Anorexia is a full-time, over-time, no chit chat time, no vacation time or holiday time job. If you know an Anorexic she definitely ain’t lazy.
Try and imagine a slave working in a sweat shop, 24 hours a day in the blistering heat with no food, just coffee to suppress her appetite. Yep, that’s us, Anorexics…blistering and starving with a smile! Seriously though, a sweat shop may sound kind of harsh, but Anorexia is an experience beyond any hellacious 24-7 job and as the Eating Disorder progresses the demands of the day escalate even more. Keeping master “ED” happy with a gaunt body yet appear to be sound and healthy toeveryone else is time consuming.
Here’s a look at what Anorexic days look like…waking up to hunger pains which are numbed with appetite suppressants…. The ritual weighing in “How fat I am” happens right out of bed and periodically through out the day. Then there is a spin class at 5am followed by pinching her belly and arms after class to see how much more fat is still there…. Eating half an apple to calm the hunger and drinking 2 Venti Coffees with Splenda to fill up the stomach and give the appearance of energy. More complicated than dodging hunger pains is dodging “People”. They can be an
obstacle with their invitations for lunch and offering a slice of a co–workers birthday cake…they just get in the way! For lunch she eats half a power bar for energy….making sure no one will see her eat it thinking that they will think shes “fat” for eating it. The rest of the day, she will research diets, calculate the calories in everything she has eaten since breakfast and order a 21 day detox program on –line…And that’s all before noon.
But, this Anorexic existence can only last for so long, until, the house of cards comes crashing down. Within the Eating Disorder recovery community we call this “The flip of the coin” where the Anorexic gets so nutrient deprived that she has lets say just one bite of ice cream….all of the sudden out of no where the full time Anorexic does a 180 and now instead of constantly focusing on staying away from food, she is now focused on getting as much food as she can and starts bingeing. Cyclically this can lead to purging behaviors like bulimia and laxatives. Like Alcoholism, Eating Disorders are progressive in nature. Try and think of the Alcoholic who drank all weekend, then just at night, then all week, then it lead to prescription pills and then to cocaine. Now, this person isn’t just an embarrassing ”bar drunk” she’s an Alcoholic and a drug addict. But, it didn’t happen over night, it was progressive.
What many Anorexics and their parents don’t understand is how the behaviors of different eating disorders feed off of each other. To re-cap: Anorexia causes binging and compulsive overeating which then turns into purging. Now, just because a woman binges doesn’t mean that her “Anorexic phase” is over. Her binging will cause her to gain weight and then her Anorexic flag will go up and she starves again. The starving leads again to binging which then leads to purging and of course shame which takes us back to square one of the Anorexic thinking, “I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve to eat.” As well, now this woman isn’t just working full-time as an Anorexic, but she is now a slave for 3 eating disorders…Anorexia, Binging/Compulsive Overeating and Bulimia all compiled are more time consuming and mentally draining than you could ever imagine.
I know so many women who wish someone would have offered them help at the anorexic stage. In my own words I have said, “had someone told me how painful Compulsive Overeating was, I would have eaten those damn carbs as an Anorexic.” If you or someone you know has Anorexia, believe me, recovery is the hardest thing to do, but RECOVERY gets easier…. ANOREXIA only gets worse and only lasts so long, until it turns into another Eating Disorder or death.