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Ana is not a friend

There were two of me – there was Ana (the anorexia) and then there was the real me. I felt like I was being controlled by Ana, and the more food I ate the more my own personality came back. However, the more I ate the more Ana guilt tripped me: ‘Now you’ve eaten that, there’s no possibility of you ever being thin again.’ It was a constant battle of pleasing this ‘thing’ that was controlling my mind and the way I thought – it was a power struggle. I remember walking to school and realising that I physically couldn’t walk anymore, my heart felt that exhausted that I thought it was going to stop at any moment. It was at that point that I knew that If I didn’t eat, I was going to die, and to eat was the most frightening thing in the world. That is why I needed someone to do it for me, control my eating so that I wasn’t the one competing with Ana anymore, and as much as I hated it at the time, it saved my life.

It was easy for me to say that I understood the consequences of not eating... It was easy for me to say that I would get better… but actually doing those things was not easy. It was the fear of losing control that made me go to extreme lengths to make it appear that I was beating Ana, but in actual fact, it was Ana that was beating me. Anorexia was the only thing I was able to control in my life, but at the same time, I enjoyed someone else taking control, whether that be my parents or doctors – it took the pressure off me because I had no other choice. Anorexia was something that I was good at. I never stopped eating, therefore death was never a reality; I ate the bare minimum, therefore I did not realise what all the fuss was about – I was not ill.

Even when told I had two weeks to live I thought it was a lie – death was something that would not happen to me.

I don’t know whether anorexia ever fully goes away, but I do know that there is more to life than anorexia and that it has made me a better person. It taught me how to love my life and brought me closer to my family. When I get asked why I decided to starve myself, I can’t pinpoint a reason; I don’t understand the illness myself so I don’t expect anyone else too. When I look back to the time when I was ill, when I thought that anorexia was a part of me, a friend maybe, I just see a girl possessed. When you have anorexia, you are not fully alive – something else takes over. No one chooses anorexia, or wakes up one morning and decides not to eat. Anorexia chooses you – that is the reality.

Contributed by Jodie