Explaining the unexplainable
Mental illnesses are different for everyone, making them very complex to understand. There is no linear explanation. Someone who has never experienced one before can never truly appreciate or comprehend the mindset of someone struggling. Mental illnesses are often irrational. Conniving. Unreasonable. They make you think and believe things that are not true. They mix up your rational thoughts and become another entity that lives alongside of you, controlling what you do.
Anorexia Nervosa is a form of mental illness. It is characterised where people are of extreme low weight due to restricting food intake, over exercising or both. However, sometimes the physical symptoms of anorexia (eg; weight loss, amenorrhea, thin hair), come after the mental battle begins. Therefore, like many mental illnesses, being challenging to spot.
It is always hard to understand what someone is going through in their head. It is hard to know what to say and to understand why people do certain things. To someone with a rational mindset, you can’t imagine what someone with anorexia has gone through to reach the weight that they are.
So, imagine this. Imagine that you have come home from a long run. You are thirsty and can’t wait to have a big glass of water. When you get that glass of water, you feel refreshed and satisfied. You knew that you needed that glass of water. Needed it to live. You move on with your day.
Now imagine this. Imagine that one day you decide that you don’t deserve that water. Even though you are thirsty, you still think that you don’t need it.
Imagine that you get to the point when you can’t take it any longer, so you have a sip. Then you feel guilty. So now, you do what you can to compensate for that sip. Compensate by carrying out exercise. Not drinking for the rest of the day. Trying to get the water up again.
All done so that you feel like you deserved that one single sip.
But the obsession continues. You cannot stop thinking about what you drank. Thinking about every time you take a sip how it will affect you and what the bad consequences will be. Thinking about all the weight you will gain if you keep on taking a sip.
Eventually you become so fixated by water that you build rules around it. You can only drink at certain times of the day. Only drink when others are drinking. Only drink with a certain cup.
And when you do have the courage to drink, you get shouted at. By something in your head telling you that you did not deserve it. That you have lost control. So, you do what you can to quiet that voice. You don’t drink.
But for some reason, that voice in your head, controlling you, becomes your friend. It tricks you into believing that everything you are doing is for your own good. It makes you think you are better than everyone else because you can control yourself.
So, the longer the dehydration prevails, the louder the voices get. Leading you further down the hole.
Now. Imagine that, but with food.
That is anorexia.