I’ve started another mini series about what it’s like to spend a day living with different mental health problems.
I don’t normally do this, but I’m putting a content warning on this post. It might be difficult to read for people who are experiencing or are in recovery from an eating disorder. However, it’s very important to me that the raw, painful truth of mental illness is exposed. There are many, many examples of mental illness being glamourised in the media, but that’s not the reality we live with day to day. This first post is about how it is to live just one day with anorexia. If you think it might affect you negatively, I encourage you not to put yourself at risk by reading ahead. There is no mention of numbers (either calories or weight), but some of the content might be triggering.
I’m awake. Did I actually eat that or was it just a dream? I’m panicking: what did I eat yesterday? I hope I’ve lost weight. Can I feel my bones? Yes I still can but not enough. I can still feel fat everywhere. My stomach hurts so much. Time to get up. I look so fat this morning, I have definitely gained weight. I need to go and weigh myself now before I eat or drink anything. Phew, I’ve lost weight. But not enough. Not fast enough. I’ll cut another few calories out today. I’ll have to exercise a bit longer. Maybe that’s not right, I’ll weigh myself again. I think I was standing funny, I’ll try a third time. Okay, it must be right. Time to get dressed. I better check it one more time before I get dressed. What to wear? Nope, I look too fat in that first outfit. And this one. My legs look too fat in these trousers. I can’t wear that top. Maybe I’ll just weigh myself again quickly. Ok I really am getting dressed now. How much do I weigh with clothes on? Surely my clothes don’t weigh that much. I better take them off and check again. Okay, this will do. Baggy jumper, baggy trousers. Shall I have breakfast today? I think I will but I’ll have a smaller portion. Time to eat. Fat fat fat fat don’t eat that don’t eat that stop eating it. I can finish this. I’ve finished. This guilt is overwhelming. You didn’t deserve to eat that. I can literally feel myself growing. I’ll just cut back my calories elsewhere. I wonder what I can eat later. I need to exercise so I can let myself have lunch. I can have something small now, something safe. I’ve got chest pains. I wonder how much that girl weighs? How much smaller is she than me? I can’t eat lunch now. I’ll never be as thin as her if I keep eating lunch. I’m so tired. I’m lightheaded. I feel hungry. I must be fat if I’m hungry. I don’t want to need food, only greedy people need food. You’re greedy and fat. I can’t exercise again, I’m too tired. I have to do just a few minutes longer, then I’ll rest. How many calories have I had? I’m cold. How much do my collarbones stick out? Did I forget anything? How big is my thigh gap? What if I’ve had more than I think I have? Look at that girl. I wish I was as thin as her. How does she get her legs like that? I bet she eats less than me. I wonder what she eats. I bet she eats less than me. She must eat less than me. I’m so fat. You’ll never get thin if you keep eating so much. I need to eat something. How much do my collarbones stick out? What can I eat? You can’t eat anything because you’re so fat. You’re not allowed. Can I feel my spine? I’m so tired. I shouldn’t lay down, it’s so lazy. Can I fit my hand around my arm? My feet hurt from walking so much. But I’m so tired and my stomach hurts so much. Can my hands go around my thighs? How big is my thigh gap? I will have some dinner. How many calories is this? I can’t keep this down. I need to get rid of it, I need to get it out of my body now. Are my ribs sticking out? I can feel myself growing already. I need to rip this fat off my body. I need to get this food out of me. I need to check my thighs. How flat is my stomach? My knuckles are bleeding again. I’ve got another nosebleed. How much do I weigh? I can’t believe I’ve gained so much weight in a day. I want to pull my skin off. How much are my hips sticking out? I need to go to bed and get this day over with. I hate this. I can’t do this for another day. How flat is my stomach now? How much fat can I pinch? I’m so much bigger than this morning. I hope I’ve lost weight tomorrow. I will die I’ve gained weight. I don’t know what I’ll do. How will I cope? I can’t keep doing this. I hate this.
I’m awake. Did I actually eat that or was it just a dream? I’m panicking: what did I eat yesterday?
The purpose of this series is to be real and honest, and I hope I’ve achieved that. I want people to understand that mental illness is real and that battling with your own mind every day is all consuming and frightening. I feel very fortunate that this isn’t the reality I live in anymore and that I have been able to reach a point in my recovery where these thoughts are not only much less frequent, but also easier to ignore. If you have struggled with any of the issues mentioned above, please seek support. You can find some great resources here. I’ll be talking about the different aspects of bipolar disorder next: mania and depression; I hope you’ll give them a read.
Do you have your own story to tell about a day in your life living with a mental health problem? If you’d like to contribute to this series and write your own post, I’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me here.