The plight of the atypical anorexic

Warning! Ranty and irrational post ahead.

I was feeling down this morning and couldn’t quite identify what was upsetting me. I’d felt so good yesterday, why was I now feeling bad? I was having a terrible food/body day – after feeling like I was ready to say goodbye to ED last night it reared back up and clawed its nails into me and was all I could think of.It persisted all morning until I went to the park at lunchtime.

On my stroll I saw a girl with anorexia. I know she has it because I know of her from the University and because I’m a pretty good internet stalker where eating disorders are involved (sad and creepy? absolutely) and plus she’s extremely thin at the moment. She was eating lunch in the park and I could feel something bubbling over me. After a while I identified it as being something along the lines of anger, or annoyance, or just general pissed-off-ness.

I’m annoyed that I have raging ED thoughts and yet I’m a healthy weight.

I’m annoyed that I only ate half my lunch before abandoning it because the change in food was too much, and yet I don’t look anorexic.

I’m annoyed that I’ve spent 20 years of my life feeling crap about my body and dieting and purging and exercising and yet I was never ‘too thin’.

I’m resentful that I went to the gym this evening even though I ached, and there were girls there who were far thinner than me and probably had eaten enough that day.

I’m annoyed that I have no ‘thin’ photos to look back on to compare how healthy I look now, as I was fat then and I’m fat now.

I’m annoyed that I eat less than what you’d think would be required to maintain and yet I still don’t lose weight.

I’m annoyed that I run twice as much as some of my friends yet they are skinnier and faster than me.

I’m annoyed that I do strength and resistance work consistently and yet any potential muscle is surrounded by flab.

I’m annoyed that even though I gave it everything- the restricting and purging and exercising- that I never got the results for it.

I’m annoyed I never got thin enough for people to insist I got help, so it was years and fully entrenched by the time I reached out, to then have a stupid psychiatrist say stupid things.

I’m envious of those who get to be the classic anorexic, even though I know that is a hurtful thing to say.

I just wish that at some point along my journey of illness to recovery that how I looked on the outside showed the terror that was going on inside. I wish that now I am fighting tooth and nail to be better that it would show on my body where I have come from.

I want people to know that my fear foods cause me real fear, that I exercise so much because I can’t eat otherwise, that I weigh out new foods, that I have to put the cottage cheese in the blue container and the yoghurt in the pink container because otherwise it’s just not right, that new supermarkets freak me out, that I can freeze in panic about the amount of blueberries I add to my porridge, that there I foods I will never eat without purging, that the anxiety about weighing starts 24 hours before it happens, that I avoid shopping because I don’t want to undress in bright lights, that I pinch my stomach and my arms every time I walk past a mirror, that I obsess over the biscuits in the cupboard two floors below me and I compare myself to everyone walking down the street. I want them to know how much bloody energy I spend on just getting through the day sometimes.

I want to be the girl on a park bench that people walk past and think- she must be anorexic. I hate myself for wanting that, but I do.






12 thoughts on “The plight of the atypical anorexic

  1. Yup. I’ve had a day just like this today. I’m glad of a least 4 hours of respite as I sink into my bed for some sleep. It’s torture at time and the thoughts are conflicting changing in hours. The mirror pisses me off, yet everyone I’m looking in. But still maintains recovery.

    The battle, these days will always present and the truth is what we do with them. Lean into the disorder or take the next meal. I choose the next meal because letting this win, means checking out of life in life’s terms. Okay, it helps with the painful stuff so we don’t feel but it also annihilates the good stuff so we don’t feel. We become numb and detached from our feelings and daily life. Yet it’s not our feelings that will kill but the action around them will. The tools we use because we fear we can’t cope are going to kill us in the end. Paradox. We then we lose things such as relationships, self-esteem and self-love.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is so much wisdom in what you are saying but the pissed off bit of me is just thinking it’s all well and good for you to say because you are thin, and that makes me sad that I’m a horrible person who will focus on that and not on that you spend time to support me. I’ll reply again tomorrow, as I know I can learn from what you’ve written. Sorry for being a jealous eating-disordered mess! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m totally butting in here to say that in my opinion you’re NOT a horrible person because your attention was hi-jacked and distorted by the fact that this poster is thin – you are a person with an eating disorder and your thoughts and ability to relate to others are distorted by an over-evaluation of weight and shape. This over-evaluation of weight and shape is a symptom of this mental illness which you are doing amazing, courageous, skilful and demanding work to heal from. You’re also smart enough to be aware of how your view is being distorted by the eating disorder – which is real and causing you suffering. You’re courageous enough to share how you honestly felt and you were conscientious and caring enough to apologise for the jealousy – but if you think about it – that is like having depression and apologising for not feeling excited or happy…
        xxx your healthy and rational and human-belonging self is in here too MQR – in the sadness you feel at having your thoughts and reactions hi-jacked by a disorder that tells your brain that being thin is extremely important… its not your fault though… sending you love and kindness and I hope you can do something nice to ease and honour that sadness xxx big hugs, Em


