The nascent stages of my anorexia I experienced as almost fun. Not eating got me high.
Once I developed body image issues, I suddenly had goals! My very own goals, not prescribed by some outside agent but something I wanted to do for myself. I did not see that it was self-harm to which I aspired, or rather I did not believe what might come of the games I started to play. Some part of me must have recognized my goals as unacceptable to the outside. Seduced by the high from restricting and this promise of silent rebellion, I began my descent. And down I went until I could not remember a time before. Even when I knew it was horrible, I convinced myself it was for the best, that if I worked hard enough and was just patient enough and good enough, I would be perfect. I was married to this image of a pale little girl so lithe she leaves no footsteps in the snow. Once I got to perfect, everything would be okay.
When things were clearly not okay, I’d just restrict further to get high off of nothingness. Not only did this calm me down, but it brought me ever closer to my goals.
That is part of the sickness. Mental illness doesn’t mean you necessarily always feel ill. Remember the insurgence of pro-ED websites when the internet was a bit younger? Eating disorders were touted as conscious choice, a lifestyle which one ought to be free to practice autonomously. We can stop any time we want.
And so I went chasing impossible goals, believing that if I moved ever closer and one stood far enough away, my convergence on perfection might be glimpsed.