WASTING AWAY –
January 20, 2021 – I have been anorexia’s prey, all while thinking that it was my friend and protector, my arbiter of discipline.
When I heard that gyms were going to be closed during the pandemic, I spiralled into paranoia. My mind was plagued with visions of my future obesity, accompanied with delusions that my friends, family and partner would find me repulsive. While I recognised the absurdity of these claims, the power of the illness was overbearing; my rationality did not stand a chance. My fears were validated by the endless barrage of home workouts which were marketed to me and I loathed myself for not creating an at-home gym using my couch and some sacks of rice or lifting my fridge a hundred times a day. My mind repeated its bigoted script: You are so lazy, you are weak, you are repulsive. With so much time on my hands during Victoria’s extended lockdown, with uni being online and still with no work for me to go to, it became even easier to berate my appearance. Hours were spent in front of the mirror, pinching my skin, measuring my waist, checking my reflection from every angle for signs of imperfection.
I felt profoundly lonely in these ruminations and feelings. It seemed like everyone else could eat and exist without a second thought. But I recognise now that I wasn’t the only one. Around one million Australians suffer from eating disorders and the limitations of extended Covid lockdowns and restrictions have reportedly worsened many people’s illnesses. Disruptions to routine, use of videoconferencing (which exposes individuals to their own image) and increased marketing of weight-loss programs have also culminated in heightened negative body image and restrictive behaviours in the general population.