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So let’s begin with what anorexia actually is:
1. It’s an eating disorder (bulimia is another form of a common eating disorder).
2. A person suffering from anorexia refuses to eat from the fear of gaining weight.
3. No, it is not the person’s fault because when they look in the mirror, they actually do see themselves weighing far more than their supposed to.
What began as a simple diet, cutting down on carbs, reducing the quantities I was eating, skipping snacks, soon turned into a teenage nightmare. At the age of 18, I was a puny tiny student, with board exams hovering over my head. The pressure caused me to stress eat, which in turn lead to me putting on 15kgs in over a year. Though I didn’t quite notice it right away, people never failed to point out that I had gotten chubby or ‘fat’. My parents were happy though, because since I began eating, my weak immunity system had gotten way better than what it used to be.
But to the rest of the world, I became a fat kid who was asking for their brash opinions. It’s safe to say that my head could not deal with it. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore and my distant relatives had something to say every time I took a second serving of food. So I decided to do that one thing I thought would promise me results. I stopped eating.
It isn’t like I didn’t get hungry, I remember holding onto my stomach late at night because the hunger wouldn’t let me fall asleep. The cramps began slowly and eventually even my body got used to how little food I was giving it (juice for lunch, one toast for dinner, etc). And I know my parents noticed, they would sit me down and ask me to finish an entire plate of food, but I was fighting them all. I even remember lying about already having eaten a few times, just so they wouldn’t worry.
I was so unhappy with the person I saw in the mirror (still too fat) that I refused to even look at myself. My collarbones jutted out, my ribcage poked through and I STILL refused to eat. I had lost all that weight in three months but I couldn’t stop now, I had found a way to lose weight. Then my ultimate downfall began, I started getting hospitalised for just having a temperature. Why? Because my body wasn’t equipped to handle any ailments.
I went for a regular checkup that week, to my dentist who also happened to be a family friend. And I still don’t think he knows what he did for me that day. Mid-conversation, he realised that maybe I wasn’t doing so well and he just decided to give me a book. He had never done this before so it seemed out of the blue, but when he gave me that copy of How To Heal Your Life by Louisa Hay, he sure as hell saved mine.
The book asked me to stick post-its with words of inspiration on the mirror (just little things like - remember to eat, fix yourself, etc), and it worked! I started looking at the mirror and reminding myself that I was loved. “You are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful,” I chanted this in front of the mirror for days till I slowly started a journey to self recovery. First, it was a proper dinner, just so I could sleep again followed by a good breakfast. My body wasn’t used to the food now, so I threw up for a few weeks while I was recovering, so no it didn’t happen overnight, I’m still doing my bit. Every few months I go back to that train of thought and stop eating for a day or two before I force a meal down my throat and tell myself that my journey cannot be wasted just because I didn’t fit into a pair of pants this morning!
Let this story be a lesson, nothing is worth your sanity. If any of you do began feeling unhappy about being you then please do contact the Eating Disorder Centre in India and get yourself some immediate help!