It starts out with the best of intentions. Eat better, exercise a little more.
All of a sudden, those good intentions have turned into an obsession. You look at the numbers, fixate on them. The number of calories eaten, the number of calories burned, and the amount of time exercised, the number on the scale, the number on the food scale, the number on your clothes. This number is only allowed to go one way, and that is down.
It doesn’t matter that you’re hungry. Not the type of hunger that you get between breakfast and lunch, but the gnawing, excruciating hunger that drives you mad, that you pray you can ignore for just a little longer.
Then there is the cold. From the inside out, you feel as though your organs are freezing. You wrap yourself in layers of thermals, jumpers, jackets, blankets, but nothing takes away that cold.
There is no sleep. It hurts to lie down. Your heart beats slow and shallow. You lie awake wondering: if I fall asleep, will I wake up? Do I want to wake up?
Your hair becomes thin and patchy, your nails weak, your skin dry, your bones ache. Yet, if you could just reach ‘that number’ on the scale, you’d be happy. But what is ‘that number’?
Personality, or lack thereof. You are no longer you; you have become consumed by your sporadic and patchy thoughts. You are distant, emotionless and humourless, a shadow of your former self.
You are trapped. Trapped in a body you hate, a body you think is failing you and a mind that no longer allows you to think or feel.
None of this matters. That voice in your head reminds you just how strong you are, how in control you are. That voice wants you to win. And the prize? Your life.
But what if you decide not to listen to that voice anymore? Well, it will tell you that without it you are weak, a failure. But the truth is you are so much more than a number. You are stronger for going against everything the voice tells you to do. Every day you will gain a little part of yourself back. It is hard. The hardest thing you might ever do. You will overcome some hurdles, and you will fall at others. But pick yourself up and fight, fight with every bit of energy you can muster. Fight for warmth, for sleep, for nice hair, for laughter, for life.