In 2014, I was completely submersed in the depths of Anorexia Nervosa. I bought, prepared, cooked and presented all my food. No one but me could do this for me. I had to do it. I sat each night and planned my meals for the entire next day. I see now it was a control thing – and that’s one of the key factors in an eating disorder. A lot of people – probably the majority of people – with eating disorders have perfectionist or obsessive personalities. I have both.
An hour ago, my grandma offered to make me a burger with fried onions. To this day, I still cook my own food. On a rare occasion, I hand the control over to somebody else. I was mulling over this idea of my grandma making me tea; feeling slightly out of control and anxious. Memories of 2014 came rushing back to me.
I remember coming home from college one day and having a complete breakdown on the kitchen floor because my mum had thrown away the salad I had leftover from the night before. She said the salad was going off, and it probably was. But in my state of mind, every leaf and crumb of that salad had been calculated and counted and written into my food journal. It had been planned into my head as my dinner for that Tuesday night, and then all of a sudden that control was ripped right from underneath me. It’s just a salad – I know that now – but back then it was so much to my mind and to my life.
Another time, my stepdad had added milk to mashed potatoes alongside the small blob of butter I’d already counted. I was screaming and crying for a good half hour; refusing to eat it.
It’s a strange thing: control. My whole life was based purely on control. Controlling my food allowed me to feel like I was controlling at least something when the whole world around me was falling apart…
I’m still obsessive. I’m a perfectionist. I like to be in control. Though, its a much different type of control to what it was back then.
This control allows me to let others take over sometimes and tonight I’ll eat that burger and onions knowing that I’m further than I was before.