#wearenot9to5 Jakob Anderson

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

#wearenot9to5 is series of mental health experiences from people in the F&B industry to fight the stigma & shame. Mental health affects us all.

Jakob Anderson

Jakob Anderson had worked at Buca and Honest Weight in Toronto before moving on to Le Vin Papillon in Montreal. He wrote this about his experience about living with Atypical Anorexia while working in the restaurant industry and being around food all of the time.

"What I had thought was general depression and anxiety turned out to be a much more deeply rooted issue. But how could that be? Someone who is immersed in the world of food and the restaurant industry could not possibly be starving himself and walking around as a shackle of bones. This is where the "atypical," diagnosis plays its role. The diagnosis of atypical anorexia is given to individuals who meet all the criteria of anorexia without the significant weight loss; they maintain a "normal" weight based on their age, height, gender, etc.

Atypical anorexia poisons the mind, a fact about the condition that I am still learning to accept. It changes your perception of everything. In my case, these poisoned thoughts accumulated over the years, creating a militaristic monster. I overexercised and did not supplement with more food. It was the opposite—I would work out harder and eat less while my mind muscled through. I followed a strict food regime, and veering away from "my foods" would induce terrible regret and anxiety. I am currently in the process of reversing that mindset and have been feeling the positive effects. I have even had to retrain myself to sit down and relax. This has opened the door for creativity on the page rather than in the kitchen."

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Two years later he has this to say...

“My progress has been excellent but it never truly goes away. For me, meditation has been the most helpful. Being able to sit comfortably with myself in silence, no outside stimulus or habits (checking the phone), has become an essential part of my life.

Struggling with an eating disorder consumes so much mental energy. The regimen/control can become overwhelming. I still have constant mental battles that often times defeat me. But surrounding myself with a good community of people has been what has helped over the past few years. Isolation is easy but toxic.

CAMH also plays a large role in my recovery. I was the classic case of thinking psychologists were stupid, but its another essential tool I now utilize.”