But my Mum said I was extra special…

…Though odd, different or just a bit weird, would probably have left far fewer unanswered questions.

Ever since the seed was planted (thanks internet) that battling anorexia could be seen as an inward way to seek attention, I have since never been able to shake this thought; thus leaving me analysing the depths to my general behaviour to the point where maybe I should just shout from the top of the beanstalk that I really am just an attention seeker…

Having optionally decided to ask for a push scooter in celebration of my 21st birthday, undoubtedly leaves the above title just as valid now, as when it was said to me at the likely age of 5. Coupled with a One Direction helmet, standing cut outs of Harry Styles and Zayn Malik which were also bought for the occasion; I had probably rightfully earned the ever sought-after title of being the coolest student on the Reading University’s campus… (it was probably good for my lunch money that my head was too big for the helmet anyway).

Whether it be my own concluded choice of birthday gift; my stand out choice of clothing for a fancy dress themed event; or my inexplicably poor knowledge of the Kardashian family; I think I’ve always consciously opted to be the black sheep of the flock and procured a somewhat satisfaction of seeming positively different from the majority.

Google defines attention:

Noun: attention.

  1. -Notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.
    -The mental faculty of considering or taking notice of someone or something.
  2. -The action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.
    -Things done to express interest in or please someone

It could be on a larger scale and consciously wanting the attention of the masses; momentarily achieving Queen Bee status as you fuel the gossip fire within your friendship group; or simply seeking the attention of your needy cat; either way, I do personally feel that everyone wants and needs attention; just to different degrees and on different scales. I would be kidding myself if I said that a lot of the decisions I make and have made to be ‘different’, weren’t made on an attention basis. Though it would seem odd that I would elect in saying that I am somewhat attention-seeking (because it definitely isn’t something I consciously sought towards); however, I do think some of these decisions, can relate back to a person’s reasonings behind eating disorders (mine, anyway)

Simply saying that I’m lacking in self-confidence would be a complete understatement. Try, lacking so much self-confidence that I’m not even able to nurture or develop it because there is simply nothing there to work with in the first place.  It’s something I utterly envy in others, who can stand proud with what their mother gave ’em, but is something that I unfortunately wasn’t blessed with. So what happens? I outwardly portray these differences as a silent way of achieving attention from others to almost compensate for the confidence I don’t give myself. I pasted in the above definition because I feel it really helps express the reasoning behind such motives; because being different brings attention; which can make you feel interesting and important, giving me a bout of reassurance and a momentary boost in confidence I felt like I desperately needed.

Having an eating disorder is almost inwardly drawing attention to having something that the majority don’t have; being different to most of the closest people around you. I had that friend and trait that no one else around me had, making me feel of note, of interest and maybe worthy of a comment or two; concerned or otherwise. The disorder told me that being skinny would give me the confidence I was so desperately crying out for; until of course it took over. The disorder reveled in how much attention I was providing it with and positively disallowed any other attention to anything else in my life. Anorexia became my confidence and unwillingly had my full attention.

With a turn in a different direction, there are at least some positives that can be sought from the dark depths of the last few paragraphs! The disorder has drawn attention to the fact that lacking confidence can have some really serious and harmful consequences. It’s a shame that getting to such a low point in my life is what it took to try and trigger said change; none the less, it proves that being skinny didn’t or doesn’t help towards achieving confidence, and the attention procured from it, just isn’t worth sacrificing so much of your life to achieve it.

I really am indefinitely trying to disregard the thoughts of “How can they be eating that, not feel guilty; still be ten times smaller in size than me and not be constantly gaining weight!”. Overcoming an eating disorder isn’t all about eating food again and gaining weight; it’s overcoming the acceptance of people’s differences and learning that the weight and size I’ve reached, is not made to be accepted by my body. Though it is still proving inexplicably difficult, I know that it will be such a huge step in the right direction.

It will be nice to one day re-assume the life before anorexia; not seeking to be different to fake confidence and procure attention; but because we are just all different anyway.

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