eating disorders and competition part 1

“You throw a gaggle of eating-disordered girls together in a room and guaranteed, the conversation will turn into a macabre game of Whose Life is the Most Messed Up, Anyway? in thirty seconds or less. I’ve seen it. I’ve played it. I’ve won it. If you can call it winning.” – Donna Shute

This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to be writing about the phenomena among eating disorder suffers to compete for the sickest role. It might be impossible to understand to the outside world and I want to try and make it a bit more accessible.

My first treatment stay for my eating disorder was at Laureate Eating Disorder Program in Tulsa OK. I entered there very ill. I was very medically compromised and my weight was extremely low. As I progressed through the program I gained the weight required and needed for my health and slowly left my old self and clothes behind. It was a difficult process to say the least. There was a distinct competition for who was the sickest aka the thinnest and as I began the process of recovery I began loosing the competition. I remember looking at the new girls and feeling envy. It was then that I wrote this poem trying to convince myself that really winning the competition was only destructive and not something I wanted. I’m not sure I succeeded in convincing myself but here is what I wrote.

Warning: I wrote it very late one night when I still had refeeding brain. So quality is not that good. Please don’t judge me.

I Chose Life Instead 

I stare at her.

Jealous of her body,

No – that’s wrong

What body? I see only bones

They poke through her skin.

Sharp, jagged.

They seem to taunt me.

This is what you were.

This is what you had.

But I chose life instead.

 

I stare at her.

Jealous of her body.

No – that’s wrong.

What body? I see only bags beneath her eyes.

They make her eyes look concave.

Lifeless, hopeless.

They seem to tell me.

This is who you were.

This is who you wanted to be.

But I chose life instead.

 

I stare at her.

Jealous of her body.

No – that’s wrong.

What body? I see only stares.

The ones from strangers in the store

They seem to be

Pitying, concerned

Those are what I wanted.

Those are what I received.

But I chose life instead.

 

I stare at me.

And see

Flesh covering my bones

Eyes shining bright

And no recent memories of stares in the store

I’m healthy

This is not what I would have chosen

This is not what I thought I wanted

But it is what I am

For I choose life instead.

 

 

 

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10 Comments

Filed under body image, eating disorder, eating disorders, Identity, New Life, Recovery, the past

10 responses to “eating disorders and competition part 1

  1. Jen

    My first stay in treatment, there was a definite feeling of competition. The second time was SO much better. I feel really lucky to have gone when I did.

    I love your poem. I think you describe the confusion and crazy feelings very well, and even the effort to choose life.

    • That is how it was for me as well. My first stay was not at CFC and it was so competitive. When I went to CFC things were much, much different. The focus was on recovery and while it could slip into those moments for the most part the girls I was with were wonderful.

  2. labeyer

    I really love your poem Kate. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been trading your blog for months now. I want to start one too. Not just about ED but life as I see it. Thanks for encouraging me and inspiring me. Keep on keeping on ❤

    • labeyer

      I really love your poem Kate. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been trading your blog for months now. I want to start one too. Not just about ED but life as I see it. Thanks for encouraging me and inspiring me. Keep on keeping on <3. (Leslie from Ltown)

      • It means a lot to me that you have been reading my blog. It is a wonderful outlet for me and I highly encourage everyone to do it. I find it’s such a good way for me to document my life and make sense of my thoughts. Hope you are doing well!

  3. Pamela Alida

    Love this!!! SOOOO MUCH! (I love you more thou 😉 )

  4. Love this. I was just venting to a couple of my friends today about “Look how sick I am” facebook posts, which I think are part and parcel of this whole competition phenomenon. It’s important to talk about, though, because its power is that it is unspoken. So thank you for sharing this ❤

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  6. You have been nominated for the ‘Seven Things About Me’ award. To accept this award please visit ~ http://loopyluce.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/seven-things-about-me-award/ x

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