recovery

Movie : To The Bone

Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 have anorexia, and 1 to 3 percent of college-age women have bulimia. In addition to these clinically recognized conditions, there is a virtual epidemic of “subclinical” eating disorders among American women, many of whom do not meet the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia – such as bingeing, purging, and fasting, or abusing laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics – to keep their weight under control.

There has been a great deal of speculation about just what other factors – besides a cultural emphasis on thinness and the difficulty women have losing pounds – prompt some women to develop eating disorders while others manage to avoid them. One factor is occupational: eating disorders are common in women whose livelihood depends on thinness or appearance – for example, dancers, models, actresses, gymnasts, figure skaters, long distance runners, and jockeys.

Eating disorders can last a lifetime for some people. The thoughts, patterns, and habits that were developed during the disorder are hard to get over and a lot of individuals who are “weight restored” can still struggle with the same mentality that was present during the ED.

I have been very open about how I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since 4 years. It started out with me restricting food because I wanted to lose weight and feel better, but soon I became obsessed with my results and began to starve myself. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and, soon enough, my health began to deteriorate. I lost my period for three years, my hair started falling out, I was tired all the time, I was isolating myself.

My obsession with food and exercise lasted for about 2 years. I started recovery with the help of my golf coach, family, friends, and doctors. What I needed was a massive amount of support from the people closest to me and I was lucky enough to have friends who really cared about me and helped me with the recovery process. I also went to a nutritionist, which I believe was the best thing I could have done, who helped me throughout the weight gain process.

verywellmind.com

Since the last year, however, I am at a very uncertain place with regards to how I feel about my body and myself. I know I’m not the only one though, I know so many girls, around my age, who struggle with the same thoughts and patterns and have even partaken in some type of disordered eating. I feel especially upset about how social media portrays women and how we are forced to believe, since a very young age, that there is only one body type that is beautiful. Girls are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or “worth it”, just because they aren’t a size 0.

It’s so upsetting to see how girls as young as 9 are dieting and starving themselves because they want to be “pretty”. This is the kind of mindset I had for a very long time and I strongly believe that social media played a very strong role in shaping the way I thought of myself in such a negative light. It is so wrong to believe that being “pretty” comes in only one size and shape. I know countless girls who are so confident and happy with themselves and how they look even if they aren’t a size 0. It takes a lot to be truly happy with they way you look in our society today, especially when we are constantly told that we can’t love ourselves if we don’t look a certain way.

We are so much more than what we look in the mirror. Instead of striving to be skinny for the wrong reasons, we should pay more attention to keeping our bodies and minds healthy by staying balanced and doing the best we can. This means focusing on not only eating healthy and nutritious food, but also meditating, reading a book, and exercising to FEEL GOOD, rather than tiring yourself every day to look a certain way.

Carlson, Karen J et al. The Harvard Guide To Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 1996.

mental health

Last year was things started to get particularly bad for me. When college started I felt helpless and alone. I was in a completely new place where I didn’t know anyone, I missed home, missed my friends – the last place I wanted to be was in a new environment that was so different from what I was used to.

Depression is different for everyone. Deep down I knew I wasn’t as happy as I used to be but I ignored how I was feeling – thinking that it will get better over time. But it only got worse. As the weeks continued, I started to feel miserable. It was the worst kind of pain I’ve ever felt.

If you know me, you know that I’m a positive person. I want to make people happy and feel good about themselves. However, things started to change and I started to feel bitterness towards the people who wanted the best for me. I stopped feeling like myself. I stopped recognising myself when I looked at pictures and in the mirror. It was as if I was looking at a meaner, evil version of myself. I didn’t have any interest in doing things I used to love. My feelings of hopelessness were constant and over time I started to normalise the sadness I felt.

My psychiatrist diagnosed me with chronic depression and prescribed me medication. I had always been someone who was against taking medication but as things got worse knew it was something I had to try.

It’s been almost 2 months since I started taking antidepressants and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. I’m starting to enjoy doing things and activities that I stopped liking. Some mornings, I feel excited about the day ahead of me. This is a big change from the person I was a few months ago – someone who would struggle to get out of bed and start the day, someone who would avoid meeting her closest friends, someone who would push people away, someone who would forget to call her loved ones for weeks.

The best thing that I did for myself was to go and get help. I started going to therapy and eventually went to a psychiatrist. I know depression is something that a lot of us struggle with. Some depressive episodes last for a few days but sometimes they can last for weeks and even months. Talking about how you feel with a friend, family member, or a professional is essential and can really shift your mindset.

the last few months have been hard. i started college, moved to a different country, lost some friends, made new ones, and went through a lot of breakdowns almost every week.

i’ve been struggling. see the thing is that even when you “recover” from an eating disorder, you never really do. the thoughts, the constant fixation on the way you look in that crop top, the continuous thinking about what others are eating and what they’re not, is always on the back of your mind. i’ve dealt with comments from my parents, my friends, relatives, strangers – change the way you look. at every single body weight, i’ve never been enough “too fat, too skinny, no curves, thunder thighs”.

i’m 17, a teenage girl. it’s obvious that i will care too much about what other people think. we judge others without even knowing that we do – it’s human nature. sometimes i feel like i will struggle with this for the rest of my life. use food to punish myself, use it to treat myself, use it to make me feel worse, use it to make me feel better. i just wish i was ‘normal’. i see girls everywhere and i can’t help but compare myself to them. i have days where i’m so happy with my body and i couldn’t care less about anyone else, because on those days only my opinion matters and i feel good about myself. but on the other days i’m under a grey cloud and i can’t think or focus or talk to anyone. i can never be “enough”.

on the bad days, i push people away. i ignore my friends, my family, never open my messages, and i find it hard to approach people. on those days everything is tinted grey, that’s when the thoughts start to go from bad to worse. you can talk to people about your worries and problems and that can make you feel better but in the end you’re the only one who can make the changes to make you feel better. you’re the only one who’s got the power to change the way you think.

Ana

Towards the end of my school year in 9th grade, I started to go to the gym with a trainer and within weeks the weight came off unknowingly. My clothes were fitting me better, I felt stronger, and I was starting to get attention from people all around me. I remember feeling so happy about my body for the first time in my life, I figured that if I worked harder, my results would be better.

After a few months although, I created certain ‘food rules’ for myself that I followed religiously for 3 weeks. My exams were going on during this time and when I went back to the golf club after they ended, the amount of attention I got was overwhelming. People were telling me how I great I looked and that I looked much better than before. I didn’t know back then that I was starting to fall into the traps of Anorexia Nervosa, but fast forward to 4 months and I weighed 40 pounds lesser than I did before. I continued to get a large amount of attention, but this time everyone around me was worried.

During my lowest points, I spent every single hour of every single day thinking about how many calories I’d eaten, planning how I would skip my next meal, and figuring out how I could be more active. I spent most of my time fighting with family members, arguments were a daily ritual, but I still didn’t do anything to get better. In my head, everything was fine and I chose to believe that they were just jealous of me.

I only started recovery towards the end of 10th grade, when my golf coach told me to go to a nutritionist and get help. A month after I went to her, I started to get better, I felt stronger, I was happier, I started to do things for myself and actually began to take better care of my health.

It’s not that I decided to make the change right after I decided to get help. Recovery was an extremely long process and it took me a very very long time to actually listen to what everyone was saying around me.

I remember how terrible my life was when I was anorexic, seriously. It’s like I cared about only one thing in my life and that was to get thinner and thinner and just be as skinny and bony as I could be. I drove myself and everyone around me crazy. I lost 2 years of my teenage life being obsessed about what everyone thought of me.

(pt. 2 coming soon)