The following is an extract from Monica Kade’s book, The Storm Under My Skin.
Now, for anyone who still believes eating disorders are a desirable way to live, let me give you the reality check on this lifestyle.
It is complete and utter hell. The eating disorder is a web you become deeply tangled in and it binds you in place with one monotonous thought cycle. It’s vicious, brutal and will tear down anything in its path.
Want to pursue your dreams? Forget about it. Want to travel, meet friends or go out and socialise? Forget that too.
Eventually purchasing clothes becomes something you avoid to protect your thin body from prying eyes. Your mind will be taken over by a ruthless parasite. Welcome to a cold, dark world where love doesn’t exist, fun is superficial and connection to self and others is dead. You live here alone as a hostage to your mind.
Everything you can do when you are healthy becomes obsolete with this disorder because your day to day life revolves around food. Whether it’s going out for coffee, lunch or dinner, to a friend’s place or even to work, having an eating disorder means you have to plan ahead and be meticulous in protecting your secret from the outside world. In the beginning, it’s not too bad. You learn to manage it but eventually this monster inside you grows into something that no words can explain and it manages you.
Slowly you shut down to the world and your light begins to dim. You lose any sense of joy. You find temporary happiness, sometimes through drinking and partying, which I found was the only time I didn’t feel what I was going through – but even that is short lived.
Eventually, your body is so weak that running your daily errands depletes you so significantly that you must regularly take rests and nap.
I remember I stopped attending university lectures because it was too cold. Despite the layers I wore, I couldn’t warm myself, so I just stopped going. Plus, I found it so exhausting walking through the grounds, up and down stairs and back again. If I did go, I’d have to come home and have a little sleep. The body begins to operate in ways that are going to consume less energy and keep vital organs functioning.
My increased need to nap supported energy restoration and some degree of healing but the mind fails to run efficiently. There are holes in your reality; your memory is bleak, especially the deeper you go into the illness. You don’t remember what you did that morning, let alone last week. Your mind is vague and you are absent.
Taking a shower was mostly done with my eyes closed. Sometimes I would sit down because it was too tiring to stand. And half the time I couldn’t remember if I took a shower or not? Sometimes I’d figure it out but other times, I had no recollection of the event whatsoever.