Me & Anorexia
The first sign of Anorexia appeared for me when I just turned fifteen, in October 2014. Time had passed and I had grown increasingly anxious and unhappy about all the changes occurring in my body due to adolescence. On the outside, I seemed to be totally fine according to my surroundings, but in front of the mirror the reflection appearing made me feel unhappy, no matter what other people would tell me; I felt fat. Since a very young age I had been very active doing sports and I had recently discovered a true passion for long distance running. Being physically active, I knew that there was no risk for me to have any weight problems, but still my complex grew increasingly more important and it was taking over my life. Too many changes were occurring at the same time, more and more, I started to question my appearance and how I would look after this metamorphosis. Being constantly surrounded by Medias telling us how we should look and how we shouldn’t, I felt scared not to be good enough and to be rejected. I decided that there was no other solution than to control those changes. Since the beginning I only had very good intentions, deciding to make sure that I ate very healthily. But I gradually got lost in confusion and I started to eat less and less. I became literally scared of food, scared that the moment it would enter my mouth it would make me blow like a balloon. Mealtime became an enemy for me, and controlling what I was going to eat became the only reason for me to get up in the morning. Every day I drew back into my world of isolation, in which I was all alone with a little voice telling me what I was allowed to eat or not. This little terrorist had taken power over me. I was getting more and more tired, sometimes I even felt dizzy and my performance in running was not improving either. This upset me a lot but I couldn’t eat, the terrorist said no.
I didn’t possibly understand why I felt so sad and absent-minded now that I had that control. I wasn’t being myself and although I tried, I couldn’t hide it. My mother slowly realized that my way of eating had changed and that it wasn’t at all suitable for the amount of sport I was doing. She tempted to warn me but I did not want to listen. I felt harassed and I was scared she would take away from me this control I was holding on so tight. Time passed and I had already lost three kilos, when I got a serious stomach flew which made me loose five additional kilos. At that time my mother seriously banged at my door and woke me up, in a rather harsh and straight forward manner. But miraculously that’s how she brought me back to reality and made me take my first step to recovery. I was scared to let go of the control the terrorist was offering me but somehow, I knew deep down, that I had to trust my mother. In addition, the new reflection in the mirror told me that this was not how I truly wanted to be. I was battling my way out of the grasps of my terrorist, admitting my disease and determined to get help.
After staying a few days in Hospital, to make sure that I was in good conditions, with the entire support of my school, my friends and my family, I started taking regularly part in supervised groups in wish I was able to share my situation with other people having similar problems. By this mean I was able to learn more myself about what was happening to me, and realized most importantly, that I wasn’t alone. I tried to stay as open as possible about my terrorist because I was aware that isolation was a true danger. I wasn’t yet stronger than him and he could easily make me fall down the stairs again. I knew that staying honest and talking about it would be a security against forgetfulness. Anorexia is in fact, a disease which puts you in constant denial and the best way to act against it, primarily, is to stay honest to yourself and others. This is what saved me from never setting free from the lie I lived in. With the help of a nutritionist, I learnt to overcome my fear of food and I slowly started to enjoy it again. She gave me enough information to get back to a healthy weight again, but still, the unrealistic fear of getting fat was still anchored deep down in me. I then met Claudia Krumme who worked with me at a psychological level to help me overcome my fears. I gradually became more aware that the little voice commanding me was in fact Anorexia. I became stronger than the terrorist, and I finally was able to tell him off. I started to work on myself, trying to understand the roots of my disease.
Through Mrs. Krumme’s process of working, involving the analysis of feelings of the individual, I finally learnt one essential thing. I realized that all the love of the world would not be enough to make me happy, until I would start accepting and loving myself first. People believing in me wouldn’t bring me faith until I would start to believe in myself. I realized that finally I was entirely alone, no one could make me decide to make me gain weight or change my state of mind apart from myself. I was the pill who could cure the illness. That was as far as my surroundings could lead me. I had to trust myself, have the courage to let go of my fears and make my steps, even if the road would be long and hard. Soon enough I decided that I had to use the same intense determination with which I had come down this sinister hole, to come back up again. I personally have to say that having clear goals helped me a lot. I want to lead a healthy life, and I want to take my passion for running further. In hard times, I remind myself those goals and they bring me hope and keep me going.
Now waking up in the mornings, I feel I am growing stronger, daring, little by little, to let go from all my fears. I acknowledge the fact that I haven’t yet reached the end of the path of my recovery. The biggest part of it is yet to come: accepting myself just as I am. This step is indisputably one that each human being has to take, in order to survive throughout the life he has been given. I can see a very positive prospect in the course of my experience with Anorexia; my personal issues becoming so dominant over my existence at a rather young age, I realized that life has already given me a chance to learn the skill of acceptance of oneself, a skill which most of the people only attain towards the middle of their lives. Similarly, life has given me the opportunity to aquire serenity, tolerance, confidence and trust in myself, a challenge that I am willing to take. It wants me now, to let my mind come to peace with my body, a body with which I am destined to live with until the very last day. As to this day, I learnt not to suppress it. On the contrary, I am aware that throughout my life, in difficult time involving stress, anxiousness and doubt, he will be there to hunt me again telling me I am not good enough whatever I do.
In those hard times, I manage to detect this terrorist, I analyze what he tells me but most importantly I do NOT listen to him. I give myself the choice of not giving it any importance and that is precisely what makes my strength. The healthy part of me has taken back the lead. I realized that Health, Happiness and my passion for running are much more important to me than the vicious quest of being the skinniest possible.
I am thankful for all the support I am given and I consider myself unbelievably lucky to be supported by such caring people. I want to thank my family, the school staff for their amazing support, and Claudia Krumme for her help and guidance. But I am particularly grateful to my mother who since the first day was determined to help me defeat my little terrorist.