I was a depressed bulimic.
And for some time, that’s all I was.
My identity was smothered with this thing; this deformed creature. It had its claws clasped around my body, my thoughts and even my relationships.
For a year or so, trying to control it was pointless. Everything I applied myself to, the creature took control of, sinking its jaws into anything I used to love.
Evening was the time for excessive food; I felt myself gorging and stuffing my throat with chocolate, biscuits, cake… Anything the voice could get its hands on. In a single sitting, up to 5000 calories would be gorged. Just like that.
The morning after was always agonising. I would crawl out of bed with a painful, aching body, determined to restrict as much food as I could get away with. Of course this never worked; I’d be raiding the cupboards again within hours.
This binging-restricting cycle was exhausting; spiralling my emotions to extreme highs and lows, and creating more and more disgust for myself. Every morning was a battle with my reflection to find something, anything attractive.
Depression felt like a heavy weight upon my entire body. Every limb ached not just from the binging, but moreover from the shear effort to continue with every day life. I became weak and tired just from walking for 15 minutes, or merely folding up tables at work. Small things like brushing my teeth or getting dressed were activities I desperately wanted to avoid, all because I had to look at my reflection.
But I was lucky. Close friends and family saw the signs, and I started therapy after a failing to cope by myself.
The creature is still there now, even after therapy. I still struggle in social situations, get upset when a friend doesn’t eat much food and some mornings cannot get out of bed.
But the process of calling this illness an animalistic thing, for me, helps to separate my own personality from from it. The creature is something separate to myself; something that I can hold at a distance or draw closer according to my thoughts and behaviour.
Sometimes it goes as far away as the corner of my eye, and I can get on with life without worrying about food or low moods. And yet sometimes it clasps itself back around my head, leaving me crying in a ball on the floor after a low essay mark or struggling to do the simplest of tasks.
But this is what I am slowly learning to accept. Pushing away that creature does not make you a failure. Nor are you any weaker than anyone else. Illness is not weakness; it is cruelty.
I am a depressed bulimic. And the creature will always be there to some extent.
But I will never stop pushing it away.
It will not take my life away from me ever again.