My Obsession With Numbers

Song of the Day: Teen Idle by Marina and the Diamonds

Maybe it’s my own fault for taking such an interest in math.

Or maybe it’s society’s fault for emphasizing the importance of certain numbers: income, age, size, calories, height, weight…

Nonetheless, I’ve always had an unhealthy obsession with numbers. I never really cared too much about these numbers until I started high school. I was incredibly self-conscious, which is normal for a thirteen-year-old. But, you know, kids can be cruel. They don’t think about the impact of their actions or words. So when one person made a comment, no matter how innocent I was, on my weight I took it to heart.

Keep in mind that I had been engaging in self-harm since I was eleven so I was depressed and overly sensitive. I took everything negative as a deliberate attack.

So suddenly certain numbers such as calories, size, and weight became so important to me. In fact, it was of the essence that I keep all of those numbers as low as I could. That’s when I began a food diary, became conscious of how much everyone else was eating, noticed everyone’s body type, and weighed myself several times a day.

I just wanted to lose a few pounds. That was it. I could’ve stopped anytime.

But eating disorders are much more complicated than that. You want some sense of control and so you try to regulate your food intake, your weight. You don’t realize that you’re under some delusion that you have complete control of your eating disorder, when in reality your eating disorder has complete control of you.

It warps how you see yourself, and how you see yourself compared to others.

It took me six years to figure that out, and yet it still overpowers me every once in a while. There were certain times in the past six years that I actually thought I had completely recovered, only to regress even further than I had before.

To me, it didn’t matter how many times I visited the hospital or how many times the doctors told me that whatever I was doing was unhealthy. Only I knew what was best for me.  And what wass best for me was to maintain a US size 0. There was even a time when I was too thin to fit 00. That didn’t matter to me either.

I’m not going to lie. I still obsess over my weight, my size, and the amount of calories I eat. And I’ve been through a partial-hospitalization eating disorder program for a few months. But then again I never finished it because I was kicked out for being noncompliant. They do that, you know.

I try not to, I really do, but these numbers are all I’ve ever known. It’s not easy to let go of the behaviors you’ve been doing all your life, no matter how self-destructive it is.

I want more than anything not to care so I don’t know why some people actually wish that they had an eating disorder. Don’t they know how consuming it really is, how painful it is to go through, how it destroys relationships, how it takes complete control over you and is reluctant to ever let you go?

Don’t you ever wish for that.

You don’t want to spend your days obsessing over these numbers that should be insignificant.


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