A-Typical Anorexia Nervosa Awareness

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My name is Jessica, I am 19 years old and I have lived with A-Typical Anorexia Nervosa since I was about 14. Having this disorder or disease since a young age, I missed out on a lot of things that other people would otherwise take for granted. The main CAUSE of my teen years being ripped away from me is due to the fact that I never received the treatment that I was supposed to have.

What do you mean? You may ask. Well, of course I have seen therapists and doctors, I go the gym and otherwise I do everything I can to help myself. However, As of the age of 16 I became very sick, I stopped attending school, leaving my bed was a challenge because I would constantly collapse or have huge dizzy fits. I was 170cm or 5"5 and I weighed only 41kg, my BMI (Body Mass Index) had reached a critical low and I was physically withering away.

One day I went to the doctors and when she weighed me and put me at that weight, she told me I HAD to be admitted to hospital. I basically needed drips in me to nourish my body and to more importantly, KEEP ME ALIVE! So I get a referral for the hospital, she calls ahead, we hurry down there and this particular hospital looks at me with so little care and told me that in all of the state of Western Australia they only have 2 beds assigned for people with eating disorders outside of Obesity (This could be true or not, either way it shows a disregard or lack of understanding of the situation).

Just to make it clear, I am a very sick, thin, pasty young female. I have a very extensive medical record with them including visiting them practically once a month for years because my body was breaking down internally and it HURT. Just some Panadol and I was on my way out. Pathetic.

Skipping ahead a year and I am a young 17 year old with more stress and pressure on my shoulders than anyone my age at the time should have to cope with. This is the year I almost died to a HEART ATTACK! Why? Because my body couldn't handle it's own inability to function, plus the pressure I was receiving from a vast number of people around me who had absolutely no clue what I was going through. They would just roll their eyes whenever I had to leave some event early because back then, food made me legitimately queasy. 

My dietitians were poorly trained in Anorexia as well, I saw one for months. She kept informing me to eat these specific foods that I can not eat, along with more food than can fit in my stomach. Not helpful. (Not a picky eater but Anorexia Nervosa rips apart your stomach lining, dairy or acidic foods make me double over in pain and very very sick for days.)

What is the goal?

In an ideal world, my goal would be simple. Use less of our budget on obesity and assign more to eating disorders that are just as deadly but far more painful to live with. Because yes, I as a skinny stick person still suffer back pains the same or worse as someone with obesity because I have no muscles supporting ANY of my bones.

Anorexia Nervosa can easily kill someone through things like heart attack or total organ failure, very similar to Obesity. The difference here is quite obvious though. Obesity is a real issue, HOWEVER, in this day and age a portion of the cases that go through hospitals are simply people who are unmotivated to get fit or help themselves. Obesity doesn't slowly eat away at your insides while you are laying in the bed in a fetal position every day of your life, you don't feel the fear when you wake up one morning and you CAN'T move because your body just doesn't have the strength anymore.

Obesity and other eating disorders MUST share the state budget or more people will suffer and the majority of people with Anorexia Nervosa, young females, will go on without help. They will feel alone and afraid like I have, too afraid to say anything because people ridicule you for even saying you have Anorexia. Commonly they will say things like "Well, can't you just eat more?" or unhelpfully they will say "You have to eat or you'll die!" Yes, we understand what we have to do and the consequences, however saying things like that actually have a more negative impact on the person in question than it does actually help them.

However I'll keep my dreams small for now. I want awareness about A-Typical Anorexia Nervosa spread, I want medical professionals and therapists to receive adequate training in these fields because EVERYONE I have ever spoken to about this eating disorder on a professional level, has asked me more questions than they could answer mine. Or were simply unhelpful outside of "We'll pump you full of drugs."

Side note

If you live or have lived with A-Typical Anorexia Nervosa OR know people who have, I highly encourage you to share your experiences when you sign. It will help people understand more what we have been through and continue to go through long after the disorder has passed.