Eating disorders are messy illnesses. No one person or event is to blame for causing an eating disorder, because that “cause” is a sundry mix of neurobiology and genetics, family of origin, social environment, and trauma. And if you lack the psychological tools to deal with life stressors, then you will seek relief in any way possible. For some, that relief comes with the starvation high of anorexia, or the dopamine rush of binge eating, or any number of ED behaviors.
Unless you are a natural-born psychologist who can troubleshoot those stressors before they warp your thoughts and actions, chances are you did not see your eating disorder looming on the horizon. You didn’t realize you were in danger until it was upon you.
I know I am not doing fabulous. I am fully aware. It’s hard for me to believe that there is any sense of hope in a disorder that is constantly defeating me. It’s even harder when people look at my relapse like I wanted it.
I have an eating disorder, disorder being the key word there. I spend a lot of time feeling guilty for my disorder because there is so much blame that comes with anorexia. From telling people my story and being around people who try to understand, I normally get two responses: “You were the person that decided to skip that meal” or “Is it really a disorder or a consequence of the media?”
I’m just going to say this once. My eating disorder was not created with photoshop, my eating disorder doesn’t give two shits about celebrity bikini photos and this idea that a photo of somebody else created this monster. No.
As for the first response.
I spend a lot of time sitting around wondering if I am truly to blame for this. Logically, it makes sense. Logically, yes, I did not go and eat a meal, there was no gun to my head. This is more than an eating disorder thing too, there is a lot of blame that comes my way for my depression. Some days you have to just brush it off is something I hear constantly. The truth is I feel like a prisoner within myself. I am being brainwashed by a voice that is constantly telling me that I am not good enough. That everything is always my fault, including Anorexia, and everybody looks down on me because of it. I am haunted by the possibility that every day in my eating disorder is a day that I am to blame.
Then I think about it
There is no blame talk when it comes to my skin disorder. No person has ever approached me with anger about it. There would no blame talk being thrown my way if I had another disorder like cystic fibrosis. Those things aren’t a choice, and they are disorders but when it comes to anorexia, hold the fucking phone because Sarah isn’t trying.
Anorexia, Bulimia, BED, and EDNOS are fucking disorders. They wouldn’t be classified as such if it was something that myself and the 24 million people with eating disorders decided to just have identical symptoms with food. With any disorder, there is no black and white. If there was, it’d be a lot easier to treat. I can’t pin point a single event that caused this because there isn’t one. Eating disorders can be developed by many things. THis is how my brain copes. Not how I made my brain cope, no, just how my brain processes stresses in my life and tries to survive through them. There are so many articles and studies that have proven that a person with an eating disorder has different brain chemistry than a person who doesn’t suffer. When I eat food, my brain sees it as something to panic. Does that excuse me from completely going into symptoms? No, it doesn’t. But I would challenge any body who says this is all my fault to go a day with your mind processing food as a threat and I fucking GUARANTEE you that you would skip meals, too.
Think of all the things you do to avoid threats in your life. You lock the door because there is a threat that your things might get stolen. You were a seat belt because there is a threat that you could die in a car accident. You have certain parts of whatever town you live in that you avoid because there is a threat that you could be in danger. If you see or feel an extreme threat coming your way, your first thought is to protect yourself. And when you feel threatened you are supposed to trust your gut instinct. Whether you realize it or not, there are things that every person does that make them feel safer in their environment. This is what I do. I don’t feel safe and I am protecting myself
I am not saying that I hold no control in this, i am really not. What I am trying to say is that I promise you that I wouldn’t have chosen this life for myself. I would do anything to sit and eat meals with friends and be fine but I have a disorder that ruins that aspect for me. It’s so hard wired in my brain that I am an awful person and the blame I feel for developing this literally haunts me every day. I want to be normal. I want people to be proud of me and with this disorder, I don’t feel that way.
If you want more info on the science behind Anorexia Nervosa, watch this shitttt