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Let’s Get Personal: Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

April 15, 2015

If you don’t want to talk about eating disorders, now’s the time to click away. 🙂

This is the first in a series of posts where I talk about myself. Physical health, mental health, relationships, etc. You know… ‘Getting to know youuuu…’ and all. 😀

From about ten to twelve years of age, I learned to hate my body. Not because my mother or father told me I was fat and ugly, but because of other children, other parents, doctors, and even my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. For most of my teenage years, I heard, ‘You’d be so pretty if you just lost 5lbs’ from family, and ‘I’m sorry, Mrs. Moses, your daughter must be sneaking food if she isn’t losing weight on the diet you put her on.’ It also taught me to hate food. In my young mind, if I didn’t eat, I could lose those 5lbs and those doctors would stop telling my mother I was a liar. So, I began restricting. For a while, if I had to eat in front of people, I would then go purge, but I didn’t like doing that.

I got pretty good at avoiding food, moving it around on my plate, and hiding what I didn’t eat. Despite trying, I never really lost as much weight as I feel I should have. When I got married and started trying to have kids, I was told I was just too fat to have babies. Lose weight. My joints hurt? Diagnosis: fat. I was tired all the time? Diagnosis: fat. I never menstruated? Diagnosis: fat. It was heartbreaking and dehumanizing, and so I kept restricting. I restricted, but rarely lost weight. Even when I did, it was never enough.

But, in the ’90s and 2000s, I wasn’t allowed to be labeled anorexic. It didn’t matter that I qualified for the diagnosis, that I had all the behaviors and mental anguish that came with the eating disorder. I was denied proper help because my BMI (which is a whole other rant on the bullshit that is the BMI) wasn’t low enough. Thus, I continued to go without help, damaging my body and mind every day while the doctors’ reinforced my self-hatred and bad habits.

However, when the DSM-V came out, there was a name finally for what I suffered with. For what I’d been struggling with for over 20 years.

Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

I did have anorexia. I may not have had the low BMI, but I had a problem. I had a disease. A social disease, quite frankly. But once there was a name, suddenly there was help.

In this world, it’s so important to fit into boxes. Insurance companies and doctors like being able to pigeonhole you, and if they can’t, you can slip through the cracks. I did. For decades. But not anymore. The medical community gave me the disease–because I didn’t have issues with food until they insisted over and over I had to be lying if I wasn’t losing weight–and now they gave me a name. A box to be ticked.

I still struggle with it every day, but now I have to struggle against public opinion, too. The number of times I’ve been called a liar, and the number of times my partner has had to defend me against would-be concern-trolls, is insane. I heavily restrict my food, I obsess about the food and calories I consume, and I obsess over any increase in the number on the scale. Weight and body image consume my life. Yet the media pretends we don’t exist. Fat people with eating disorders OTHER than Binge Eating Disorder simply don’t exist to the general world.

It’s horribly dangerous to ignore a whole swath of people who struggle every day with food simply because they’re fat. It’s why the OSFED classification was created. And no, doing anything–absolutely anything–to be thin, including dying, is not healthy. It’s not right. It’s taken me years of therapy to understand that, even as I still fight with myself every day.

I’ve discussed eating disorders and being fat in a few Tumblr posts:
We are prescribing for fat people what we diagnose as disordered eating in thin people.

Atypical Anorexia Nervosa

My awesome partner’s rebuttle to a reblogger who thought I couldn’t be anorexic ’cause I’m fat and should have listened to a cruel doctor who cared more about my fat than me as a person (who, I later learned from my dermatologist’s nurse who used to work for that doctor, is a woman-hating douche bag who likes to give sub-par care to females).

Fat people suffer from eating disorders. I’m a fat person who lives with one every day of her life. It’s hard, and it’s harder than it has to be because the world in general just thinks I should put the fork down and shut my mouth when the exact opposite is necessary.

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