Living with anorexia

An Overshadowed Achievement

On Saturday I did something I haven’t done for a long time.

I sat at the table, with my family, for lunch.

I ate something I haven’t eaten for a long time.

The old favourite: baked beans on toast.

I should be celebrating it as a huge success.  I sat at the table for a meal.  I ate with my parents and my sister.  I ate something ‘new’.

But I don’t feel like celebrating.  Saturday lunchtime was a single high point in a weekend where mentally and physically, I felt worse than I have for a long time.


It started on Friday.  Determined to eat an evening meal different from my usual safe food, I spent much of the day scrolling endlessly through the websites of three different supermarkets, trying to find something I could manage.  Hour after hour, comparing the calorie content of different options.  Endless, back and forth, this or that?  More calories?  Less fat?  What if I don’t like it?  I want all of it!  I don’t want any of it!  I felt mentally exhausted by the amount of choice I was giving myself.  Eventually I disregarded them all and made my usual evening meal.

The stress of the day didn’t end there.  Each evening, before bed, I eat a yoghurt.  This is a habit I developed before Christmas, when my nights were violently invaded by panic attacks, anxiety, and an unshakeable belief that I would die in the night.  Eating a yoghurt before bed somehow alleviated the worst of these feelings, and although I now sleep much better thanks to medication, I have managed to continue eating a yoghurt each night.  The yoghurt didn’t cause me any stress.  But at my mum’s suggestion I decided to have a tiny piece of chocolate with it.  The effect was instantaneous.  I swallowed the chocolate, and felt absolutely terrible.  Stress, anxiety, panic… it all rose up inside me.  Why the hell was I eating chocolate?  Anger, frustration, depression… there was nothing I could do.  I went to bed, distressed, upset, consumed with self-hatred.

And so that was how my weekend started.  I won’t bore you with all the details of the next few days, suffice to say things did not really improve.  By Sunday morning I felt mentally and physically exhausted.  I felt so weak, I barely had the energy to move off my bed.

I managed to make my way into the kitchen, where I stood, desparately trying to convince myself to eat a banana.  I knew I needed something.  My chest hurt, I felt faint, dizzy… But I could not bring myself to eat anything.  I wanted to cry with frustration.  How could I have sunk so far into this illness that I cannot even bring myself to eat a piece of fruit when I feel this weak?

Today, I feel much better.  The depression and anxiety that plagued me all weekend has subsided, the chest pain has ceased and I feel a little stronger.  The thing is, I know that I am not better.  Despite the best efforts of my family and therapy team, I have continued to lose weight and it is now the lowest it has ever been.  I know I am not well.  I wonder what will happen to me.  Being admitted to a residential unit is seeming like a more and more likely outcome.  I don’t want it to come to that.  But maybe it would be best.  I don’t know. I just don’t know.


10 thoughts on “An Overshadowed Achievement

  1. So strong to get through that. So much respect! I learn more every time I read your blog. Although one day I hope I learn without you having to suffer first. Get well and I’m here if you need me.


      1. You are more than welcome. And I hope so too, once the flu is gone I will be great. haha can’t wait to hear about surmeshed. Extra points for no laughing.


  2. You challenge yourself immensely, but perhaps it’s also even more challenging to not have that help that extra bit of intricate help. I don’t know, CR. I just know that, whatever helps you gain healthy weight, you’re strong enough for.


  3. The desire to lose weight is stronger even then the threat of treatment. When my admission was delayed by 2 weeks, all I could think about was losing more weight, even though they said that if I did, they’d deny me and make me go to residential. Fortunately they still took me, for that I’m glad, but there is always the though that I never lost enough, that I was not small enough…. but in truth I’d never be small enough and if I managed it, I would die. I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

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