The most common element surviving ALL Eating Disorders
is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.
It is not easy to understand a person suffering Anorexia. People living with
the illness often have a low self-esteem and a tremendous need to control
their surroundings and emotions. Quite often the Eating Disorder is a unique
reaction to an array of external and internal conflicts, such as stress,
anxiety, and unhappiness. Anorexia is a negative way to cope with these
"...starvation fills a void inside when it's approval from you I crave. The
desire for food is gone and you are there again... yelling... so negative.
Times like this filled with the pounding urge to run far away and
The person suffering with Anorexia may be abnormally sensitive about being
perceived as fat, or have a massive fear of becoming fat -- though not all
people living with Anorexia have this fear. They may be afraid of losing
control over the amount of food they eat, accompanied by the desire to
control their emotions and reactions to their emotions. With a low
self-esteem and need for acceptance they will turn to obsessive dieting and
starvation as a way to control not only their weight, but their feelings and
actions regarding the emotions attached. Some also feel that they do not
deserve pleasure out of life, and will deprive themselves of situations
offering pleasure (including eating).
Some of the behavioral signs can be: obsessive exercise, calorie and fat
gram counting, starvation and restriction of food, self-induced vomiting, the
use of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics to attempt controlling weight, and
a persistent concern with body image. It is not uncommon for people
suffering with Anorexia to waver through periods of Bulimia (binging and
purging) as well.
"... lost in the darkness of my own circumstance, criticizing echoes leaving
me awake in the night...
the barrier and blockades that keep me safe and in control while I pretend
that I am okay... "
It is important to point out that there can be a number of ways a person
suffering from Anorexia can portray their disorder. The inherent trait of a
person suffering Anorexia is to attempt to maintain strict control over food
intake. In a number of cases a man or woman suffering will seem to eat normal
meals with only periods of restriction. Anorexics are sometimes known to eat
junk food, particularly candy, to drink a lot of coffee or tea, and/or to
smoke. They may deny hunger, make excuses to avoid eating, will often hide
food they claim to have eaten, use diet pills to control appetite, or attempt
to purge the food away with self-induced vomiting, or by taking laxatives.
"...Emotions control me... make me hide in a safe place of silence.... my
mind stays distant from what my heart feels. If I say it... it's real... so I
say nothing. I can't touch it... if I did I would curl up or crumble.
I may seem to be made by heart of stone.... but really just chalk... and I'm
afraid to face the possibility that I could easily turn to dust..."
BOTH ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA
There are many similarities in both illnesses, the most common being the
cause. There seems to be a common occurence of sexual and/or physical and
emotional abuse in direct relation to eating disorders (though not all people
living with Eating Disorders are survivors of abuse). There also seems to be
a direct connection in some people to clinical Depression. The eating
disorder sometimes causes the depression or the depression can lead to the
eating disorder. All in all, eating disorders are very complex emotional
issues -- Though they may seem to be nothing more than a dangerously
obsessive weight concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering
with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.
"......the only blame I cast is on myself ...for wanting the happiness I
...and still now, can't believe I deserve... "
The following is considered the "text book" definition of Anorexia Nervosa to
assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis... it is in no way
representative of what a victim feels or experiences in living with the
illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from Anorexia even
if one of the below signs is not present . In other words, if you think you
have Anorexia, it's dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think "I
don't have one of the symptoms, so I must not be Anorexic".
Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age
and height (e.g., weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight less than
85% of that expected; or failure to make expected weight gain during period
of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected).
Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced,
undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the
seriousness of the current low body weight.
In postmenarcheal females (women who have not yet gone through menopause),
amenorrhea (the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles).
Restricting Type: during the current episode of Anorexia Nervosa, the person
has not regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e.,
self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas)
Binge-Eating Type or Purging Type: during the current episode of Anorexia
Nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in binge-eating OR purging behavior
(i.e., self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or
"...the reflection staring back at me is not what you see... my guilt
running the need to destroy my duration...
forcing me to seek guidance on an empty plate of stolen dreams and fractured
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