I had anorexia and I never thought I was fat.
One of the ways in which I felt most misunderstood during my eating disorder was my absent fear of fatness. I never intended to lose weight, nor did I fear gaining it during recovery.
Before discovering I’m autistic, I was confused about how I could have an eating disorder without having body dysmorphia. Through the years, treatment providers tried to work on “body image issues” with me, but this never helped because there was nothing to work on in that department.
My eating disorder started as a means of controlling something in an uncontrollable world. Eating the “perfect” diet and sticking to a strict exercise regimen provided me with safety and predictability during a time when I didn’t know who I was.
Growing up undiagnosed autistic, I knew I was different from my peers. My interests, my way of communication, and my desire for answers to life’s deepest questions alienated me. My eating disorder gave me solace and companionship during this lonely existence.
Of course, the paradox is that the ED exacerbated the loneliness. It became such a part of who I was, that I lost trust in any possibility of living without the eating disorder. Only when I discovered my anorexia was a manifestation of something deeper – my autistic traits – was I able to disentangle my identity from disorder.
Through embracing my autism and therefore unveiling the true, authentic me, I was able to discover a life in which I became my own most valuable companion. If you want to learn how I did it, read my book Rainbow Girl!