much until I was about 15/16.. I mean I was 16 before my first period! But in my head, my body was changing too fast. Age 12 came, I wasn’t ready to be a teenager. Did I look like one? Were my hips big? Photo evidence of that time tells me that I wasn’t, yet I was very fearful about getting bigger.
That being said, I suppose growing up in general always seemed a little bit daunting, and I’ve noticed that my eating disorder is very childlike. I have a different tone in my voice when I talk about it, the way I hear it in my head is very direct- no formed arguments or justified conclusions, just a “do this” or “you don’t need a reason to listen”, it makes me defiant and unable to see other people’s views about it, and it does make me more dependent on others. While I have my disorder, I still need my Mum (despite the fact it causes stress, worry and conflict for both of us, it does also unite us). That last point is ludicrous, because I would have a perfectly lovely relationship with her without it; in fact, it would be better than it is now. But the ed only sees what is there right now- like a child does.
In terms of my mentality, I guess I don’t want to grow up in some ways, but I have always hated having people do things for me, and enjoyed taking control and ownership of my work. Thing is, I don’t want to accept life as a normal “woman.” To me that means being curvy and average and having a mundane life. Again, that is black and white thinking, as I actually know adults myself that do jobs they love, are fit and look good, and have friends and a good social life, but still…. I don’t want to be an average woman’s size.
The minute my ED comes into question I turn into a petulant child. I’m defiant, stubborn, it’s either my/Ed’s way or no way. My ED gives me “independence” from the rest of the world, except for the fact that I’m completely and totally reliant on it. With my ED I don’t have to accept the struggles of growing up (changing body, boring job, all around grown upness). I can continue to craft and sculpt my perfect fantasy world. Totally ignoring the fact that a) most adults aren’t completely and totally miserable and b) I am completely and totally miserable with my ED.
So yeah, I absolutely get what you’re saying.
I’m so sorry you feel this way, and I hope you find a happier frame of mind eventually. You aren’t the only one out there! X
Learning there are others is def helpful. And slowly I’m starting to discover what it is I’m actually trying to protect rather than my disorder. Thanks for the encouragement!
Eating disorders embody so many childlike traits. Time doesn’t stop, however, and the process of growing up is inevitable, whether we like it or not. If you believe that growing up means becoming an average woman living a mundane life, you will naturally resent it! Right now, it seems like the surface issue relates to being of “average size.” Try and dig deeper than that, though, if you can. What would being an average size really mean? What would be different in your life? What emotions/thoughts would you experience? It’s important to try and work through that fear and understand what role your weight plays in your life. Your perception of your body is simply the representation of whatever underlying beliefs you hold towards yourself, others, and the world around you.
Shine on lovely<3
Thank you for such a thoughtful and articulate comment! I’m not really sure what the fear stems from, but my whole ed is definitely based around uncertainty and fear… I guess the biggest worry is to do with dancing, because as a training dancer, my body is important. I can’t be an average sized woman for that. I guess I just don’t know who I am without my disorder. X
Totally understand and relate. It’s scary knowing that recovery can transform the entire identity, but we have to believe the new person that emerges will be worth it<3 hugs!
good motivation 🙂