It occurred to me that some of my readers may not have an accurate understanding of what AN is. I will provide you with two medical definitions:
- “Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.” nationaleatingdisorders.org
- “Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that is far below normal for their age and height.” mayoclinic.org
These are very broad, vague definitions. Please do not attempt to diagnose yourself. Weight loss and dieting in and of themselves do not indicate anorexia nervosa. There are several specific criteria that must all be present in order for a patient to be officially diagnosed with this disorder. I will tell you this: there is no way that you can diagnose someone with an eating disorder simply by looking at them. Physical appearance is not a criterion (the super-thin body shape often associated with AN is simply a side effect which may or may not be apparent). Only a mental health professional can make the diagnosis.
It’s not a beautiful disaster; It’s a cringe-worthy monster.
AN is not—let me repeat—it is NOT a lifestyle choice! NO ONE CHOOSES TO SUBJECT THEMSELVES TO THE KIND OF MISERY AND MENTAL TORMENT THAT AN EATING DISORDER CAUSES. The actions may seem voluntary, but the underlying cause and motive for those actions is not.
Recovery is a choice, though. And the right one, too.
I was going to include a list of personal definitions of AN that I had written in my journal during the early stages of my recovery. I even spent an hour typing it out, but I changed my mind. It was a bit too extreme and personal. I want to keep my blog light-hearted and optimistic. The focus is on positivity and restoration—not darkness and despair. But I’m glad I typed it out. It reminded me just how far I have come and why I never want to go back.
Don’t you always love that part of a road trip when you’re really far from where you started and really far from where you’re going?
I still have a bit of a journey ahead of me, but thank God I am not where I was before!
I won’t leave you empty handed. I love lists, and since that’s why I sat down at my laptop today, by George I’m gonna give you a list!
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:
- I am much more than a BMI, a number on a scale, or a measuring tape.
- Jeans are overrated. They shrink and the sizes are determined by drunk monkeys. [Can I getta amen?]
- I am made in God’s image; a precious creation, and I am loved and valuable.
- Recovery is hard, but it is possible—and so worth it.
And a Bible verse I keep posted where I can see it every day:
“You are altogether beautiful my love; there is no flaw in you.” –Song of Solomon 4:7
So this post isn’t what I intended it to be. That’s okay. I’m still figuring this out.
Please let me know what you’d like to read about in future posts! I have 4 weeks off from school and plenty of free time. Send me your questions or suggestions, or even just a random, crazy writing prompt that has nothing to do with anything.
This is a blog about recovery and hope and LIFE—not an obituary.