Could You Tell If Someone You Knew Had An Eating Disorder?


Maybe you’d know something wasn’t right with me. If you’ve seen marks on my knuckles and cold sores on my lips, maybe you’d know. When I’ve said I have a stomachache, or my throat hurts, you might wonder. If you’ve never seen me eat lunch in the break room, you might guess.

Maybe you’ve noticed some quirks. My workout fads. My mood swings. My overreaction to defending women’s issues. Or, that I’m the only one who orders just a drink at a restaurant when we all go out. Maybe you’ve seen my pants too tight, then sometime later, like recently, you’ve seen them look like they’re falling off. If you’ve ever commented on my size, you’ve perpetuated it. When you tell me I’m small, it gives me a dangerous pride. Maybe you’ve questioned the days something is missing, when I don’t smile, the times I don’t hardly say anything, the days my eyes are red and dead. Maybe you’ve asked me why I seem sad, why I’m tired. If you’ve ever felt me disappear, you might know. I wish I could tell you why. I wanted to tell you why.

Maybe you’ve wondered, but never had the guts to ask. Maybe you thought I had an eating disorder, but didn’t want to believe it was true. Maybe you thought it was none of your business. Maybe you didn’t want to know.

But I wish you could. I wish I could tell you what it was like. I wish you could see my reflection in the mirror. I wish you felt the disgust and hatred that I do towards myself. I wish you knew the fear. I wish you could hear the jungle in my brain, the noise. If I told you I’m afraid to eat, you might not get it. You can’t see “fat” the way that I do. I wish you could witness the pity I feel when I stand back up and look at myself. The tears running down my face, the hypnosis leaving my stare. I wish you could help me clean up the mess, in every sense, and hear me say that I’ll never do it again, and tell me I’m right. I wish you’d tell me everything will be okay. We’d wish on my dreams together, however impossible they seem. I wish this wasn’t a secret. I wish you knew how dark this world is, how no one wants to be in it. I wish I could pretend it was okay, like others do. I wish you knew that I’ve been through so much worse than this. I wish you could see how strong I really am. I could say that I wish you were braver, more honest, but I’m not either. Because every time I make a promise to myself that this will soon be over, it’s not.

Because I still believe I’ll never be good enough. And I realized it’s not for you — it’s for me. I’ll never be good enough for me. If I could, I’d tell you why this has become my worth. I would tell you what it’d be like if someone stopped me, but no one’s ever tried. Because no one has enough power. And that part of me refuses to accept any other way than being sick. Even though I know, there’s nothing glamorous or okay about it. I keep going because it’s working. It’s winning.

I wish I could tell you what it’s like to have an eating disorder, but maybe you already know.

You see it every single day.

featured image – J. Thorn