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Being that I have suffered from disordered eating for the better part of eight years, I would say that I have become nothing short of an expert on living with this psychological beast. And I have read quite a bit of lit on the disorder, mostly because of either malnourishment-driven obsession with the process of starving oneself or just a curiosity about what others' experiences are like. Most of what I have read talks about the core symptoms: a fixation on the number on the scale, calorie counting, guilt and anxiety surrounding food, and an intense fear of gaining weight. I have had a taste of all of the above and would vouch that the individuals I know who also struggle have, as well. But there are five symptoms that I have noticed are particularly strong for me that no one seems to talk about.
What is "mirror checking," you may ask? A lot of different things. It mostly manifests itself in me running to the bathroom hundreds of times a day to check the state of my physique in the mirror. But it also comes in the form of keeping my eyes glued to shop windows as I pass them and giving myself the once-over whenever I pass a reflective black car.
Randomly trying on my smallest clothes in the middle of the day.
I can't bring myself to part with my smallest jeans, and as weird as it sounds, I find myself feeling compelled to drop whatever I'm doing, retreat to my room, and try on my "skinny clothes" just to see if I have lost an infinitesimal amount of weight that makes them fit better than they did the day or even several hours before. It doesn't make sense to a mentally healthy person. Most people try on the slimmer jeans in their closet in the morning if they plan on wearing them for a day, but for me, there's this odd ritual of measuring whether I have shrunk using my jeans as a litmus test.
Panic attacks over food.
Sometimes when I am restricting, it isn't because of sheer willpower. I have gone through many periods where I could not physically make myself eat because I would upchuck it the moment I choked it down. It is particularly difficult to go through this when am trying to make an effort to start eating a healthy amount. This anxiety comes on at random and makes recovery that much more challenging.
Constantly checking out other girls' thighs and stomachs and comparing them to my own.
On a subconscious level, whenever I'm out and see another girl, my eyes instantly scrutinize her thighs to see if they are slimmer than mine and check her stomach to see if it is flatter than mine. It's a ridiculous habit because everyone is built differently and some girls are much taller than me or have a different body type and realistically I can't measure the circumference of their thighs or torso and then measure my own. But nonetheless I can't stop comparing myself to other girls--it's just an automatic reaction.
Feeling anxious if I don't weigh myself completely naked.
Even if I am stripped down to my bra and underwear, I always feel like that .02 pound difference that my sparse amount of clothing tacks on is monumental. Sometimes I have gone so far as to take my hair out of a ponytail for fear that the scrunchy will up the number on the scale. When I told my ex-boyfriend that I do this, he was shocked and had to clarify that I wasn't wearing anything weighing myself because he found it so out of the ordinary. I never realized that doing this was taking things to an extreme. I currently don't own a scale, which is probably for the better, but I still dislike going to doctor's offices to get weighed because I feel like the digits aren't accurate enough.
EDs as a whole have a tendency to make one develop some habits that are questionable. What is the weirdest thing your eating disorder has made you do?