G is for Growing up

Today I learned that the letter G is a hard one to find a post for.. I’ve chosen to talk about growth because my disorders have moulded to stay with me as I’ve gotten older. 

The 8 year old girl who thought she weighed too much became a 14 year old who cut out lunch. The critical voice got stronger and stronger, until the 14 year old became a 17 year old who went from anorexic to bulimic.

Now I’m 21 and accustomed to living with housemates not my family. I am “grown up” (in the legal sense… My enjoyment of stuffed animals suggests otherwise…) 

In many ways, suffering makes you grow up because you have to understand your mind in a way other people do not; however I’ve missed out in other ways. I find it hard to cope healthily, meaning I end up needing other people more than Id like to admit. 

G is also for Gain. These are the things I would gain from being recovered:

-less anxiety when eating socially

-more energy

-better hair and skin 

-more physical strength and health

-ability to enjoy treat foods

-not feeling guilt because others worry about me 

-more confidence

Growing up.

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.