Self Expression Magazine

Eating Your Self

Posted on the 10 August 2011 by Sparklepanda @sparklepanda
When I was a kid, I was tall and skinny. My long legs meant I could run faster than any of the other kids and hence always won the 100m races at school.   My only body-image issues were related to the size of my boobs (bloody small) and my nose (big)
As I got older, my body changed shape, as it does when you're female, but I was essentially still tall and thin. The boobs and the nose stubbornly refused to change at all, sadly
I fluctuated somewhere around size 12-14 for all of my adult life.
Then at 32 my life imploded.  A Restraining Order to get my violent ex out of my house was followed a few days later by a sexual assault courtesy of two "friends."
What my traumatised brain did was amazing, truly amazing. Never underestimate the ability of your brain to fuck you over.
While everything around my in my life was out of control, my brain decided there was something it could control, and that was what went into my mouth. Or rather, what didn't. This was all totally subconscious. It wasn't until years later that I realised what I had actually done.
I didn't eat. If I felt hungry I had a cigarette. (I was smoking a pack of 25 36mg cigarettes a day) I drank alcohol, but not a huge amount. I took crystal meth. I took ecstasy. I smoked marijuana. (I am really not expecting to ever work again, obviously.)
When I was at home, which wasn't often, I would drink Multi-V Juice and eat an English muffin with raspberry jam and cream. That was it. That was all I could afford to buy, since my drug bill was so high each week.
In about 2 months I went from a healthy 70kg down to 56kg. From a Size 14 to a size 8.  
I didn't realise what was happening to my body until I had been at that game for about 7 months. I looked in the mirror, and I saw, really saw, what had happened.
The collar bones jutting out. The ribs clearly visible. My wrists, bony. My hips...god my hips...and my pelvis clearly visible, I looked like someone from a POW camp.
This realisation came at the same time as my creditors raised their hands and demanded their money; the money I had spent on drugs instead of giving to them. So instantly, the lifestyle had to change. I had to work. I got hungry and couldn't just smoke it away, I actually had to eat.
Two months later I met my husband. I look at photos from then and I am appalled at my appearance.  I still own a skirt that I purchased the day I met MonkeyBoy. I hold it up to myself now and cannot fathom the mind that thought it was ok for me to fit into that skirt.
What I think happened is this: I never looked at myself and thought I was fat, so it never occurred to me that I had an eating disorder. I never threw up my food, so I never had an eating disorder.  And I didn't strive to be like the waif-thin models that were - and sadly 10 years later still are - everywhere.
But there are more ways to have a disorder than just Bulimia and Anorexia. It doesn't just have to be about not wanting to be fat. And I want you, dear reader, to understand that. If I had known that, or others had known that, maybe there would have been some sort of intervention sooner, before it had serious health consequences.
There are more than just two ways to kill yourself by not eating.
My daughter is 3 this week. I already talk to her and my 5 year old son about these images, and describe the women as unhealthy, and how the images have been changed to make them look very different.
We have to start talking to our children about these things when they are so young to get the positive messages cemented in their subconscious so they never ever look at magazines images like these and think they are normal. So that they are happy with how their own bodies look.
What their brains do after that, god knows.  I hope their brains are kinder to them than mine was to me.
Eating Your Self

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