‘And I feel bad, ’cause I didn’t cry
When someone I grew up with died
But I break down-
Every time I’m on the scales.’
The above is a verse out of CMATs brilliant (& very catchy!) 2020 released song, ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
Despite the song being in no way whatsoever related to eating disorders, the lyrics written above resonated with me, as I’m sure they will do to many other people- people whom have also struggled with their body image at some point in their lives (which, let’s be real, is probably most women).
Why did they resonate with me so much though? Because, they mirror the very nature of eating disorders- all consuming and, when one reflects on them, wholly irrational.
So irrational are they that, when you’re in the grips of an eating disorder, you would most likely have the same reaction to discovering that you have put a bit of weight on as you would if you were told that someone you knew had just died.
Completely irrational. At least, in hindsight, anyway. In the moment though, when you’re so consumed by an eating disorder, gaining weight feels like the end of the world. In fact, to you, gaining weight IS the end of the world. So much value do you place on what you weigh/what you look like that, any changes to your appearance can, quite literally, as CMAT references in her song lyrics, lead to a break down.
It’s important to note, however, that, it’s easy to look back and say that eating disorders are irrational but, when you’re in the grips of one (an eating disorder), to you, it’s the most rational thing there is/ as black and white as; ‘gaining weight=the end of the world’, &, ‘loosing weight=the greatest achievement.’
In the same way that, when I was in the grips of my eating disorder I was unable to recognise how ill I really was/how visibly emaciated I was but, looking back at photos of myself during that time I can’t understand how I couldn’t have not recognised it, so too do I, looking back, struggle to understand how I could possibly have had such a skewed view of the world for so long/how I could’ve been so blinded as to what really matters in life…
As everyone says though,
‘Hindsight- it’s a wonderful thing.’
If every person recovered/in recovery from an eating disorder could’ve seen what everyone else could see when they were in the depths of their illness, then eating disorders would not exist. Unfortunately though, as is the case with a lot of things, its easy to see the effect that eating disorders have/have had upon looking back on them, but, it’s not so easy, impossible, even, to see in the moment…
And so, you see?
Hindsight- it really is a ‘wonderful thing’…