—— on academia and anorexia (a thread of sorts)
Perfectionism —

“often defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it's possible to achieve perfection”

(via goodtherapy)
Essays —

“Imagine a type of writing so hard to define it’s very name should be something like: an effort, an attempt, a trial. Surmise or hazard, followed likely by failure”.

(from ‘Essayism’ by Brian Dillon)
Eating Disorders —

from the poem 'Civil War Sickness' by Adira Bennet
to someone who doesn't or hasn't ever experienced an eating disorder, or maybe even if you're eating disorder manifests in a different way, academia and anorexia probably sound completely arbitrary. this thread hasn't been planned, I just felt like talking about this
as a lot of you know I've been struggling with weight loss/gain and food for the past few years, and I'm currently on an extenuation for my third-year assignments and still struggling to finish my essay portfolio and dissertation.
I want to talk from my personal experience of how the concept of perfectionism is the undercurrent to my ED and the struggles I have with academia
When my ED developed I was in my first year of university, and for a whole host of reasons, I was feeling very down on myself, I was anxious, and felt like a failure. I was surrounded by people I perceived to be prettier, skinnier, smarter, more creative, & more successful.
I had dealt with depression and dissociative symptoms for years, and got to a breaking point where I wanted to change my life for the better, and I'm not going to lie but a lot of those actions I took did exactly that. But I've been sucked into this idea of perfectionism.
My self-hatred and self-destruction began to manifest itself in a "positive" way - I focus on making sure I'm perfect in every single way. I want perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect clothes, a perfect body, perfect grades, a perfect routine, a perfect job etc.
The two things that are inextricably linked but also come into confrontation with each other are my ED and my education. I tell myself I can eat less, study more, lose weight, and get the best grades. And that will make me happy. That will fill the hole.
I am afraid of failure. Losing weight and getting top grades are the two most important focuses of my life (besides the obvious). If I overeat, or I gain weight: I failed. I haven't reached my goal. I've disappointed myself yet again. I'm not perfect, so I just push harder.
I look in the mirror and I see every cell of fat on my body. I see every little inch I want to shrink. I can't look at the whole picture, my body dysmorphia makes me zero in on the tiny details as my next target to obliterate (my thighs being what I want to obliterate mostly).
So my restrictive behaviours continue. And that feels like success. Losing weight means I'm on my way to achieving my goal. My anxiety and self-hatred subsides. This is how EDs work. You condition yourself into believing you can reach perfection, and that it will make you happy.
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