top of page
  • Lindsay S. Wheeler


It’s not about what you look like.

It’s the fine line between elation and panic; the split second between when the spoon hits your mouth and when you swallow mental poison. It’s being five years, 40 pounds, since starvation, and yet fifteen minutes ago you laid on the kitchen floor slapping tile until your palms went red. It's the irony of recovery, the invisibility of pounds; weight that suddenly makes you "healthy" on the outside.

It’s not about what you look like.

It’s those two seconds just after you roll out of bed in the morning and feel the skin on your knees touch. It’s Googling liposuction because one more day in this body is your version of hell. It’s wishing you could reach through the skin on your limbs and tear out enough flesh to change the way it feels to take those first steps every day.

It’s remembering the first, second, third time your friend said, “I literally never think about food as the enemy,” and realizing some people don’t go through this every day. It’s hearing you have the most beautiful eyes three times in three hours and wishing you could focus long enough on a compliment to stop hatred from seeping into your skin. It’s loathing who you used to be and wishing you had her back in the same breath. It’s those self-deprecating jokes about Jenny Craig and weight loss pills that you know are only 50% a joke. It’s trying, over and over again, to explain that this has nothing to do with what you look like.

It’s not about what you look like.

It’s blacking out from breakfast to bedtime because when you spend the whole day entrenched in perceived worthlessness, you remember nothing but that. It’s ordering two Starbucks drinks just to have one sip of what you really want. It’s trashing a perfectly good drink because it’s against the "rules." It’s telling your therapist you’re good on Monday and that it’s World War III on Wednesday. It's knowing how much you need your meds but wanting to smash them into pieces for taking away your self-control.

It’s thinking back to when you couldn’t go five minutes without an obsessive thought; and realizing you can’t go five minutes today. It’s being in the ‘fun home’ of your actual fucking nightmares with no one but yourself. It’s staring into mirrors that thwart every inch of your reflection. It’s telling yourself it’s okay to break the rules tonight because tomorrow you’ll get it together again. It's realizing you were vegan for two years without even trying to be. It’s being angry at everything because you’re so angry at yourself.

It’s not about what you look like.

It’s being embarrassed to say you’ve gained forty pounds even though everyone claps and acts like you deserve a prize. It’s knowing that right next door some other girl gained forty pounds and no one clapped for her. It’s that first time you break your no-food-after-6 rule because you’re having so much fun, and then remembering you don’t deserve to have fun. It’s the car ride home from the movies with the soda and popcorn, which gargle in your stomach to remind you that you’re a disastrous fuck up. It’s using your arms to lift your butt a couple inches off the seat so you can feel weightless.

It’s the equivalent of three Butterball turkeys hanging from your skin because you’re “healthy” now. It’s regret about last night the minute your alarm goes off in the morning; knowing you'll have to move the pillows from between your legs now. It’s throwing out pair after pair of leggings because now you just feel naked in them. It’s thinking that women of all sizes are completely stunning, and knowing the same standards you hold for others don't apply to yourself.

It’s not about what you look like.

It’s trying to explain to someone that you’re not crazy just because you can sit down and write three pages about this. It’s trying to give someone who’s never felt a single thing you feel some perspective. It’s clarifying that you know you’re not fat but that you feel like your body is physically just not right. It’s telling the story about when you cried at Portofino’s because the dressing came on your salad. It’s hearing your own words out loud and realizing you might actually be crazy.

It’s knowing you can order your dressing on the salad now but wishing it wasn’t still so hard. It’s hearing “you eat a lot” from a random dude while you’re on a binge that will keep you up at night in pain. It’s the “for a small person” half of the sentence that you want to shove back down his throat. It’s being ashamed when maybe you should be proud that you can “eat a lot” now, because people are so quick to tell you that you do. It’s feeling self-conscious when you order your own entrée and knowing you used to feel the same way when you ordered nothing.

It’s not about what you look like.

It’s sitting down at a restaurant and seeing only “allowed” and “not allowed” on the menu. It’s feeling your emotions crumble like the bread you’ve just begun to eat. It’s taking the tiniest bites of cake because it’s a habit you can’t break. It’s getting laughed at because you “eat weird” and leave mutilated scraps of food on your butter plate. It’s sheer excitement about a restaurant until you find you’ve lost the courage to eat. It’s laying on the floor - hands over your face - wondering when life will no longer be the fine line between elation and panic.

#eatingdisorder #eatingdisorderrecovery #recovery #depression #mentalillness #anorexia #ednos #eating

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page