I accept your apology because apparently something is going on with you. But you need to know just one thing. I also have a life threatening illness — it's called anorexia nervosa. My doctor has spent years trying to get me to take this illness seriously and to realize it can kill me. You see, for years I didn't really think it was a big deal. I was just thin, so what? I truly believed nothing was wrong with me.
Now I am finally listening to him, and I hope it is not too late. The sore spot you hit is the fact I was told Friday that my body is not handling this very well and that I am at risk for a stroke at 45, in addition to ongoing liver and kidney problems. It also tends to make me cranky to blackout and hit my head against the wall and the nightstand, and then deal with a headache and overall soreness for days.
What I think you — and you are not alone — don't realize is that this is not always a choice. Yes, I do believe we choose recovery. But sometimes — at least for me — my mind knows that recovery is a logical and rational choice, but for some reason it won't allow me to do what I know I need to. That is to eat and eat and eat ... The fear and anxiety of food takes over the fear and anxiety of possible permanent damage. It is like a war within my brain and believe me, I wish it would stop.
I write this blog for several reasons. One reason is to bring some sort of understanding to the outside world of what it is like to have anorexia. It is not fun. It is not glamorous in spite of what the media would have you believe. And it is not a choice, although pro-anorexia sites say otherwise. Why would I chose to live this way? Why would anyone chose to live this way? It is destroying my life and apparently my body. I have so many dreams. I want to finish my master's degree and use my talents to help people in someway. I want to live a full life with my husband, and travel to places like Ireland and Alaska. I want to read and write and know joy again.
I want to be normal. I once was normal, you know. That's what started this whole thing, when I started remembering life before anorexia and my writing was a mixture of nostalgia and sadness.
Again I will stress that those of us with eating disorders also have life threatening diseases. Eating disorders are misunderstood by the vast majority of the population. But eating disorders are illnesses and can be fatal. Many, many people have died of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Many are dying of these diseases right now. And yet the world blames us. The world would not if we had cancer or ALS or MS or another disease.
That is the sore spot you touched. People who are struggling and trying to recover from their eating disorders. Some people with eating disorders are praying that this time treatment will work and they will be free of this imprisonment of the mind. Others are praying they can recover without treatment because yet again their insurance refuses to pay. Finally, some feel as if they will never recover. All of them are hurting, and your words hurt them further. But I do understand you are hurting, too.
I will ask again — who would chose to have an eating disorder? Who would chose years of fighting and struggling with illogical illnesses that take so many lives and ruin so many others? Who would chose to enter eating disorder prison? Because that's what it feels like at times. A prison, and there is no get out of jail free card available.
Some people might wonder why I have spent so much time addressing your comments. I am hoping that God will open your heart and allow compassion and understanding for people with eating disorders enter. Perhaps I am a fool or a dreamer, but I believe maybe this is time well-spent if it changes the thinking of one person toward eating disorders and those who suffer from them. I can always hope.