Seriously, though, I have been pondering this for the past couple of days, trying to figure out if this was true for me or not. Do on-lookers really have it right? Do anorexics stop eating because they want to be thin?
Of course not! It's a facade, a cover-up. The real issues behind why someone becomes anorexic are so much more complicated and diverse.
In terms of my story, when I first found out that I was anorexic, I couldn't wrap my mind around the why? My mom would constantly ask me "why do you think you have this issue?" and my answer would revolve around the fact that I just wanted to be skinny. Of course, now, as I look back I can see exactly why I developed the illness and it had nothing to do with being thin.
I remember the day I started my mission to lose weight. I unconsciously thought that if I was skinnier, then I wouldn't have to move on. I could stay little and people would still like me. In this beginning stage of my anorexia, I hid the fact that I just really didn't want to grow up, by trying to be thin.
As I began my treatment and therapy, I started to realize there were a multitude of issues that I was hiding behind my facade. I needed to stay small so people would love me, so my dad would be proud of me, so he would remember that I was still here. I needed my mom to support me, my friends to not leave me, for people to accept me. And yet, thinking about it all now, the only thing that I was trying to hide was the fact that I needed love and acceptance from myself.
When I relapsed in 2010, I did so because I felt forgotten, lost, unloved. I needed people's approval and their support. What I really needed was my own support, my own approval.
And that's why I can say that the main issue within any anorexic case is the need for self-love. I'm confident that this is what it all boils down to in the end. You can starve yourself for what you think it's for, acceptance from others, attention, love, etc. But really you starve yourself because you don't believe you're worthy and you have no self-love for yourself.
I know this is true because once I started really focusing on trying to love myself and accept who I was, I found freedom. I no longer needed the outward approval of the ones around me because I already approved of myself, which was the most important thing.
There have been a lot of lessons I've learned over the past nine years through my struggles, but the biggest thing I had to learn was to love myself and be okay with whatever I was. If I'm weird, then let me be weird. If I'm shy and quiet, then so be it. If I love being alone, then let me be alone.
And it's not like I'm "cured" or anything, I mean all kinds of people deal with this stuff, even those without anorexia, because it's normal. I still have my days where I seem to forget what I'm fighting for, but I always pick myself back up and start again.
I am now thankful for all of this because I truly believe that if it wasn't for the anorexia and all of the struggles I had to go through, I wouldn't even be close to where I am now, physically, and most importantly mentally and spiritually.
So, when people say that anorexia is a disease of thinness, I disagree. Anorexia is a disease of self-love, of acceptance, approval, love, life, of freedom.
Learn to love yourself.