What Does A Day In The Life Of An Anorexic Look Like?

According to existing research, anorexia nervosa affects about 0.5 percent of young women (anorexia nervosa is very rare in men) in the U.S. Although it is a relatively rare condition, anorexia nervosa has the highest recorded mental illness mortality rate in the country. If left untreated, up to 20 percent of people with anorexia nervosa will commit suicide or suffer a fatal health complication. To put this in perspective, the mortality rate for anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the combined mortality rate of all other causes of death for women aged 15-24 years old. If an individual is able to receive treatment, the mortality rate for anorexia nervosa typically falls to between 2 percent and 3 percent.

If you’re shocked by these statistics, you’re not alone. Despite the staggering mortality rate of anorexia nervosa, the general public still faces an uphill battle in understanding and empathizing with the day-to-day struggles of a person with anorexia nervosa. In an attempt to shed some light on what it would be like to live with anorexia nervosa, this article will examine a fictional account of a young woman’s daily struggle with anorexia.

Before reading on, please remember that discussion around eating disorders (even fictional stories) can be a trigger for people living with these conditions. If you are recovering from or currently struggling with an eating disorder, we strongly urge you to consult with a dietary therapist before reading this story.

Morning

I wake up to the buzz of my alarm and immediately hit snooze. No matter how much sleep I get, I’m always tired. Despite it being the middle of summer, I have my bed covers tight around me. As soon as I get out of bed, the shivers begin. I stumble to the bathroom and force my aching body onto the scales. The number has barely decreased since yesterday, I guess I’m not having breakfast. Before showering, I take a peek at the mirror and mentally recoil at the pockets of fat still sitting on my thighs and hips. This is going to be a horrible day.

Midday

School is a waste of time. Even if I’m interested in a subject, I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. One of my classmates kept glancing at me with a strange look on their face, they probably think I’m fat. When I go to the cafeteria for lunch, I pretend I don’t see my friends waving and rush outside to pick at a salad. I spend the rest of my lunch break doing laps around the athletics track. By the time I go back to class, I’m a little bit dizzy and my heart feels like it’s about to beat out of my chest.

Evening

When I get home from school, my mom asks me if I’d like to go out for ice cream together. I lie and tell her I have too much homework. My mom looks downcast and says something about planning a surprise. I’m not really listening; all I can think about is what we’re going to eat for dinner. As we eat together, I keep trying to mentally calculate how many calories I need to burn and whether I’ll need to force myself to throw up in the downstairs bathroom. When dad asks me if I’m eating enough, I quickly reassure him that I am and that it’s just been a stressful week at school. After dinner, I try to do some pushups, but my arms feel like jelly. I finally collapse back in bed, pull the covers tight and set my alarm for tomorrow.

Sources: Monte Nido, Very Well Mind, Tabor Group, Mirasol
Photo: Pexels

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