I am sure that many people believe that if you have an eating disorder, it is only about food. I am here to tell you that there is a whole lot more. Food is just the tool used to gain control. Let me see if I can explain this.
I am overly sensitive about being perceived as fat. I have an overwheling fear of becoming fat. Because of my low self-esteem and need for acceptance, I turn to starvation as a way to control not only my weight, but my feelings and actions regarding ALL my emotions. Because I feel that I do not deserve pleasure out of life, I deprive myself of situations offering pleasure (including eating). As an example, I learned to just say “I really don’t like cake”. This kept my family and friends from asking me to eat it. You can not be tempted by something you don’t like was my feeling. It’s amazing how much stuff I learned to not like.
For me, my eating disorder is not releated to a childhood trauma. It completely is connected to my low self-esteem which lead to me being an introvert. I was always a good kid. I followed rules and really did not give my parents many problems. I feel like I was a good friend too (if you could breakthrough my hard exterior). I would do anything for anyone. I even became pretty good at anticipating people’s needs by being able to lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on before my friends even realized they needed one.
The part I forgot to do was ask for help for me. On the inside I hated myself. I hated my body. I really felt like I just did not fit in. My self-confidence left something to be desire. Even if I received a 97 on a test, I always focused on the fact that there was someone else who did better. I was never proud of myself for my achievements. Nothing I ever did was good enough for me. I was a perfectionist. All this negativity left me feeling completely out of control. My eating disorder became my way of gaining back control of my life. The downside is that 30 years later I still have a lot of these feelings – at least the grownup versions of them.
Now I have realized that this “control” is illusive. All the while I believed that I was in control, when really, the eating disorder was in control of me. It has not helped me to feel any better about myself. In fact, it has made me feel worse. Now is the time to take back control, for real this time. I now understand that I need to do it the healthy way. Nothign comes without hard work. I am now at a point in my life where I am ready to put in the hard work.