Yesterday, I spent most of my day studying for an upcoming busy week of midterms. Not exactly the most exciting way to spend a Saturday, but it's also part of being a college student, I guess.
As I continued to my review notes and reread chapters in my textbooks, something unexpected happened- I was actually absorbing and learning the material. Going back through and quizzing myself almost felt easy; this has never happened to me before. Honestly, I always thought I was doomed to be one of those people who had difficulty retaining information and was a poor test taker. Until now.
Tomorrow will be the start of the eighth week of the semester (already) and it has taken me this long to recognize the difference in my brain function capabilities. So, of course, being the nerd that I am, I decided to do a little research on eating disorders and the effects they have on the brain. Surprisingly, I was shocked with my findings.
Thinking back to my own personal mental challenges over the past few years with the eating disorder, a few specific things come to mind, but I never realized, until now, just how severe these symptoms were. As the body continues to lose nutrients and becomes physically harmed, the brain also, unfortunately, suffers the consequences.
In the past, I have written about the physical dangers of eating disorders, but I never really thought about the mental aspect of it until now. Here are a few mental symptoms and consequences of eating disorders:
-Lack of concentration-Poor memory-An overall brain 'fuzziness'-Severe all or nothing thinking-Obsessive thoughts-Preoccupation with ED thoughts-The blood flow to the brain is decreased, causing damage to certain parts of the brain that control appetite, emotions, motivation, and body perception.-Increased stress and decreased ability cope-Impulsive thinking and behaviors-The rewarding qualities, such as taste and smell, become impaired in eating disorder patients over time.-Body image distortion-Mood disorders
This is just a sample of the negative affects eating disorders have on the brain. Today, as I continue to study and do homework, I will have a new found appreciation for recovery. After years of believing I wasn't as intelligent as everyone else, I finally see that isn't true at all. The eating disorder might have taken a few years of my mental health away, but that can be reversed.
For the first time ever, learning is actually kind of fun. Without all of the eating disordered thoughts consuming my brain, I am free to fill it with whatever I choose.
How exciting! :)