When I was 19 years old, I developed an eating disorder. I was a high-performing Ivy-league, division-1 collegiate athlete with severe body dysmorphia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia. I was in and out of outpatient treatment programs and therapy for years until I gained control of this evil disease that wreaked havoc on my self-esteem, body image, digestive system, and psyche. While I am no longer bulimic and have not been in 10 years, the disease is still triggered from time to time and it’s a battle that I must face each and every day. Now that I’ve been quarantined for over 50 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve unfortunately felt triggered once again and I wondered, “why now?” While I’d love to keep this to myself (as most eating disorders thrive in isolation), I’ve also thought, “I can’t be the only one with these triggering feelings.”
Eating disorders are difficult for a multitude of reasons, but one main one is that food is necessary for survival, and thus, a part of everyday life. Individuals with eating disorders must face their disease multiple times a day – morning, noon, and night. It’s exhausting. When you have an eating disorder, you look at foods as “good” and “bad.” You look at food as control instead of enjoyment or nutrition.