The cost of anorexia (physical)

My stomach gave way this morning.

It is a strange source of inspiration but I’m taking it as a sign.

I can’t afford to be prudish at a time like this.

It’s all very well viewing the possibility of death as a medical scare tactic; but you never reach the destination immediately – there’s lots of steps along the way. Nature doesn’t take much notice of the it’ll never happen to me approach.

And, whilst Anorexia may start out as an artificial anti-ager, you might as well press fast forward on the aging button: I may have looked like a child but anorexia has transported me straight to geriatricity.

It’s just taken a while to see this.

Osteoporosis. More common in the elderly. Diagnosed at 19.

Hair growth. Like a gorilla. Cheeks, back, arms and stomach.

Skin. Dry, grey, bleeds easily in cold weather. As do the lips.

Body temperature. Off the scale. Don’t even bother getting a summer wardrobe because you’ll be wearing tights under your trousers all year long. In winter, you’ll also be paying a fortune in central heating and getting up at 6 instead of quarter past so that you’ve got time to put the layers on.

Bone burn. Excruciating. Expect to wake up screaming if you roll over. Expect to find sitting down for long periods of time unbearable. Expect to look too sharp for people to want to touch you.

Internal organs. Wasted. They give way. You can’t control it.

Periods. You’ll save a fortune on tampons. But also feel incredibly left out – particularly when your peer group all start getting pregnant. And even more so when you realise that you might want a family one day too.

Heart. Like the organs. Wasted. As you’d expect, less reliable than sturdier tickers.

Getting ill. Happens less. Lasts for longer. Is a lot more dangerous. And hurts like hell if your ribs feel like they’re about to shatter every time you cough.

Have I said enough?

And these are only the bits that I’ve had – I’m sure the medics can list more.

Learning that I am infallible has been a pretty hard lesson.

It’s come, hand in hand, with regret.

There are things that I’m doing to make it better, to repair some of the damage. But there are no guarantees. There’s only a small voice that wishes somebody had told me at the start.

Or that I had actually listened.



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