My story with anorexia

Please note: this is my very own personal story and everybody is different and feels different; if some can relate or recognize a comportment or way to think in my story doesn't automatically mean illness, nor recovering.

It all began at the age of 7 years old when I started to feel and see myself as "chubby". I would always complain to my mom about my size. After two months of suffering just from looking at myself in the mirror, my mother became concerned and took me to a dietician. After weighing and measuring me, we discussed my eating habits and ways I can improve them. In essence, she explained to me what clean eating looked like.

My BMI (body mass index) was in fact within the normal range, and my eating habits were acceptable for kids my age, but she threw some basic health suggestions, such as trading in sweets for greens. This was no drastic change in diet, but it was a first step in changing it.

The summer between 5th and 6th grade (2 years later), I began to harmlessly cut off different foods from my diet, which caused me my first strong weight loss. Although now it is clear to see -for the people around me- that I was borderline bony and emaciated at the time, I myself was seeing a whole other show. The numbers on the scale were clearly getting down but I was unable to see my figure changing. This got worse each week. Thankfully, my parents reacted quickly and took me to an eating disorder specialist who diagnosed anorexia and whom I saw every month for about 2 years. The appointment consisted of talking about how was I feeling, what was I eating, what was going on at home or at school. Each session ended with weighing myself.

Things always have been good at home, and I'm blessed with amazing parents who do everything for me and my siblings. We have everything we need and want within the realm of possibility, however at school people that I've never even seen before started to spread rumors about me. At first, I strangely enjoyed the attention and popularity I was getting, but it soon went way too far as only fake and bad things about me were going around. Soon enough, I felt as if I couldn't face anyone at my school anymore. These false rumors created fights between me and my best friends. Everything got out of control, and in my 13 years old mind it was very tough and hard to handle such pressure, so I simply couldn't go to school anymore and had to drop out.

In the meanwhile, my eating habits grew worse and worse, and I lost over 20 pounds, putting me in at an extremely unhealthy weight. My parents were very understanding and did what I believe was the right decision - they didn't force me to go to school right away. However the harm was done and I felt completely devastated, and as my mind was influencing on my eating, I eventually ended up eating nearly nothing. This made me lose an insane amount of weight in an extremely short time. I was barely able to walk by myself, I could never get warm anymore, I could not remember things, or focus on anything, my brain and my body needed energy, meaning food. The doctor decided that it was time for me to receive real hospital care on a daily basis, and so I was hospitalized.

I lived at the hospital for several months, which was undeniably hard, because I was cut off from any connection with my family and people that I love. There, I saw things that one should not see, especially at the age of 13 years old, but in the end I needed this care, and I am grateful for my family to have reacted the way they did. I've actually even made friends there that are still in my life.

After reaching a weight that was no longer dangerous, I was able to go back home to my family. Still, I kept going to hospital once a week for a while, and I met the psychologist from the hospital every week. Every month, I met with the child psychiatrist that had been helping me out at the hospital, for many years after.

When I went back to school, everybody pretended to be kind for a while until it all restarted. I did care because I didn't understand why would they do this, but I had my friends and I felt more confident even though it took years for my weight to get stable, I coud work on my mind to not let my weight or physical health being affected and I knew myself a little better and was focusing on catching up with the school year I missed not to repeat my 8th grade. I wasn't completely happy, but was able to keep it together.

I wasn't healed from anorexia still, my relationship with food was complicated, but manageable.

I used to impose myself “rules” like never refill my plate, or not more than a certain amount of calories, certain foods were completely forbidden and stuff like this.

The way I was seeing myself started to change, I could see me – the real me – in the mirror, but as soon as I'd eat, I suddenly will get bigger (through my eyes).

This relationship with my body and food went on and on for a very long time.

Today, I am perfectly healthy, feel totally good, and haven't felt guilty after eating for years. I no longer fear my next meal, instead I see myself as I am, and have learned to accept me and love me for who I am inside and outside.

Nothing else than me really healed me, I received help, and it did help and most likely saved my life, but it was “help”, not a cure.

I believe that exercising helped me a lot with my relationship with my body, and the benefits were much more than physical.

I believe that traveling and meeting totally different people from all around the world taught me a lot about life, and about myself.

I believe that changing my diet to a plant-based one helped me understand what the human body really needs and why, and taught me how to take care of myself in the best way possible.

I believe that my family, my friends, and my boyfriend have taught me a lot about humanity and love and helped me healed my mind.

Many things have helped me go through this challenge, and I hope that sharing my story can help people who relate to my struggle and show them that there is always good in the bad, no matter what.


Joanna xx