  2. Okay after a good nights sleep I can now thank you properly for your reply, and also check in about how you’re doing given you had a hard day?
    You’re so right that these days are going to happen and that it’s up to me to choose how to deal with them. I just want them to stop and for the thoughts to go away, but it doesn’t work like that. Feeling sorry for myself will not help me get to the headspace I want to be at. So I need to notice these thoughts, pull them outside of myself, twist and turn them and see them for they really are, then send them on their way. I choose the next meal too. We deserve more than this X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We all have these days of reflection and become angry, fearful and just flood with every emotion imaginable. Just because you did not reach a dangerous or low weight does NOT mean you don’t have an eating disorder. It is a MENTAL health disorder, one that cannot be seen sometimes and that is nothing to be ashamed of. We strive to be thin to cry out to the world and show them we are hurt and want attention subconsciously but that doesn’t mean everyone with an ED attains that. Whats important is to know where YOU are in your recovery and what YOU need to do to get better.Start to say positive comments to yourself, it takes work but I promise the more you do it the easier it will become! Keep pushing, stay strong and be kind to yourself ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel the same way!! I am also an atypical anorexic in appearance and it makes me so angry, spiteful, and very dangerously jealous. I’ve been informed that we are considered the most dangerous form of eating disorder because people overlook us the most; feed our disorder and write us off. Ummm ya we’ve both experience it!! We also are triggered more to prove we are just as sick like its a must demonstration to be taken seriously and to achieve the results. We have worse body image [body dysmorphia] and more anxiety issues related to that in an attempt to, again, compete, quench our thoughts, achieve, and stop the thoughts.

    I know how much I cry and lose it when I see people who, after their third time of not eating, drop instant weight. I had one chance. Then my body wizened up and now my metabolism bites me in the ass every fucking minute of the day.

    I hate it, I feel you, I validate you.


  5. It’s so nice to see you allow your emotions out on (virtual) paper. I realized on reading this that a part of that obsessive comparing has been removed for me, at least for now. Yes, as someone mention this is a mental illness but it doesn’t mean that it has to be an excuse. I’ve been endeavoring to put my zazen practice into practical terms so that when thoughts come up, I recognize them, label them and then let them go to whatever region of my mind they inhabit.

    For example, one that comes up more often than I’d like is ‘self-condemnation’. When I recognize it, and I do because of practice, I visualize a baseball bat and label it ‘bat’ which I equate with ‘beating myself up’. When my mind starts down that over-thinking rabbit hole, I see it, label it ‘thinking’ and move on. In the beginning I had to label it then label it then label it, etc. Since the mental obsession was rampant I’ve had loads of opportunities to practice, haha.

    It is so much harder when I am at the lower side of my mood so that is the aspect I am working on now. Negative outlook? self-pity – visual: a little girl having a temper tantrum sitting in a puddle of water.
    Me, me, me? self-centered thinking, aka arrogance – visual: queen Lexy

    Anyway, I see you recognizing your behavior and thoughts which has to be done first. I love watching your progress. Good for you!

    By the way, because of my muscles I never had that gaunt anorexic look, but then I never saw what I looked like to others. I did come across a picture of myself at my low weight and yikes! Interestingly the first thing I noticed was that despite smiling, I had a lost tortured look in my eyes. No one sees themselves as they are, not even normies, as I call them these days. Also, I recently heard an alcoholic speak about the difficulties of grocery shopping which was just like us, in early recovery. He would be so overwhelmed from too many decisions that he’d leave the cart right there and walk out. That was amazing because I thought that happened to just us. Apparently it is difficult with many addictions. I know anorexia is a mental illness but the behavior, for me, is addictive and that is how I deal with it. I used it to regulate mood and anxiety, just like every other person with an -ism.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Irrational annoyance – My quiet roar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s