“I am not my anorexia”

“You’re perfect” is what they would always say to me. From the moment that I ever associated with this word, it felt as if everyone always held me to the highest standards. The ideal image that people believed me to truly embody became some impossibly perfect person whom I knew that I was not, but I felt the need to pretend to be. I compared myself constantly to this perfection, strived to achieve the goals that everybody though I so easily accomplished, and destroyed myself in the process.

My eating disorder was probably my best-kept secret throughout the years. It appeared to the outside world that I had it all but little did everyone know how unhappy and dissatisfied with myself I really was. I have never let anyone in, I would do anything to not let myself feel vulnerable, and I have always kept a thick enough wall up around me to protect myself. I was terrified of ever showing weakness so I made sure to develop a sarcastic sense of humor, an apparent lack of emotions, and a carefree personality while always doing more for others than for myself. I needed control over every aspect of my life, and if something would go wrong, I would beat myself up about it for days. I was never good enough. I was never worth it. I never deserving of love or belonging

I still hear countless critical comments from friends and peers about people being “too skinny” or “too fat.” People throw around the term “anorexic” like it’s just a casual choice someone makes when they “don’t want to eat.” I bite my tongue and fake a smile when people make these jokes about such serious topics, because I could not imagine them knowing that I was a victim of this disorder, and their ignorance is what ultimately led to my double life- one pretending that everything was “fine” and the other filled with misery, isolation and self-hate. Everyone thought they knew me, but no one really had any idea.

I cannot even pinpoint the moment where my eating disorder began, but once it started there was no stopping the snowball effect it created. I destroyed my body for a peace of mind I never got. I am now letting myself become vulnerable to a world that I have been terrified to ever truly live in. I have never been comfortable in my own skin and have gone to extreme measures to appear “happy” but I can no longer live like this. I cannot constantly compare myself to the unattainably perfect standards that society has put forward for me to maintain. I am flawed. Accept me for who I am, the struggles I have faced, the demons I have overcome, and the battles I fight every minute of every day. I will no longer be a victim to the voices in my head constantly telling me that I am not good enough, that I could be smarter, skinner, prettier, better. I am who I am and I am enough. I am not my anorexia.