Pre-warning: right, this post is something a little bit different and I’m going to need you to just hear me out on this one. The concept of it came to me during one of my frequent sleepless nights, so it might be a bit rough around the edges but I hope you get the picture.
Did you know that a common symptom in the later stages of rabies is a fear of water?
It’s called hydrophobia which is basically the panic a patient with rabies feels when they are presented with water. The actual rabies virus causes this to happen, so it can be passed through the body and reach the saliva which is how it spreads (from what I can gather online anyway).
Like all viruses, it’s aim is to multiply, so by making the patient scared of water, the saliva can accumulate making the rabies more likely to be passed on.
The intense fear of water created often means the patient even might start to choke or stop breathing when offered liquid to drink (I know, WTF).
Then, either because the virus has spread to the patient’s brain, or a lack of oxygen due to the breathing problems when panicking or by dehydration due to the hydrophobia, ultimately, once that fear towards water occurs, the patient will usually die.
Imagine, an illness so cruel and manipulative, it can trick your brain into telling you that the very thing you need to stay alive, will kill you. It goes to such lengths as to make the patient behave in ways they never would normally, in order for the illness to win.
Anorexia nervosa, onset by a calorific deficit rather than an infected bite, often causes a fear of food and makes patients behave in ways they would not have done before, in order to avoid food.
Anorexia creates a fear of your own medicine. It makes people do things they never would have dreamed of doing before the illness.
The ONLY way to beat anorexia is to eat. You have to eat to prove to your body that THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR. A person with rabies DOES know that water isn’t scary, but the illness makes them scared. A person with anorexia DOES know logically that food is not actually scary either, but their illness also makes them scared.
Once you realise that your brain is trying to trick you, you have to do the opposite of what it wants. You need to rewire it by doing what scares you most, until you’re not scared anymore.
You have to recognise that no food in the entire world can hurt you more than your eating disorder can. Anorexia’s aim is to kill you, as is rabies’. And the short of it is, without enough food (or water), you will die. You need food to live and anorexia tells you that you don’t.
I know this comparison seems a little dire, but both are cruel, evil, intelligent illnesses. Both can be, and often are, fatal.
However, ANYONE can recover from anorexia. And by that I don’t mean just “ignore the thoughts” or “learn to manage the behaviours”. I mean, with enough food, effort and commitment, anyone can have complete food freedom. No fears, no compensations, no niggles. Freedom.
The eating disorder LIES. It tells you your medicine is scary. It’s not. Food is safe. Anorexia is scary. Be scared of the anorexia and what it’s doing to you. It’s LYING.
Let me just say it one more time, FOOD IS SAFE. YOUR EATING DISORDER IS LYING TO YOU.
And to beat it? Eat it.