A little while ago, I was asked "what would you tell your younger self?" Gosh, that's a good question. Everyone starts out so innocent and naive, but the world changes you, it changes the way you think, the way you interact, the way you respond. When I first started engaging in eating disorder behaviors, I had no idea I was doing so. It just happened slowly, and over time it got worse, and snowballed. I was young, about 7 when I can first remember restricting. I don't think it was a conscious choice, more like an unconscious response and result of what was going on around me.
My little sister was born and the house I lived in changed. My parents changed when she was born. I guess I was mad about that. I was mad that I was treated differently. I don't know why I began punishing myself, through restrictive eating. It is hard to understand why anyone would do that in the first place. Eating is a necessary daily task. It doesn't matter how old you are, or what you do for work or leisure. The body needs food and fuel to survive.
It is intriguing to contemplate how a young child would use food as a way to cope with stressors. We all have stress, we all manage it differently, and stress teaches us something. Unfortunately, even without eating disorder symptoms, I still have stress in my life, but I don't cope with them through food. I have found other outlets, and other ways of working through them.
To my younger self: first and foremost, it's important to understand, nothing is your fault.
The Beyond Rules Recovery blog is written by people who are passionate about mental health and wants to spread the message of hope, resiliency, and recovery.