Ani was my best friend.
Although we had been acquaintances for a few years prior, we became besties when I was in grade 9.
We did everything together. We created amazing food together (but never ate it), designed great outfits together and knew every stat of every 90’s Supermodel there was at the time.
It was an odd relationship though, full of tribulation from inception.
Grounded in co-dependent behaviours, conflict, control, secrecy, broken trust and a lot of pain, it was unhealthy to say the very least.
But I needed her and she needed me.
They way I met Ani wasn’t the way most people think you meet a close friend. It wasn’t conventional, the way things usually work…it wasn’t the ‘norm’, they said.
Oddly, it was that assumption of deviation from ‘normal’ that was the red flag, the bright beacon that even the doctors, psychiatrists, counselors and my family never picked up on that actually exemplified how sick I really was.
Ani was the illness that led me down a path to a mere 80 or so pounds at 5 foot five inches tall and a lengthy stay in the hospital as a young teen girl.
The professionals say Anorexia is complicated. And I guess in some ways it is…but also not really at all.
Having lived a large portion of life with severe Body Dysmorphia, Anorexia and also having had a decent career as a Bulimic, I can tell you that at the very root of stuff like that are things like; attachment issues, trauma, pain, abandonment, abuse, lack of control and mistrust.
Although some of the judged symptoms of Anorexia such as perceived vanity, obsessions toward jean sizes and calorie counting, excessive exercise, measuring, weighing and measuring some more, body envy of others and preoccupation with fashion are the ones that people notice most, they do not make someone sick.
Decently far enough removed from that hurting young girl I once was, looking back with my hindsight 20/20 there were many turns that could have been corrected with a few simple strategies, different questions asked and a bit more courage to speak up.
One day I’ll shed more light on this and write a ‘been there’ guide of sorts as to how to recognize the signs, the correct approach to take, things that don’t work and how to help and love on someone who feels extremely unloveable.
In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me if you struggle with this.