#MyStory: Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

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**This article contains some content that might be distressing. **

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My eating disorder seemed to start off as Orthorexia, which is an obsession with “clean eating”. This is where you are more obsessed with how pure and natural a food is, rather than how much you eat. I disguised my eating disorder through veganism, as a way to attempt to eliminate more food out of my diet without it being judged.

I started being vegetarian when I was 8 which did have honest intentions and my reasoning was around the idea of animal rights. However, my veganism was more to do with my weight. It all started to get worse around the age of 15, with feeling the pressure of succeeding at school and feeling like a social outcast, the amount I ate was the only thing I felt I had control over in my life. I would experience symptoms from Orthorexia and Anorexia plus binge eating which would come under EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

Photo credit: Photo Credit: Christy Mckenna via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Christy Mckenna via Compfight cc

Something that also contributed to my eating disorder is my gender dysphoria. The shape of my body makes it easier for someone to recognise me as the gender I was assigned at birth, if I was thinner I would have a more androgynous appearance. There were times where I would obsessively look through Tumblr and Instagram at images of thin people. There were times when I tried to use body positive blogs to fight my eating disorder, although it helped a little, the eating disorder was always underlying. I obsessively looked through magazines, books and the internet for the latest way to speed up my metabolism. There were times I ate so little it messed up my body so I would be in too much pain to go to school.

During my late teens, I was in a relationship with a boy with an eating disorder a lot worse than mine. I did my best to be there for him but it was difficult when he wouldn’t let others help him. Being with him had his pros and cons, at times it motivated me to get better seeing the state he was in and other times it made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough to lose weight because he’d take more drastic measures. One Christmas when I stayed with his family in Sheffield, I experienced extreme pain whilst walking. I was very panicked that I would have fibromyalgia, arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome. It turned out to be just severe Vitamin D deficiency. When I went vegan, the only things I was warned about was Iron and Vitamin B12. Being deficient was quite a shock. Even though what my body was very mild in some respect, I was in so much pain, I would struggle to walk up stairs without taking a break or walking down a street would be too much. It got so bad I had to quit college. I would be put on Vitamin D tablets and I had to be cautious with my physical activity. This distressed me intensely because that meant I would have to give up exercise until my joints improved enough to start again.

Photo Credit: ncheng93 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ncheng93 via Compfight cc

I’m now 24, and I can’t restrict my food as much or exercise too much without my legs turning to jelly, being faint or dizzy or feeling faint and dizzy so much that I panic because I feel I’m going to blackout in public. Within the last 6 months I’ve tried WeightWatchers & Slimming World to control what I eat. Slimming World made me binge eat more so it wasn’t for me, and I found Weight Watchers too difficult. The idea of having diet coke over juice because it has less sugar really messes with my head. With both, I struggled with the meetings due to severe anxiety about discussing what I ate.

This year I turned ex-vegan and started eating chicken, fish, egg and dairy products. It helped for a while to not have that restriction but the guilt of eating all these animal products has gotten too much so now the only animal and animal-by products I’ll have are fish and egg, which is my compromise between not going full vegan but not eating as many animal or animal-by products. This is a very recent change and I still have to be cautious with it, to ensure that my eating disorder doesn’t take over. I am attempting to attend the gym regularly and eat healthy food regularly but not religiously. I am attempting to get better.

People with eating disorders can be quite different to each other, some are home bound, some will eat out with friends but not eat at home, some get hospitalised, some try to disguise their disordered eating saying they are trying to be healthier, some can’t eat in front of others, some can’t handle others eating in front of them, some use pro ana sites, some will avoid making friends to avoid food, some can’t handle being offered food, some are men, some are transgender, some are very good at hiding their habits, some get caught easily, some will ask for professional help, some don’t feel ready for it even when they need it most.

They also can be any age, they can be thin, slim, fat, obese. An eating disorder isn’t looking skinny, it’s a mental obsession with food.

A person may look like they’re eating regularly, but you have no idea what’s going on in their head.


Want more info? Check out these pages:

Mental Health

LGBT+

An info page about Eating Disorders is on its way soon. If you’d like to help us write it, get in touch.

If you need to talk to someone today, you can always chat to Meic.

Open 8am — Midnight, every single day. Phone: 080880 23456 // Txt: 84001 // IM: www.meic.cymru


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