I read your article on Richa Chadha and I wished to share my story as well.
I’m an 18-year-old girl, fresh out of high school. The last year of school was traumatising in the truest sense. A breakup with my boyfriend as well as my best friend, along with the pressure to perform well in the Board exams caused me to feel powerless and I sought control over something, anything at all, solely so that I could feel ‘in control’ again. Sadly, my subconscious decided that it would be my weight.
I was suffering from a negative body image as it is when I decided to skip one meal a day, every day. Sometimes it was breakfast, at other times lunch. People around me noticed as I lost the glow of my skin, the colour of my eyes. They warned me as my arms began to resemble feeble twigs and my shoulder bones poked through whatever skin I had left. I, however, still ‘felt fat’ every time I looked into the mirror. I was a student of psychology, fully educated about eating disorders — how did I allow myself to develop anorexia?
It soon got so bad that I spat out every single piece of sweet fed to me on the day of Raksha Bandhan by my brothers. One day while at my friend’s farmhouse I ate only two or three feeble rotis and a bowl of dal in the entire day; once home I brisk-walked for an hour. The next day during class my vision blurred and my head spun as my ears stopped processing sound altogether. My body fell limp onto the desk in front of me, deprived of nutrients and energy. My mother was called who then drove me home. The very next day I began the same routine again, ignoring the cries of my wasted body.
Every day in my journal I admitted to myself that I had an eating disorder, but I didn’t try to drag myself out. At the time, the disorder was my friend, helping me look gorgeous, or so I thought. Little did I know that I looked like I would break in two if someone sneezed around me.
Finally, around the start of September, it dawned on me that I hadn’t had my period for two whole months. I was definitely not pregnant, so I googled it. The search results told me what I’d already known; my denial had nearly cost me my life. I immediately ran out my room, filled my plate with more food than I’d ever eaten in a meal in the past many weeks and ate. I ate until I was full, and I didn’t feel bad about it. That day I decided to bring myself back to life.
The recovery was a roller coaster of emotions; many times I wanted to stop, many times I regretted it. But I went on because in my heart of hearts I knew I needed to. Finishing box after box of besan laddoos to put meat on my frail body again might have been fun, but I’d never choose to go through this ever again. I brought myself to a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 19-20 from a precarious 17.
A month or two ago I came across a picture I’d clicked during the “dark days” as I call them. I screamed but no sound was heard as tears poured out of my eyes. “I let that happen to myself?” was the only thought resonating in my head over and over again. The next one was, “never again.”
I’m now healthy. I eat right and healthy, and I exercise and dance when I want to. The experience gave me severe anxiety issues and I went to a psychologist a couple of times before realising that I didn’t need her. I got back on my own feet with the help of my mother, my brother and my best friend, the three guardian angels I have. Sometimes I get anxious and panicky, I cry and lose my temper, but they are only vestiges of a horrendous few months that will soon be history, and this history will never repeat itself — I shall make sure of it.
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