What It Feels Like: Eating Disorders

February 25, 2019



Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that involve disordered eating behaviour. This might mean limiting the amount of food eaten, eating very large quantities of food at once, getting rid of food eaten through unhealthy means (e.g. purging, laxative misuse, fasting, or excessive exercise), or a combination of these behaviours. It’s important to remember that eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. The way the person interacts with food may make them feel more able to cope, or may make them feel in control (Beat). 



"I wish I could tell you that I had forgotten but it seems impossible to forget being trapped like that. Tightly gripped by such a cruel illness, a prisoner in my own mind. I felt lost, like I had been taken apart bit by bit, so much so that I no longer recognised myself, my former self a distant memory. Conflicted with what I thought and what Anorexia did, a constant battle and one I lost time and time again. Every minute filed with another rule to obey or punishment to take. I felt huge amounts of guilt, from both sides to, guilty for being ill and guilty for even contemplating letting go. My body felt as though it was physically crawling with disgust. It gets tiring, like you would not believe, it is completely and utterly exhausting, both physically and mentally. Filled with a numbing feeling of fear, confusion and pain, not to forget lonely, with what felt like only Anorexia to turn to. Anorexia feels like darkness, as if there will never be light again. There is light after Anorexia." - Nicole Williams















"Having EDNOS feels like food is the centre of your life, but the label very much makes you feel like your not ill enough. Having EDNOS is like being in an abusive relationship with calories. For me, being overweight with an eating disorder is a constant battle between wanting to lose weight for health reasons and being told to lose weight for health reasons but not being able to find a sensible way to do so. In my head it’s very much a black and white of starve or binge." - Abbie Brewer












"Having anorexia is a constant battle in your head. An arguing and tormenting fight with no way out. There are days when you think the voice has shut up, days when you don't think about it at all but then out of nowhere it starts again. That voice whispering that you are eating too much, telling you you are worthless, fat... and then it gets louder and louder. Shouting at you. You resist for so long. You feel in control. You keep eating. Keep fighting... anorexia tries to break you, tries to convince you you are no good, waits for a moment that she can swoop in and trip you up. She hangs on to your every move, tormenting you as if you are losing at life, she makes you feel like you have failed everyone round you and that the reality is you are only good at being friends with her and right now you can't even do that right... anorexia is like living with a constant argument between a best friend and a worst enemy. Sometimes I feel like she could be my best friend again. Sometimes I want that value from her or the thrill of missing a meal and feeling like a gold medal winner... But the truth is anorexia will always be your worst enemy." - Hope Virgo 







"Anorexia is like being in a toxic relationship. It tells you that you don’t need anybody else and that it will keep you safe. It isolates you from people that love you, and from yourself. It tells you time and time again that it is the only thing you need it your life, and that as long as it is there, everything will be okay - and that is why it is so frightening. Deep down you know it is lying, but you can’t stop it. It’s like falling down a hole but the bottom never comes, it just keeps moving further and further away. Every waking moment you have is consumed by thoughts of food and soon there is no time to think of anything else at all. When you sleep you dream of food and you wake up in a panic. You start losing touch with who you are and you feel as though you are nothing but your disorder, and that is why recovery is so difficult. You don’t know who you are without it anymore, because it has become your whole life. At some point it turns on you. It stops telling you that if you are thin good things will happen, and that it can help you achieve that. It stops telling you that it will keep you safe. It stops being friendly. It tells you that you are a terrible person, that you will be nothing without it, that you are worthless. But once you start to break free from its hold, it starts to become clear that it is lying and you can start to relearn who you are without it in your life." - Cara Lisette 







"I used food as a coping mechanism in order to feel something other than the pain of my thoughts. You might think that a binge eating disorder is just someone who is greedy but it isn’t the case at all. It’s completely psychological, it’s done in secret, there’s preplanning involved working out what foods to eat to make me happy. When the binge starts I go into a trance hearing or seeing nothing else and all my thinking is that the food will make me happy, this will get me through the next 5 minutes of life and make me forget all the other stuff swirling around my head. I never felt happiness, I felt guilty and ashamed and hideous. I stopped looking in the mirror; again another coping mechanisms. Relationships screwed me up and desperate to end the cycle of cheats and liars, if I got fat, no one would find me attractive and therefore I was protecting myself from getting hurt." - Natalie Hall 







"I have EDNOS. I cannot chew my food. I've created a belief that my teeth don't work and would fall out if I use them. I try to push through it but if I move to bite down on food my jaw freezes. I cannot do it. I cannot move. For a long period, I couldn't even touch my teeth with a toothbrush. I've now learned to look after my mouth again and had sessions with a dentist but actually using the teeth to chew? At the moment, it feels impossible." - Sophie Hawker 
















"It’s often too late until you realise you can’t stop, the control that eating difficulties have over you, shaping your day to day life, the lies you tell your loved ones, the constant need for control and to be better, even when recovery comes, it’s still in the back of your head, constantly resisting falling down the very slippery slope" - Grace 















"Making yourself feel guilty for eating." - Kay Ska














"Living with an eating disorder is like having someone else control your life. Your thoughts are not your own, your behaviours are not your own. Whilst you feel like you're in control, deep down you know you're not. There's actually nothing harder or more scary than admitting that to yourself. I've had various eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and OSFED for 10 years and I would do anything to have it all go away. But there's still a voice deep down that says 'don't be silly, of course you don't want me to go away'. I that's when I realise I have no control or power and it feels hopeless. It's not really about food, it's about control. It's not a glamorous illness, it's painful and tiring and depressing and soul-destroying. My relationship with my friends, siblings and parents have suffered. I can't even remember 6th form because it was so traumatic I've somehow managed to block it out. I genuinely feel like my youth was wasted, was lost, was thrown away, and no one else is to blame other than myself. I have qualifications in personal training and nutrition and I know what I'm doing to myself is counter productive and irrational, but I literally cannot help it. I can't stop. I'm addicted. It's an addiction to nothing: eating nothing, drinking nothing, feeling nothing." - Anon 








J x 





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