An eating disorder can have devastating effects on the body. These effects include :
⦁ dry skin
⦁ hair loss
⦁ yellowing of skin
⦁ growth of thin white hair all over the body (lanugo)
⦁ intolerance to cold
⦁ poor circulation
⦁ heart failure
⦁ abdominal pain
⦁ loss of period/infertility
⦁ muscle loss/weakness
This is only a short list of things that can happen to an individual who suffers from an eating disorder, there are many more side effects that can occur.
I have experienced many of these symptoms throughout the years. The one most people know me for is the intolerance to cold. I wore my winter coat well into spring this year because my body just could not take the temperature. I was constantly covered in goosebumps and miserable.
I've also have the pleasure of hair loss. In the past few years my hair has probably decreased to half of its original thickness. Most of the time I have to clean out my hair brush after every use because it is so full of my lost hair. And people think that being thin will make you more beautiful......... in my experience that is definitely NOT the case.
This past weekend I had some intense symptoms that I haven't ever had to quite this extent. I woke up in the morning with abdominal pain and thought initially it was nothing to worry about. However as the day progressed the pain began to amplify and was accompanied with nausea and eventually my entire body began to shake.
Once the shaking began my mother took me to the emergency room. After blood work and a few other tests the doctor told me I was dehydrated and was having the abdominal pain because my body is still not used to eating a normal amount of food and therefore was having a difficult time digesting it all.
Fortunately, all I needed was a shot and some fluids to get me feeling better. I am so lucky that was all I needed. I recognize that my body is quite resilient and this is the first time I have been so out of whack that I needed medical attention. I am grateful to have such a strong system.
I always try and take something out of each experience I have and attempt to see the lesson in it all. This showed me that my body is still sick no matter how good it may feel some days. It is again telling me to slow down and not to rush it while it goes through its healing process.
It has also taught me that I am not immune to the side effects that can be caused by an eating disorder. I have thought for so long that I was invincible. My blood work has always come back completely normal along with various other tests that have been done on me. This only aided in the invincible feeling.
I write this to let you know that eating disorders are in no way glamorous and in know way will help you achieve your "perfect, happy life". Besides the mental pain they also cause physical pain.
If you are thinking "once I'm thin I'll feel confident to put myself out there and go do this", think again. Sure maybe you'll feel a little more confident but even if you do, you will not want to do anything. You will feel weak, tired, and too preoccupied with food/your body to even fathom going out into the world. That's how my story has gone at least.
Again, I am filled with gratitude for the fact that my body has survived in the way it has even after all I have put it through; I am one of the lucky ones. Hope this spreads some awareness into the fact that eating disorders aren't "cool", they won't make you happy, and most importantly they are not worth potentially losing your life over.
For a more detailed list of the physical effects of an eating disorder, check out this website : www.eatingdisorders.org.au/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa
Awareness is everything.