10 January 2016
One Symptom at a Time...
Living with an eating disorder has extremely detrimental effects on you, including both physical and emotional distresses. I have accumulated a list of just a few effects that were presented during my decline. Can I just stress that these are problems that occurred for me, everybody is different and please don’t presume that you have a problem if you can relate to some of the symptoms on this list. On the other hand, if you are concerned, please refer to the Useful Contacts page to seek guidance.
· Weight loss
· Increase of body hair
· Thinning of hair and nails
· Lack of energy
· Skin dryness- hands and feet cracking
· Slowed heart rate
· Considerable drop in blood sugar levels
· Lack of concentration
· Erratic mood swings
· Inability to rationalise situations
· Avoiding social events- no confidence
· Increased anxiety
· Obsession over control- meal choices and cutting up of food
· Perfectionism- slight OCD
I would go to work when I was able to, then I would come home and cry about my helplessness to do anything or think about anything other than food. I was scared to wash my hair in the shower because of the amount that I would be left holding, ravelled around my hands. I was in so much pain with my hands and feet that I couldn’t perform any tasks because they were dry, cracking and bleeding. I found that I was struggling to walk up the stairs due to being out of breath. I would ring mum crying whilst walking to college because I literally couldn’t put any pressure on my right knee without being in excruciating pain and nearly collapsing. However, the anorexic mindset doesn’t consider any incapability’s or discomfort; instead I would be driven to make repeated trips up and down the stairs at home in an attempt to cancel out any calories, fat or sugar that I had just ingested. The treadmill and exercise bike that we had in the spare room were swiftly packed away when I would find myself on them for an hour or two at a time to make sure I burnt off all of the excess calories I had consumed above my ‘limit’. It is an excruciating battle where your mind is driving your physically powerless body.
Yes, reflecting on these physical effects is difficult to read now, and I become very upset to think of what my body had to go through, but the emotional effects are just as difficult to look back on.
I became a liar. I was lying to myself, lying to my parents, lying to everybody. I would go on the treadmill when people were out of the house during the day, and then go on it again in the evening, without anybody knowing I had already been on it. I would make hot drinks for people and carry them up to the living room one at a time, just so that I could use this as an excuse to spend more time walking up and down the stairs. I would take a packed lunch to work with me, but on the way home I would take a detour to avoid anybody seeing me whilst I threw my snacks in the bin. If anybody truly knows me, they would know that I am the worst liar in the world. This shows just how little there was left of the real me. I became a different person with different characteristics, but I couldn’t do anything to control it.