What it means to have an ED

having an eating disorder means wanting everyone to know and no one to ask

it means accidentally leaving your lunch at home and proudly telling friends no thanks when they offer to share 

it means crossing your arms over your stomach and sucking in all day at school

it means hunching over and fake coughing trying to make sure no one hears the growls coming from your stomach

making sure no one knows you have a stomach at all

it means pacing back and forth from the fridge to the cabinets thinking what is safe to eat 

it means saltine crackers are safe

i don’t even remember why

it means reaching a point when you are so hungry that little voice in your head says you need to eat something; you know you’ll just eat everything anyway

this voice that tells you you are weak: and you are

you eat everything you can find, you don’t have time to sit down, you don’t have time for plates

the voice tells you you are worthless that this is you, this monster who cannot stop eating 

you eat anything you can find and quickly run out of options

it has been 2 minutes maybe 3 and you’ve tried to be good, but you ate a bag of chocolate, you ate food that was still mostly frozen in the freezer, you ate raw noodles, you ate an entire box of crackers you cannot stop

it means sitting on the floor crying while still holding a package of graham crackers, shoveling them into your mouth in handfuls 

they are spilling out of your mouth and stabbing the insides of your cheeks, it is hard to chew

it might even mean spitting some into the trash

chew and spit that’s an idea

chew and spit chew and spit

fuck the voice wants you to eat again

So it means you swallow and hate yourself, and you find another box to go through, another package that is meant to last 2 weeks that for you only lasts 2 minutes 

It means saying you’re hungry when you are stuffed

It means you can’t stop eating because then you will have  to feel

It means numbing everything with chicken chocolate crackers pie cookies cookies cookies

it means being full or feeling empty 

it means looking in the mirror at the end of the night and crying

it means pinching and sucking and punching and pulling and cutting

it means crying into your pillow 

it means feeling guilt and shame 

and getting up to eat some more to mask the pain 

it means promises you cannot keep 

notebooks filled with self-hate notes and diet plans and lofty resolutions

7 water bottles a day 100 crunches a day breakfast lunch dinner healthy snack in between 

1000 calories max, 1200 calories if you must (the voice says you should be ashamed of those 200 though)

this many days til my birthday

this many days til summer 

115 lbs ugw

it means making a post it note for every pound on your body and sticking them to the wall hoping to take one down every time you lose a pound

It means waking up the next day and doing it all over again

oops no time to make lunch

no thanks i don’t want your extra oreo

why don’t we have any food in this house

it means one post it note comes down and two go up 

it means not leaving the house some days and crying looking in the mirror instead

it means you can’t eat dinner with your boyfriend and his family because you binged to 1200 before you came 

it means your boyfriend is confused and doesnt want you to come to the table anymore 

you made him self conscious he doesnt want you to sit there watching while he chews

you made him self conscious

remember when that was you?

seventh grade when it all started when someone first told you you didn’t know how to eat right

when someone watched you while you ate and laughed

and then you forgot how to eat right

and then it felt more right not to eat

but now you’re sitting up in his room wishing you could just be downstairs sitting at the table laughing with his family smiling as you take a bite, accepting love in the form of a meal together

it means you want to be a part of his family

it means you think your body is the only part he wants from you

it means you have to have the perfect body to keep him

it means you tell your next boyfriend he only likes skinny girls

“I’m not your type”

It means looking at pictures of your exes’ exes wondering how to be like them

it means not realizing you are you and that’s who they want to be with

it means you break up because you don’t know how to love yourself 

it means you’re away at school stealing food from your roommates 

it means eating your roommate’s entire box of cookies, buying a replacement box, and having to get a replacement for the replacement because you fucking ate those too

it means NEEDing a grande starbucks and a muffin and a chocolate croissant and a bubble tea and a red bull and two bags of chips and sour patch kids and a kit kat

it means a quick run to the vending machine

and then another

and another

it means sitting on your bed, back to the door shoveling food in your mouth as fast as you can before someone else comes home

it means going to the dining hall and getting a salad 

it means you’re not drinking pop

and now you are ONLY drinking pop and red bull and monster 

it means walking to the store for food and walking home empty handed

it means walking back for food at a different store where you don’t have to tell someone an order

because ordering something is shameful

telling someone you want food is shameful

shame on you

it means running out of dance class crying because you are panicking about anyone looking at your disgusting body

and panicking that they all know you are not perfect

you are not graceful

you are not DELICATE

the only thing you wish to be

It means you have your license now! But you can’t go through drive thrus because you’d have to tell a stranger that you eat

No one can know you have a stomach

It means crying on the couch begging your mom to go pick up food for you because you can’t do it yourself

it means creating an enabler

it means your body’s biggest need is your biggest fear 

it means you go to therapy you get a meal plan and you’re still terrified of being fat

and you are fat

you can’t stop yourself you are weak this is what you do

it means writing down which thoughts are rational and irrational and laughing to yourself because you don’t really know which to believe anymore

and it all seems so silly who has to think this hard about how to eat

it’s you

because you STILL don’t know how to eat right seven years later

and so it means forcing yourself to eat at a table and eat a well rounded meal and pretend it doesnt scare you

it means eating without distracting yourself from the food

it means feeling without distracting yourself from the pain

it means eventual recovery 

it means you get a job get a routine start eating “normalized” meals start losing weight naturally

it means you’re feeling healthy you know how to think now you can do this

it means you find a program that works for you and calms the voice down, makes it easier to manage 

it means people notice your weight loss and nowwwww

the voice is back loud and clear “you have to be perfect”

“they think you’re skinny you’ve done it you’ve tricked them you fat fuck” 

“don’t screw this up don’t get fat you have to be the best you have to be perfect”

it means fear of failure

it means triggers: everyone is on a diet i should be too

it means someone mentions what you are eating and the shame washes over you and your cheeks flush and you get mad at yourself and you take it out on them

it means stress: i shouldn’t diet i know its unhealthy for me

because that perfectionist hasn’t left, she just found a new outlet

first she told you all the rules for how to be beautiful; how to be thin

then you gave her new rules, rules for recovery, all the new things to avoid that used to be things to aim for


it means starting to get bad again

it starts with watching anorexia stories on youtube

and reading about diets

and googling thinspo

and buying a book about anorexia

and wishing you were anorexic because it would be easier

would it?

and buying chips

and buying ice cream

and buying popcorn

and shoveling it in 

“i’m hungry should we get dinner”

“wow cant believe I’m somehow still hungry after that”

“i need a red bull maybe i’ll get two”

it means crying at the gym because someone SPOKE to you

someone noticed you weren’t doing everything perfect

it means losing it completely and telling a stranger you just want to be perfect and you don’t know where to start anymore

it means looking in the mirror and picking yourself apart

it means you are weak again 

it means “recovery is not a straight line”

it means you’re afraid of getting stuck in a setback

it means time is running out 

it means walking into work thinking “everyone knows I’m eating again” “everyone notices I’m getting fat”

if they don’t tell you you’re skinny it means you’re fat

and fat means you failed

it means sweatshirts 

it means hiding 

it means calculator after calculator of how much did i eat how much should i eat how much can i eat how much exercise is right what do i need to do to do everything perfectly

it means weighing yourself twice a day

it means you stop weighing yourself because you know you gained back all the weight but you’re too terrified to look

it means routine is all you have

a break in routine is a breakdown

where do you go from here?


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