Before reading, please note that while this post was inspired by a true story, it is a fictional piece. As a gesture of respect, the author has opted to withhold names.
Though the diary entry below is not real, it is a reflection of a very real problem. Eating disorders are as complex as they are exhausting, and because no one individual’s personal struggle is entirely the same, it can be difficult to understand or even empathize with those that have developed an eating disorder.
Our hope is that by creating this mock entry in a way that feels authentic and relatable, we can provide just a glimpse of another person’s reality, or perhaps even translate into words your own. Because where there is compassion and introspection there is progress, but it all begins with sacrificing some comfort of your own to explore the face of the topics that are as heavy as they are unpleasant.
It’s 11:30 p.m. I’m tired, I’m so tired…but my mind is up, as is my body, sweating it out on my bedroom floor. You see, I just ate too much food and felt guilty. It’s what I call a late-night splurge session. That guilt has caused me to get out of bed and do push-ups and sit-ups, over and over.
Sweating, so tired…. The harder I work, the better I feel. Everyone compliments me for how I look. They don’t know what kind of personal hell I am dealing with on the inside. I’m frail, I’m tired, why do I care so much? Well, for one, it’s that cute boy that after four years finally took interest in me. My hard work is paying off. Or I thought it was. But now I feel like a slave. I feel like a slave to my thoughts. The thoughts that say “you’re worthless,” “you’re ugly,” “you’re so fat.” I believe them, I let them soak in. I let them be my master.
It’s 7 a.m. I just ate an apple for breakfast—an apple. I feel guilty. I’ve purged it on my first attempt. I’m getting pretty good at this thing. Too good, in fact. Faucet on, finger down throat just once. You see, I keep the faucet on so my mom can’t hear. It’s almost like I’m masking a murder, my own murder, a self-professed suicide. I know it’s wrong, I know. I’ve read the stories, know the statistics. Yet, I still do it.
As I sit next to the toilet after purging my 80-calorie breakfast, I begin to cry. I cry harder and harder. How did I get like this? Where did this come from? I’m too afraid to tell someone. I’m embarrassed. What if they put me in one of those clinics? What if I…have to gain weight? No, the mere thought of that makes me sick. No, I can beat this on my own. I can.
It’s 12:30 p.m., lunchtime. To most it’s the best time of the day, but to me it’s pure torture. Sitting there with my friends eating. Eating…it seems so easy. But it’s just too hard. The worst part is when someone asks me why I’m only eating what I’m eating. “Change the subject, change the subject,” my mind says. But all that comes out is “I’m not hungry today.” Phew, I avoided that today. When will they catch on? I’m NEVER hungry, or so that’s what my mind has now convinced me to believe. But deep down I’m starving. I just want to eat pizza like every other normal 17-year-old girl. I want to not worry about this. Why me?
1 p.m. and it’s back to class. You see, I wait to purge my small lunch until after class starts, to not risk others hearing. The girls’ bathroom is a place where rumors fly, after all. I don’t want my name going around as “Jane the purger.” So, just like every day, I ask my teacher as I walk in to class if I can be excused to use the restroom. He’s a guy, so he doesn’t question.
I usually pick the bathroom stall closest to the door. The reason? It’s usually the least used. In the four years I’ve purged, I’ve become an expert on bathroom cleanliness. I look and ask if anyone is in here. You know, can’t be too careful these days. WHAT AM I DOING? I’m so hungry, it’s beginning to hurt. The purging, believe it or not, gets worse the longer you do it. I’m a walking Wikipedia on this subject. They said it’s due to the acidity constantly being pushed up through your mouth. It’s disgusting, so I will save you the gory details.
It’s 3:30 p.m. I’m on my way to the gym. It’s my regular thing. Everyone praises me for losing the weight. I never thought I’d do it. Being what the BMI index says is “obese” sure does things to your mind…. Today my regime is the same as every day. Elliptical for an hour. Then stop…go to bike for 30 minutes, before back to elliptical for 30 minutes. You see, when you switch, nobody notices. Nobody ever notices.
My dad picks me up from the gym at 6:15 p.m. every day. “Looking good!” he says. He thinks it’s a compliment, but it’s just feeding my inner voice. That voice that’s saying, “Yes!” Keep at it! Keep pushing forward.
7 p.m., dinnertime. To me, the scariest part of the day. Every day I analyze this beyond belief. I analyze this more than I analyze boys, WHICH IS SAYING SOMETHING. Mom sets down whatever she’s cooked. My obsession with health has caused the whole family to eat healthier…silver lining? Tonight it’s grilled chicken, brown rice, asparagus and mixed fruit. As I dish up my food, my parents ask how my day was. “Fine,” I say, “nothing too exciting” (if only they knew the hell I went through). I ask to be excused from the table. It’s a different thing each night; sometimes I fake a cough, other times I ask to go do my homework early. Each night a different lie. My parents don’t suspect a thing….
Faucet on, purge, wash hands, rinse my mouth out, faucet off, back to the table. I do this twice. Once during dinner, once after. It’s just easier that way. Easier or harder? To me it all seems and sounds the same.
10:30 p.m., everyone is in bed. The coast is clear. My mind for the last hour has been transfixed on the Little Debbie snacks my little brother insisted on my mom buying. I want them so bad. Trying to sleep, but so hungry I head to the kitchen oh so quietly. I feel like a home intruder stealing stuff. It’s just so weird, yet oh so necessary. I head to the pantry and spot the Little Debbies. I pull the box down. “Perfect, it’s already been opened,” I say to myself. I grab one, rip it open and bite. The flavors, the feelings. It just feels so fantastic. Suddenly, I grab another, then another. Before I know it, I’m surrounded by wrappers. “Oh crap,” I think to myself…I quickly check the “facts,” as I call them, the nutritional facts. I’m an expert. I quickly realize I’ve just consumed 1,500 calories and more fat than I care to admit. A sick feeling comes over me. I have to purge, I have to work this out NOW!
10:55 p.m. Faucet on, purge, wash hands, faucet off.
11 p.m. I’m so tired. Yet I work. I work out hard. So hard, I start crying. I just wish my parents would find out. I need help, I know I do. Suddenly I get the urge to pray.
“Dear God, I can’t do this on my own. I’m messed up. This isn’t normal nor healthy. I need your help, please God, PLEASE.”
Do you find yourself reading the above and wondering if this is actually about you? Did you tear up? Do you think you suffer from bulimia or anorexia? There is help you can get, right now. It’s completely anonymous, too. We encourage you—in fact we URGE you—to get the help now. If you are ready to take the leap and get help, we’ve included a short list below of Christian ministries that will help you. Please, get help.
Think you have an eating disorder? Find out here if you have the symptoms.
Christian clinics you can reach out to for help: