I loved these jeans. My first pair of expensive jeans I brought for myself at a time I felt better about my body. My size 12 (I promise this is all numbers you’ll get from me – but this one is kind of important) black high rise pins were a huge triumph for me when I brought them on a Melbourne holiday back in 2015. It was one of these: “Once I am at this size I will treat myself occasions…”
A lot has happened since that day and I grew out of these beloved jeans rather quickly, whilst battling my ever so secret eating disorder.
Fast forward into July 2018. Here I am after very difficult 6 months, the morning before returning into the hospital for inpatient eating disorder treatment. Ironically, this was the day I dared to get these jeans out of the back corner of my closet and they fit again. A former me would have been very excited and celebrated success and whilst I part of me still feels accomplished, I know that this came at a high price.
Today I know I am unwell and I know that going into treatment in my skinny jeans at a size 12 makes me as worthy of treatment as any other patient I will meet on the Eating Disorder program. Eating disorders are incredibly competitive and we all always thrive to be “sick enough” to deserve treatment. It is a never-ending self-destructive battle downwards. During my first admissions, I have always felt horrible about my body size and have been comparing myself to other patients. Trust me, I still feel bad about my body, but I am trying not to compare myself with others as much. For those ones of you who are feeling the pain of being a different size to other patients – it is ok!
Treatment and Illness is not a competition and there is no right way or size to be suffering an eating disorder, although the typical image of a person suffering is often displayed in the same way: A white obviously malnourished female.
Let me talk straight here: This is not always the case and the full picture does not always meet the eye. An NG tube or body size does not “verify” your level of illness. These horrible disorders can affect ANYBODY! It doesn’t matter what’s your gender, cultural identity, body size or heritage is. Physiological and psychological consequences are more often than not, very serious.
If you are feeling this pressure in yourself that you are not skinny enough to deserve treatment – please speak to someone about this. It can be extremely damaging and dangerous and trust me, from my experience co-patients are often not worried at all, they have their own battles to fight. You are your loudest and harshest judge.
I want to give you hope and encourage you to seek support – Yesterday I walked into hospital in my size 12 jeans and I have been in here for eating disorder treatment at larger sizes – It does not matter. You are worth the support of professionals to overcome your illness.
Have you been through a similar experience? Do you share these worries? I would love to hear from you!