Poem – Eating Disorder Mental Health Awareness Week

Eating Disorder 

I should have been one
but you made two
I was not me
But you were you

You had the voice
you were loud and strong
I had no power
but I knew you were wrong

You took my identity
my confidence battered
keeping control of calories
was all that mattered

It was never my choice
you were all my head
your voice telling me
if you eat they’ll be dead

It was never about looks
I didn’t want to be small
hearing I was
gave me no pleasure at all

You couldn’t handle surprises
last minute ideas
the unknown menus
bought on flurries of fear

You were my difficult ‘ex’
but not the one I regret
you scoped me as a person
learned lessons I won’t forget

You changed my behaviour
hurt those who cared the most
All because you could not
let me enjoy a slice of toast

You sat and listened as they said
“You’re too thin, you don’t look alive
You’ll catch a cold, and
there is no fat to survive”

Social occasions and meals
I wonder how many I didn’t make?
what excuse I came up with
to avoid a catch up and cake.

Did I say I was busy?
I’ll eat before I leave
Did I say thank you for a chocolate
Then hide it up my sleeve?

Yet your voice eventually weakened
The fear slowly subsided
The shame began to go
and in my friends I finally confide in

I know not all of you will leave
The numbers, figures and stats
what makes up my meals, all the
calories, proteins and fats

but I now feel mostly free
my self esteem began to climb
strange to believe there were
two of us, for that length of time.

 

As this week is mental health awareness week I wanted to share this as it was a part of my life I have always struggled to talk about until now. For some reason writing it as a poem feels less daunting, it’s definitely not my greatest few verses but it is the only way I have been able to articulate just how awful Eating Disorders can be. I actually wrote this poem back in November and couldn’t press publish, yet knowing there are many teenagers out there now fighting that same battle I had above makes me realise self-preservation and worrying what people will think often helps no one. If this poem can help just a number of people understand it is not always about being skinny, and the pure o thoughts with eating disorders can occur then I will have hopefully helped someone out.

There was a time when  eating socially filled me with so much anxiety and dread because I did not know how I could control the food situation. How I  could enjoy meals out and make my family happy without consuming more than 1000 calories that day it seemed impossible. It was a damaging period of eating and excessive exercise, becoming worked up if I sat inside not doing anything. This thankfully ended years ago and now I have a happy relationship with food and exercise. I exercise to keep my anxiety at bay and not my weight but recovery is not always that easy for everyone and friends or family members need a supportive no judgemental network of people around them. It is not easy but it can be overcome. I absolutely love eating out now, it is probably one of my favourite things to do, so if you are reading this feel like it can’t get better, it absolutely can, I promise you. 

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