I don’t like attributing my mental health to one singular thing. Because mental illness and diseases don’t always work like that. They are layered with many complex attributes with many things that cause or trigger them. However, Chronic illness has always played a part in my eating disorder.
Food and I always had a complex relationship, but after I had my second open heart surgery in between my freshmen and sophomore year I started losing weight. The more I lost weight the more in control I felt over my body.
Starving myself was never about being skinny
My whole life my sense of control was always being taken away from me.
I had my parents and doctors who told me what needed to be done with my body. I had scars from surgeries I didn’t know how to embrace. I was in high school where no one quite really knew what I was going through. My friends would joke about my illness and I would play along never going too deep into how I was feeling. Part of me didn’t even know how I felt, all I know is that I felt in control of my body and my life the more I didn’t eat.
As I’ve gotten older, I still fight my eating disorder and when my chronic illness gets more out of hand, I feel myself being pulled to bad habits. But I’ve understood that taking more away from my body isn’t going to give me more control over it. My body needs nourishment to survive. I held a lot in over the years, the more I talk about my experiences living with a chronic illness and how it has affected me on many levels the more “control” I feel over it. I’m no longer a passenger to my illness, to other people’s comments on my illness and I’m no longer afraid to take control over my health.