National Eating Disorders Association

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Inquiry about anorexia/others experience

HI all, I am new here...I have a couple of questions. I’ve had an eating disorder in the past, and only realized this past spring that it was back, full force and has been for several years. Not sure how I “missed it’ and have realized that I am completely ignorant about the disease. The attitude is “I need fixing” or “I’m inherently wrong” - the behaviors to a degree are an effort to ameliorate a self-perceived deficit I guess...control it to a degree. I know that this mindset and these behaviors are my “normal” - I was stunned to find this website and read some of the articles (The first video I watched on the homepage was about mindset and eating disorders. I knew other people had eating disorders - and yet, I didn’t know other people thought like me, if that makes sense.) First time around, I remember everyone focusing on the food (or the lack of it that I was eating) and to me, it just came across that this was one more area in my life where I wasn’t welcome....and maybe that’s the whole point, I felt unwelcome in my own life. Somewhere, i got the message or constructed the message that who I “be” isn’t “right” or correct. It’s my dream to be free of this, liberated. I’m not sure if I know how to really live and engage life, though. I first had treatment in my early twenties. (I’m now 50.) I guess I (and everyone else) thought I was “cured” - I was eating. I can’t remember the end of those sessions. I don’t remember them ending or why. I remember life going on but with a sense of...something I can’t quite describe - a feeling of being unmoored. The anorexia actually provides a sense of connection, of grounding, of focus (albeit in a very dangerous way). But these are things I crave. These last few years, all the signs were there. My husband (who lives on the west coast) questioned my eating and sleeping. I was eating 1 thing. My sleep was messed up - I was sleeping on the sofa and not going to bed. (Probably sounds silly but there seems to be a correlation between the disease and sleep - anxiety? LOL I’m up right now and should be asleep.) My heart was acting up horribly - ended up wearing a heart monitor. Again, never occurred to me that it might be the eating disorder. Nothing physically wrong with my heart. (I feel kind of stupid honestly - and ashamed - that I didn’t realize. I should be “better”.) And as I say that, I can see that this, too, is part of the disease (at least I think so LOL). Dare I hope that this mental “torment” isn’t normal and “just the way things are” - that maybe I could be free of it? I’m trying to put the pieces together, understand the disease.I had started seeing a therapist again (not a specialist in anorexia) - good therapist, but I haven’t found anyone (yet) who really “gets” the disease or specializes in its treatment. Everyone wants to treat the food - this last time, or rather now, I’ve found that the disease affects other areas, like finances. I heard someone say “financial anorexia” this past spring and it hit me like a ton of bricks...the same deprivation and denial behavior, the hiding, the secrecy, underearning, the shame, the anxiety, the panic and terror...isolating/hiding/avoiding. I spend my life doing these things or thinking about them. It is exhausting. Yes, it’s showing up with food, but in other areas, it is easier to hide. I’m curious if anyone knows of any resources/research/articles/specialists in the area of anorexia and how it affects other areas like finances, marriage, etc. I saw one article on finances and anorexia on the site. I also saw an article on the personality traits of anorexics/bulimics and how to use those for your good...I’d be curious to read more in that area as well. I’m also curious about other health affects of anorexia - there’s lots on how it affects the heart. Anyone know of any connection to cancer? I’ve started asking cancer patients if they’ve ever had an eating disorder, but it’s a question I’ve just started asking. (I’ve had cancer twice and have long suspected that there may be a connection.) Appreciate this space and any sharing of resources. I’m looking forward to reading other people’s experiences with the disease and of finding the way forward (and free). Tanti grazie! Sandra


Hi, thank you for posting! Please take a look at our community guidelines here: We apologize but no outside links/sources are posted here on the forums. If you would like you can look through our blogs: mentioned some concerning symptoms so we are just posting this list. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:• accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury• become suicidal• confused thinking and is not making any sense• delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)• disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are• vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea• experiencing dizziness or fainting spells• too weak to walk or collapses• painful muscle spasms• complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing• blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit• a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16• an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)• cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees FahrenheitOr any other serious medical concernsIf you experience anything on here, we highly recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Another option is 911. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you:• have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating• have other gastrointestinal concerns• have high blood pressure• struggle with significant joint or muscle pain• have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)• struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss• have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst• have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly• have gained significant weight in a short period of time • struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipationIf you’re looking for resources, please feel free to contact the Helpline at (800) 931-2237. The Helpline is open Mondays-Thursdays 9AM-9PM EST and Fridays 9AM-5PM EST. During these hours you can chat with us also by clicking the chat now option at the top right hand corner! Please continue posting! 

Hi Sandra

I am new to this forum but related to your post, mostly because I am nearing 50 myself. I find it hard to connect with a lot of recovery stuff as most is geared towards adolescents and young women. Given my 25+ years of being anorexic, I can definitely attest to the many ways restriction has taken over every part of my life, especially financial. Spending money makes me extremely anxious whether it is a rational fear or not. Often it seems harder to let go around small items - I have literally stolen rolls of toilet paper from work. I hate feeling like this stingy, cheap person and I don't think it is who I would be without the anorexia.
So know you are not alone! Best of luck to you!!

Dear hi.dee,We would like to

Dear hi.dee,We would like to inform you that we edited parts of your post to remove mentions of specific treatment approaches, which are not allowed on the forums. You can review our community guidelines here. Thank you for your understanding and please continue to post!  

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