Amy McCorkindale - Eating Disorders are mental illnesses
The worst part of my eating disorder is that I did not fear death. Strangely the best part of my life now is that I love to be alive. All that matters now is that I am finally happy, healthy and content with my life & for me that is an achievement like no other. Recovery made me recognise how abnormal my mind & fears were to my family & the people trying to help me. These thoughts were all fuelled by my eating disorder & I hated people telling me that, or at least the eating disorder didn’t like to hear those words.
There is a fine line between ‘Disordered Eating’ & having an ‘Eating Disorder’. I would definitely say that at this time and day, disordered eating is an epidemic. It is sadly so easy to develop an unhealthy relationship with food within the current state of the worlds chitter chatter. Developing an obsession with calorie intake, food groups, what and when to consume it, when/how/what will you do to burn it off & how far will you go to make sure you do? The media is guilty of fantasising over all these ‘weight loss’ strategies and ‘gym obsessions’, I bet that you (who’s reading this) know at least 3 people who obsess over the gym or what they eat.. & that it’s their main topic of conversation.
The media has constructed this world of perfection that a lot of people feel they need to be apart of. Everyone is pressured into striving for perfection in all aspects & everyone is so unaware in recognising this oblivion. What even is ‘perfection’? A perfect body? A perfect mind? Perfect grades? Perfect life? This term ‘perfection’ has brainwashed everyone to the point that they start to lose themselves. When you attend a funeral for a fellow lost one, do people talk about what body they had? Their grades? How happy they looked on social media posts? How many friends they had on Facebook? They talk about their personality that made them who they were, their achievements in life in general and struggles they overcame, what made them so different and individual compared to every single other person in this world. How, even what we regard as their flaws and imperfection made them so perfect the way they were & how irreplaceable they are. There is no such thing as ‘perfection’ otherwise we would be clones and not humans or our unique selves. However people use this word as a goal to gain a sense of control when everything else feels let loose. Or they harm themselves from feeling far from perfect & societies expectations.
These feelings develop into mental illnesses.
For me, my eating disorder was my control. Although there are ‘types’ of eating disorders, they all follow the same principal which is to control input & output of food as a coping mechanism to the stress and anxieties we have in everyday life. The only thing separating these eating disorders are the ‘disordered eating’ behaviours. Other than that they are all just as deadly as each other which can severely harm at any weight. The only way I got to where I am now are the people around me. No one was aware that I had an eating disorder even after two years of suffering.
My text above is about my mind being the eating disorder, that is what an eating disorder is. They are too complex to put into a short sentence so that people can define them from a dictionary (such as the blood boiling P.E GCSE textbooks!).. I didn’t even need to mention solid facts such as my weight or my blood tests, you see the diagnosis of an eating disorders does not settle at physical symptoms... they are a mental illness. The only way of getting through one is to having the right support around you. Eating disorders are a form of self-harm & long term suicide that are very easily masked, hence why it has a higher death rate. I can only hope that people start to develop their understandings more on these mental illnesses from a mental perspective rather than basing upon physical appearances so that they can start to notice all the warnings much earlier.