‘I know the pain of anorexia'
Every now and again I get told by acquaintances that I've put on weight or become chubby. In their eyes I'm no longer the "hot and skinny" girl they used to see. But what those people don't know is that the girl they remember was a shell of the person I am now. A girl who would eat only 100 calories a day, go to the gym seven days a week for two to three hours to attain an unrealistic goal of being thin.
After years of bullying and fat shaming by society and being told I didn't fit into the ideal beauty standards women are expected to comply with, I pushed and pushed myself until I became anorexic. I know the pain I went through and the torture my body went through. I know the exhaustion I felt from pushing my body to such a point that I would sleep for hours on end because I had starved by body of energy and nutrition.
I remember looking at the photos of me when I was exceptionally thin from starving myself and thinking how fat I was. I look back and feel grateful I am in a better weight range. Next time, before you fat shame someone or make a slight joke about their weight, remember that anorexia can take as little as 21 days to get into and up to seven years to get out of.
Pushing myself to get out of this painful hole in my life was hard and the scars remain. I now suffer from severe bulimia and vomit on average 15 times a week. It was the warped perception anorexia gave me. Bulimia has caused many long term and short term effects for me. Most of the times I pass out after vomiting on my bed because I have no energy, but even more dangerously if I vomit when I'm out and I am driving directly after, I have to pull over because my body begins to collapse and I need to sleep. These are just the short-term effects. The long-term effects have been much worse: it has caused my face to swell, internal bleeding and even sometimes caused problems with my periods.
The journey to recovery is long and hard for me but I am trying my best every day. I am not ashamed to talk about these problems I face because this is me … take it or leave it. Only I can help myself and I am responsible for my health. I don't blame anyone but I do wonder, if I didn't go through years of society's taunts on the perfect image … would I be here? And even though I am here now, will society ever get to a point where we stop forcing individuals into these disorders? The question of when will I recover, and will society stop projecting 'the perfect size' in my lifetime, go hand-in-hand.
Call the National Support Line for eating disorders, 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673), for free confidential support, help and information.
Originally published as 'I know the pain': Anorexia survivor reveals eating disorder battle