When I first started skipping meals, I thought it was what you were supposed to do to lose weight. I wasn’t the only person I knew doing it, so naturally, I didn’t see a problem. When I stopped eating completely for days at a time, excuses were given and the ‘oh I ate earlier’ line was thrown around more and more often. But honestly? People didn’t really notice. I was losing weight, that’s what people were noticing.
The problem didn’t really become apparent to me until a few months down the line. But I always felt like this was just a ‘me’ thing. That this wasn’t a big deal. I was tired more and more, I became restless and aggravated. All aspects of my life were affected, but I still didn’t realize the weight of the situation (pun intended).
As more time passed, I would bump into people I hadn’t seen in a while, and be greeted by ‘wow you look so different’, ‘you’ve lost so much weight’, ‘you look amazing’, which just spurred me on more.
How could I be sick when I looked so healthy??
The rumbling in my stomach became the drumbeat to my addiction, and a beat that I would walk to every single day.
Luckily, this was a few years ago, but I’m still affected by it every day. With something like an ED, recovery isn’t a finishing line- it’s an ongoing battle.
But unluckily, this is also the case for so many other teenage girls (and boys, and adults, and everyone in between). And frankly, it’s not spoken about enough. Depression and anxiety always seem to be no.1 on the media’s list of ‘Issues of the Month’, when this one is just as prominent and more relevant than ever. I never realized how many other people suffered from EDs until I spoke out myself, and soon became almost a confidante for friends of mine who were also suffering.
I don’t plan to solve anything by writing this article, but I do think awareness is honestly the key when it comes to EDs. Check up on your friends, even the ones who seem to have healthy habits. EDs take so many different forms it can be difficult to check for warning signs. But just be aware. Be educated. The battle is ongoing, but we intend to win.
For more information or advice on Eating Disorders, please visit the Bodywhys website, or chat with an adult that you trust x
Remember, the most amazing, compassionate, successful and inspiring people we know are those who faced challenges, and managed to overcome them. Hang in there, it will pass. The girl who submitted this article chose to remain anonymous but wanted to share her experience x
Other helpful supports include:
SPUN OUT: This is a one-stop-shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful and all bases are covered.
SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and is completely confidential. Call 116 123.
BODYWHYS: Online, phone and group support for eating disorders.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland
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