started at the age of 14. Before being diagnosed as having bulimia, I was a
happy teenager full of life and always loved going out. Before the diagnosis, I
had no clue about eating disorders.
All throughout my
childhood I was always slim and then puberty hit. With that I gained a
considerable amount of weight, going from my childhood body to an average body
size. My weight and body started being judged; I was being judged by the elders
in my extended family, being compared to the other girls in my family who were
older and slimmer than me. I became depressed; I hated the way I looked.
Deciding I needed
to lose weight, I started eating healthier and was exercising every day to have
my ‘goal’ body. I wanted to be slim like my cousins. I didn’t want to be
branded as the young, overweight niece. Food dictated my life; I became
An adult in my
family once commented on the bowl of pasta I was eating; from then I started
restricting the foods I ate, and only eating a small amount during any family
gatherings. Restricting the foods I loved made me feel tired, depressed and
cold. When eating outside of my home, I would feel annoyed if I didn’t know what
was going to be for dinner. My solution to that was avoiding any family get-together.
Then came the idea of eating in secret. When everyone was asleep in my house, I
would sneak into the kitchen and binge eat on anything I could see in sight.
Feeling guilty about binge eating, I started throwing up with the hope
that I could lose weight.
By the time it got
to my diagnosis, I was stuck in a vicious cycle of restricting, binge eating
and throwing up. The diagnosis was kept between my parents, my brother, my best
friend, the school, the doctor and I. We decided against telling my extended
family. Why? Why didn’t I want to tell others in the family about it? Because
the extended family had the unhealthy view that all girls should be slim.
Therapy, counselling and medication soon became familiar. Having the CBT helped
me to cope with all my feelings. It helped me with the battle of my unhealthy
relationship with food. It helped me to recover.
Now, food isn’t the
one controlling me; instead it is me controlling my life. My life doesn’t
revolve around food. With the help of my parents, brother, best friend, therapy,
the doctor and the school I can officially say that I recovered. During my
battle with bulimia, I learnt many lifelong lessons, one of which is not
everyone is going to have the same body as everyone is different and being
healthy doesn’t mean having a slim body. Being healthy means feeling
comfortable and happy about your own self.
You have to learn how to live again and, like with any lessons, you often have to fail to learn the best way or the right way...
In the past I’ve wanted to hide the eating disorders that are part of my history, but I want to shout from the rooftops: I'm proud of how far I had come!
I want to shed some light on diet culture and what it drove me to do to myself for eight years. I will never get those eight years back, but what I do know is that I will never put myself through all the self-inflicted pain it took in order to look a certain way.