I’m not and have never been anorexic. This post is inspired by the fact that I’m making myself eat breakfast now although it’s lunch time. This hardly EVER happens to me now. Normally I am quite ravenous in the morning, day, and night.
Pre-Elementary school (as if anyone cares, no offense; but this has to be some boring shit): As a small creature, my mum was told I was “almost a failure to thrive” baby. Almost. But I wasn’t. So why did they freak her out like that?
Elementary school: I was a very, extremely picky eater. Certain textures made me gag upon touching with my finger. Like scrambled eggs. No foods could touch. Anything strong-flavored was a ‘no’. I would literally throw up if something was even mildly spicy-hot (not on purpose; just a gag reflex). There were very, very few foods I could eat because of texture aversions. My doctor told my mom that I was on the path to developing an eating disorder and to let me eat whatever I would eat willingly, no matter what, so that I wouldn’t learn a habit of avoiding food. My mum, for a brief time, allowed me to eat what I would eat back then: chicken nuggets and milkshakes. But if I touched even one piece of grisle while chewing, I would literally have to run to the bathroom to spit it out and pray I wouldn’t throw up (I was highly, highly emetophobic back then). Eating was scary in some ways.
Middle school: Two things occurred simultaneously. Firstly, I became extremely depressed. I could no longer feel hunger sensations. Eating was an unpleasant chore. I forced myself to eat while my mom was watching. I literally could not feel hunger signals. Secondly, I learned that if I ate a bare minimal at lunch, I could save up my lunch money to buy a pair of roller blades, which I’d priced out at $100. I would eat dinner when I came home. (I still have those roller blades somewhere…) Addition: I actually used to feel quite nauseous every morning.
High school: Here’s where the shit started. This is where I developed an anxiety for eating in front of other people. I was NOT anorexic but was Soooo often accused of it because I wouldn’t eat with people watching me. It was so humiliating to be accused it in front of my friends and other kids. I would eat PLENTY once I could sneak into a side hallway (but was typically chased out by the vice principal, since it broke school rules). I ate tons. I ate junk and WAY too many refined sugars. I suppose I was a bit obsessive with certain things, like I did always sponge the grease off my pizza with napkins before eating it. But I still ate it and enjoyed it. I didn’t weigh a lot but I ate a ton. I had a fast metabolism. I didn’t have much hunger first thing in the morning (I often felt quite nauseous in the morning), but always ate something sugary and bad for me (toaster stroodles, anyone? with extra icing?).
1st Year College: My metabolism changed drastically. I gained 18% of my body weight. I came back with high cholesterol readings. I ate a ton for every meal possible and often guarded my food, envisioning a savage wolf if anyone came near my plate. It was weird. My roommate (who later developed anorexia) said she felt sick watching me eat, and that didn’t phase me. I felt like every meal could be my last. I didn’t even care about drinking the tang with the ants floating around in it, sometimes alive and sometimes dead. My tastes and acceptance and even love of food expanded exponentially.
2nd Year College: Yeah, this year went to shit. Literally. In a whirlwind of ill digestive tract events (I’m STILL convinced I had Giardia after my canoe field trip, even if I tested negative a year later), it appears to have all boiled down to anxiety, stress, and suddenly severe (and previously unheard of) lactose intolerance. I had chronic, every moment diarrhea. I lost all of the weight I had gained the year before.
And THIS is when I came back from college and was placed on my doctor’s anorexia-watch list. It remained on the top page of my folder for a couple of years and was the first topic of interest in every meeting, in spite of the fact that it was completely false. After a couple of years, she must have finally believed me, because there came a time when I didn’t get faced with that upon walking in and didn’t have my weight obsessed over.
I was diagnosed with IBS-D then. Not based on any tests to rule out anything else (except the negative Giardia test), but based on my symptoms.
HEY! I almost forgot to add something really, really important!!!!! Thyroid medication! I went onto thyroid medication around this time and VOILA! Hunger signals! I would not feel hungry in the morning before this. Often, I would feel very nauseous in the morning. Then I would take the thyroid medicine, wait, and it would turn into hunger signals instead! I ❤ thyroid medicine, btw.
Pre-Marriage: Some year before (or maybe even during) marriage, I finally got so sick and tired of having to go #2 like 7 times while at work each day. (“There she goes to the bathroom -again-. What are you REALLY doing on all of these breaks…?” [believe me, you don’t want to know what’s really happening.]) I tried food-allergy testing and several foods showed up on the delayed-allergy testing. I avoided them religiously and I swear there was a brief time when my intestines were better…
Present Days: …But food allergies are tricky buggers. They can come and go. I could probably wean back on to certain foods I’ve now avoided for years, and I’m probably allergic to new foods in their places. But I don’t have the money to do more tests. Or it’s just the IBS-D. Who the hell knows. I imagine my intestines don’t help my exhaustion in ANY which way, though. Even during the day time, I often writhe around and shift positions to alleviate intestinal discomforts and pain. At night, when I’m not asleep, I often flip over many times as my intestines become uncomfortable if I remain in the same position for very long.
But. I was never anorexic. And I’m not at a low-end weight right now. I’m okay with my weight right now. I do wish some of this weight was muscle instead of the fat that it actually is (about 25% body fat), but yeah, I’ll work on that when I’m not so bloody exhausted all the time.