This is me:
Suffering from an eating disorder at the age of 15 is initially how I began my journey in the field of Psychology and why I am doing what I am doing now. Because of certain life challenges, I developed horrible life destructive eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa are both equally evil disorders which ruined a large part of my life. Even though both are slightly different, both Anorexia and Bulimia controlled me, took over my life, isolated me from the world, distanced me from my friends, and most importantly my family. I was a teenager, but I started to slowly look like a child again, imprisoned by two horrible disorders. Slowly this very disturbing new part of me started to attack my body and my flesh, till it was just bones. I could barely sleep from how little support my body had to hold its frame. I remember being unable to sleep because turning in my bed would hurt me because my bones would be sticking out. I also remember staying up all night looking at pictures of ‘restricted foods’, because I wouldn’t allow myself any. I remember spending countless hours in the bathroom. I remember being in my room and isolating myself from anyone outside it. I remember being absolutely miserable. I remember ingesting about 300 sweeteners a day because I wouldn’t allow myself to ingest or keep any sugary foods in my body. I remember hearing how horrible and toxic sweeteners were to my body, and I remember dismissing that and still taking them. I remember the 10 laxatives I would take every time I ate anything. I remember binging on things that would say 0 calories at the back. I remember memorising the calorie books. I remember not eating, and if I would, I remember refusing to eat in public. I remember being vegan and vegetarian just because I thought it was a good excuse to limit myself from restaurant food choices. I remember always saying I was full and that I had already ate, when in reality I was absolutely starving. I remember crying when I would ingest anything in front of people. I remember taking an hour to eat just a tiny piece of pasta. I also remember thinking about it all day long. I remember planning my meals. I remember eating exactly the same thing if I have discovered it to be a ‘safe food’ and it will not make me fat. I remember spending 4-5 hours at the gym. I remember running on an incline of 15. I remember being so very horrible to myself. I remember suffering. I remember my family being so terribly concerned and I remember still going on with my destructive habits. I remember those very painful 8 years. I remember everything and I remember feeling like I was slowly losing myself.
What I also remember is the journey of recovery I went on and the support I had throughout. I remember how supportive my friends and mostly my family were. Especially my mother, I couldn’t do it without her. I also remember going to a therapist and I remember how she basically lifted me and brought me back to life again. I remember discovering and starting to believe in the power of counselling. I remember taking baby steps to start eating again. I remember the effort it took and the dedication it needed. I first felt almost like someone was trying to take my identity away. Like I was being taught to stop being me. This was the hardest part because your eating disorder becomes you. It takes over you and you start only knowing yourself through it. You become the girl with the eating disorder rather just the woman. Moving and coming to the UK was one of the last steps which helped my recovery. Moving where no one really knows me well is where I felt able to become who I used to be. It was less stressful for me at the time, it was just right. No one would clap when I would eat. No one would repeatedly ask me what I wanted to order and leave me feeling terribly uncomfortable and angry. No one really really knew who I was, at for that moment in my life, this is exactly what I needed.
My eating disorders took over my life. I was helpless and powerless, yet I felt invincible. My disorders deceived me, controlled me, and took over my life. I thank my friends, family, mother, and therapist for the person I have become now, the recovery I have adopted, and the choice of field I am in. I choose to help others, others who are experiencing difficulties, whichever the difficulty might be. Everyone needs support and everyone can be supported.