House With No Mirrors - Sasha Sloane

The anorexia was preceded in year six by me throwing my food away at break and lunch in an effort to be thin. I didn't quite know why this was important yet, but it must have already struck me that it was.

I was never the pretty girl when I was younger, I was the funny one, chatty, would make friends with anyone on holiday, or at a new school, I wasn't afraid, the same way I grew to be. I was bossy and loud and happy.

After the anorexia I was withdrawn, quiet, and anti social. In my own little world of numbers and sizes, calories and counting. Anorexia is missed meals and broken hearts, secrets and lies, distance between your old friends and an unbreakable bond with a new best friend. One who never leaves you.

I became hooked, fast. I loved the feeling of waking up in the morning and planning my food intake, going to bed and counting up the days calories, feeling my hip bones in the dark. I'd been adamant when I was younger that I wouldn't succumb to dieting, but I was wrong.

Baby was invented as a means of survival. A coat of armour. Every day I was masquerading as someone I wasn't, but someone that I thought people preferred. Who were people? My much friendlier peers and classmates, the men who called out to me in the street, the waiters who flirted with me on holiday, even girls and women seemed to prefer this carefully crafted persona. Sweet, modest, quiet, softly spoken and self conscious, never too loud or confident. Definitely not bossy. Definitely not around boys. not after what happened last time.

I could never pin point 'what happened last time,' I just knew it was bad, it hurt, and I didn't want round two.

There was a very clear divide in my head with the identity disorder, if that's what it was, before and after. Before I was happy, overweight, virtually carefree, and a social reject. After I was miserable, thin, riddled with worry and anxiety often over my appearance, but also extended to the world at large, and more popular than before.

Even when I joined a new school, at fourteen, and had few friends, I hid behind my appearance. My make up gave me a mask to hide behind, protection, my body gave me armour, I was thin, as long as I was thin or pretty I thought I was safe. I was still scared of boys though, I'd flinch if they spoke to me, braced for a verbal attack. When it didn't come I wouldn't have time to relax, they'd be gone by the time my shoulders stopped tensing up.

Baby is complicated, and I'm prepared to delve into her, and share, unravelling all the secrets and lies on this blog, but for now I'll just say that I loved her endlessly. Despite how much pain she caused me. If you've never heard of identity disorders or had one, watched a film, or read a book with them in, this probably all sounds really strange. And if you've never had a mental illness I can understand questioning why you would adore and hold onto something that is both killing and isolating you. You fall in love with the pain, the destruction, the safety and comfort of familiarity, if you grow up with it, your mental illness is home.

For anyone suffering pease feel free to contact me at any point, I'm not a therapist but I do understand and care. Especially for those with identity disorders, as I would love to understand more and not feel so alone and strange. That's essentially why I end up always writing blogs books and songs about mental illness. Seeking friends in strangers who may relate.

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