by AMANDA DALLIMORE
I am 27 now, but I was first diagnosed with anorexia at 16, after starting a diet at 14. I think I am going to be stuck this way forever, I’ve had it nearly half my life and I can’t remember life without it. Every day since I was 16 has been ruled by food and exercise and weight. It’s my first thought when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed.
Every time I get dressed, try on clothes or look in the mirror I am reminded of it and confronted with feelings of not being good enough. For ten freaking years there has been a voice in my head (she sits in the front right of my forehead) bullying me and dictating my every move. I traveled the world trying to escape it but she followed me everywhere I went. I went to the most amazing cities and all I can remember is what I did or didn’t eat.
There were moments where I thought it was going to kill me, and often I just wished it would so I could escape the hell that I was trapped in. But that would be an easy out and anorexia is too cruel, instead I must suffer with my thoughts and feelings of self-hatred. I would lie awake at night in pain, from hunger and the cold, praying that when I stood on the scales the next morning they would be down.
I can’t tell you the rush I’d get from seeing that number go down. It was the same feeling I’d get when I’d feel hungry or dizzy, as this would mean I was winning. Similarly, when I’d manage to skip a meal or hide my food I’d get a rush, a high, I was in control, I was beating them all. My competitive nature and desire for perfection only fueled the disease.
I hate what it’s done to me. I hate it so much yet I would never give it up. I can’t. I can’t give up control of my body. And yes, I see the irony in this as I’m not in control, the illness is – it’s very hard to explain.
I feel such enormous guilt for what it’s done to my family. I hate what I’ve put them through and what they’ve had to witness. The screaming matches I had with my mum as she tried desperately to make me eat. She was doing it out of love but all I could see was her trying to destroy me and all my hard work. I can never take back some of the things I’ve said to them during hysterical moments when it completely took over my mind and body.
Nicole Richie and Mary Kate Olsen were my thinspiration. I had pictures of them from magazines and the internet in the drawer by my bed and each night I’d lie there looking at them, counting calories and going over my exercise and how I would ‘be good’ and not eat the next day.
I feel bad sharing my story because I worry people think, ‘what does she have to be down about?’ From the outside, I have a nice life. I have a lovely family, amazing friends and a good education and career. I grew up in a nice house in a nice suburb and had everything I could’ve wished for. I realise how lucky I am, I honestly do. And the last thing I want is people’s pity. I don’t feel I deserve it. I just don’t want anyone else to have to go through this, or to hate themselves so much.