I recall reading an article back in 1998 regarding the statistics of anorexic sufferers: 1/3 of anorexics will die of this disorder, 1/3 will relapse and a 1/3 will recover. I still remember the discussion I had with my counsellor at the time regarding this article, and it was also the same day I made a commitment to myself that I will not be of the lesser group, I will not die. But I can’t help to wonder whether I am completely free from this mental disorder? I still struggle with thoughts I have dealt with 10 or more years ago: thoughts that lead to insecurities, which leads to self-doubt, which inevitably leads to behavioural issues. Today was such as day.
A few of my work mates and I decided we will all contribute $5 and get pizzas for lunch. Great idea at the time as the anticipation of freshly baked pizzas fills me with utter contentment (I am truly a foodie!). We ended up ordering 4 pizzas, and a fish/chips/sausages/potato fritters combo. I am not a big lunch eater, but the aroma made my tummy leap with joy. I ate 3 slices of pizza and had a helping of beer batter fish, and I can honestly say I felt a bit queasy afterwards. I experienced heart palpitations (again) but most of all the discomfort and disgust I felt was daunting. I was trying my best to concentrate on the last 1½ hours of work I had left, but couldn’t help to think how easy it will be purging myself from this discomfort. I didn’t, and eventually as the afternoon wore on with its busyness, I soon forgot about my unsettling thoughts. Being a recovered anorexic and/or bulimic suggests that I have the coping skills to avoid acting upon dangerous triggers. But I am somewhat stuck on the implication that several thousand people will be trapped in an endless loophole of relapse.
In my opinion an eating disorder (no matter how it came about) is an addiction. Midst my 1/3, I was addicted to the countless hours spend on recalling what I ate, how much I ate, how to conceal and hide food, and how many times a day I purged. I was addicted to exercise as I spend most of my afternoon in the gym, before and after athletics and gymnastics training. I was addicted to the scale…shitlessly scared of it, but obsessed none the less.
Unfortunately this leaves me with more questions: are there similarities between different addictions? I have never met a recovered alcoholic to ask them how life is after completing their programs. Are they allowed to attend social events where alcohol is served? Are they themselves allowed to consume alcohol? Can they recognise their triggers and extinguish the desire to drink when in a stressful situation? Do they consider themselves recovered?
Or are we all just living life as a 1/3?