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Pubescent changes as a catalyst for anorexia?

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lordus

Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2014
Messages
5
I am just getting over an eating disorder (I hope) and I have recently read that a fear of adulthood has been seen as a factor in anorexia in some cases. This rings true for me in a sense that I have noticed that some of my eating disorder triggers have stemmed from the growth that occurs in puberty such as the widening of hips, stretch marks, and accumulating fat. These were observed and categorized as "wrong" in my young mind, and although I did not become anorexic until I was about 17, I always had the complex that I was "fat" due to the new shape of my body, though I ha
ve always actually had quite a small frame.
At around 17 these thoughts were triggered by a stressful relationship and I restricted calorie intake to a point where I felt i had no body fat(though this was rarely as any living person should have some body fat) and I liked this feeling of making myself smaller. I took pride in still being able to fit in clothes that I fit in when I was a pre-teen. I took pride in the fact that my weight was lower than it even was in high-school. It is now that i have realized that as a woman, I can not be healthy to try to restrict my body into being the size of an adolescent. It came to a point to which the more child-like my body looked the happier I was with it.

Now that I have identified this very central factor in the downward spiral of this eating disorder that has only intensified and changed shape over the years I have come to realize the intrinsic falsity of the very base of my eating disorder. I am only 22 but I can not expect my body to remain at the size of my former, eating disorder riddled adolescent self. Through restriction and over-exercising in order to stay the size of a child and not the woman I am becoming, I will only whittle away at my muscles, my bones, and my mind. There is no future in these thought patterns.

Has anyone else experienced a similar pattern of thought in regards to their eating disorder troubles? I find this to be actually quite important factor to recognize for girls developing in this society of diet culture and hyperfocus on women's bodies. We are taught that this rapid growth is to be expected yet somehow it was still shocking and traumatic for me.

Any thoughts or similar experiences?
 
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LeeMarie

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
805
Location
U.S.
yes, that's exactly me. I went thru puberty at a young age and as my body changed, i endured a trauma that haunts me to this day. I became anorexic. I felt my body shouldn't be woman-like. I've had it on/off for many many years. I used the ED to help me cope thru throubling times in my life. I've been in/out of treatment many times. I am now on the verge of menopause and find myself fighting my changing body. I have reached out to my treatment team so that I don't fall back into my old ED behaviors again. I find it very hard to accept my body --ever. It's especially difficult when transitioning into any time of change for me.
 
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hamlet_cat

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
50
I have had anorexia 2x in my life, once at age 18 and the other at age 42. I think you are right on with why we develop it when we are teens. It is created from an image we get from the fashion world. As most of the runway models look like preteens and not "women." But the one important factor which is the basis of all "anorexic" behaviour is that it is a form of self punishment. Meaning we punish ourselves by depriving ourselves of food. We do this for some reason because we think we deserve it somehow. I have no idea why, but the self punishment, temporarily makes us feel better. So we get trapped in this weird cycle of self punishment (depriving ourselves of adequate food) and the temporary relief of feeling better that the punishment causes. The way to break out of the cycle, is to start believing we don't deserve to be punished and that we aren't "bad" people.
A preteen body is not a mature body, for example. We aren't supposed to go through life with an immature body, and for some reason we label the mature body as "bad" and the immature body as "good." Probably because of the media perpetuating the idea that the immature body is better.
Another complication that tends to interfere with normal beliefs is when we start having trouble with personal relationships. A negative relationship experience can cause us to "feel bad" about ourselves. This can cause self-punishment, and it some results in anorexic behaviours. For example when I was in my last grade of high school my boyfriend broke up with me for some unknown reason. This caused me to feel "unloved" and so I punished myself by starving myself. It made me feel better, but the result was anorexia. What I was really doing, which I didn't know, was slowly committing suicide. I only freed myself when I found out that my boyfriend's actions had nothing to do with me. He was just emotionally unstable, which was a significant fact I overlooked at the time.
I hope some of what I said helps. What I hope you can do is find some way to feel better about yourself and the person you are. If you have any destructive personal relationships, you should probably seek out some new ones that are more positive. It will really help you recover. The only tricky ones are family, it is difficult to really leave family relationships. In those cases you have to find ways to protect yourself from emotional harm which can be a definite challenge.
 
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