My Eating Disorder: Not a choice, but a lack of control


I’m not entirely sure what the general population thinks about eating disorders. Like most mental illnesses, they’re not usually talked about. And when they are, they’re mainly glamorized, used in the wrong context, or viewed in a negative light. Some see these illnesses as tragically beautiful. Others single out naturally skinny women and label them anorexic. People make crass speculations like: “It’s a choice” or “It’s just for attention.” I truly hope that most people don’t believe these toxic assumptions. But I suppose for some, it is still a question of how and why people find themselves with eating disorders.

Quite obviously, I can’t speak for everyone. But I can explain why I think I became anorexic.

Was it my choice?

In short, no.

I did not choose to grow up in a society where women are told they’re only beautiful if they index.jpgare thin. My family also propagated these ideas. With a sister ten years my senior, I was exposed to dieting from a young age as I watched her try every restrictive meal plan in the book. My mother would always mention that after her divorce, she dropped below a hundred pounds. My aunt would then respond by saying how pretty she looked then, until she met my father and gained all the weight back. My father would describe gorgeous women as being “a hundred pounds soaking wet.” And so, I began to see being skinny as a sign of strength and beauty.

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Finding My Voice


Growing up, it was always made clear to me who my superiors were. I was aware of them, whether they acknowledged me or not. In work situations, I would put my head down and follow instructions in order to gain their approval. I would not complain or whine, I would just do. If they acknowledged me, I spoke little; addressing them with utmost respect and never boring them with more than they needed to hear. I would be invisible.

My childhood upbringing solidified this idea that I was, and am, invisible. As a child, I was bullied ruthlessly by a boy who I thought was my friend. I had no idea why – if I had done something to him, I was completely oblivious to it. But deep in my heart of hearts, I knew that I did nothing wrong. In his mind, I was in his way at all times, and he didn’t like that. In fact, he didn’t like me at all.

I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone that this was happening. Realistically, what could my friends have done to stop this guy from passing around a list of reasons as to why I was a slut? I didn’t even know what the word meant at 11 years old. When I did try to discuss it with my teachers, it seldom proved helpful. “Don’t let him get to you, just keep doing your own thing,” they offered. “There will always be tomorrow.”

But with every tomorrow, I was faced with the same taunting, pushing, shoving and name-calling. All of this torment followed me into high school as my bully grew in popularity, and I faded into obscurity.

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By CHelsea ricchio

Originally posted on tumblr here on July 5, 2014.

It’s weird how, of the many things that have hurt me and I’m sensitive about, there are some that I tend to avoid talking about and others that I can’t stop talking about. I talk a lot about love, even though that’s what has hurt me the most – I think because I still view falling in love and trying so hard as somewhat brave. However, I’ve also been mistreated socially quite a bit – you could say bullied at some points – but I don’t talk about it a lot because there is a part of me that still views it as a sign of weakness on my part, even though I know how silly that is.

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