I beat anorexia and I’ll try telling you how
I’ve joined a writer’s group. Actually, I created one together with two friends. We each are writing a book that is deeply personal in one way or another. One is writing about environmental protection, the other a psychological thriller, and I – I am re-writing the diary I kept during my uphill battle with anorexia.
It was a long time ago. I was 14 and 15 at the time. Now, it doesn’t even feel like it was me who battled the eating disorder and fought the depression that goes with it. Truth be told, it wasn’t just me who battled. But I have the diary and ever since I wrote that final page I knew one day I would write a reflective account of this hole in my life for the benefit of families who may be going through the pain of what mine endured (according to statistics, it will happen to one in 100). I would write it for the benefit of psychologists too. God knows the one I saw during that period of my life could’ve used the insight.
Last year I met child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. He was guest speaker at a health and well-being conference I attended. During his presentation he said that, in his opinion, anorexia is the most gut-wrenching mental health issue to witness, and for two reasons: one, because still no one knows what causes it; and two, because of the suffering it causes. Dr Carr-Gregg explained anorexia as the “psychological disembowelment” of a whole family. How true. I knew it was time to write the book.
So, our writer’s group has been established to hold us accountable to our goals. I have been intending to write this book for nearly 15 years, and now I am ready. One chapter at a time – or in my case, one day of the diary at a time – we will complete our books. Maybe we will be published. One can only hope.
My story certainly is hopeful. This book will not be a self-pitying dive into despair. It will not detail the exercise routine or eating habits of my former self. But it will not be sparing in regard to my inner turmoil either. My book will attempt to shed some light on the possible causes of anorexia (even if I still don’t understand it myself). It will explore the few months from which I became acutely aware that people were gravely worried about me (even people I’d never met before) to eventually deciding to change; to release myself from the self-imposed prison I was living in – with all its controls, rules and limitations – and to walk free towards my future again.