by Devina Gunawan
Anorexia never goes away. Once it gets to you, it will stay. It is not just there for fun, it will ruin you for life.
I was stressed out in high school. I had just moved to a new school and I was not exactly liked by my peers. It was everything in one: different cultures, different languages, different views upon things, different trends, different people.
And growing up a dancer, I found myself most relaxed in my dance routines. Also, as a part of trying to blend in, I had joined the track and field club.
It was in running and dancing that I got to release my anger and sadness. It was in those activities I could forget how sad I was and how depressing everything was.
So I fell into hours of dance routines and running. Everyday. Whenever I could. Whenever I got the chance.
I grew thinner and thinner. I never increased my food intake.
So I kept a steady amount of calories coming in while burning off more and more.
I was thin. And I had no idea.
It took my mother months to convince me that I had a problem.
And what started as just a way of getting stress off became a constant need to burn off ‘enough calories’ to satisfy my everyday routine. It felt as if burning off enough calories meant that I had done enough workout to cheer myself up.
And then came the satisfaction of fitting into tiny clothes. Of knowing that my then-boyfriend, who was very thin as well, could carry me.
It was self destructive, but I didn’t see it. I could not understand how it ruined me.
After some time, without understanding what my mom really meant, I gave up to all her nagging and decided to stop over exercising.
And awhile later, I started seeing on media what anorexia was. I saw women losing weight by not eating or throwing up. I thought, “That’s not me.” Although I could not deny, my figure was starting to follow theirs.
It was difficult for me to stop completely. And the worst was knowing that I was not burning ‘enough’ calories. I felt lazy. And I started feeling depression creeping back into my life. My only redemption was my track and field practice hours, and I regretted not having more time running every single time.
By the time I realized I had become too thin, I was dating a boy who was very much concerned that I was not ‘eating enough for the amount of exercise I did,’ And he forced me to eat more.
One thing that I had realized over the years, is that when one has a significant other who pays attention to her well being, anorexia will eventually go away. One will have to stand between two choices: someone she loves or her obsession over weight. Or well, sometimes one just feels ashamed enough to stop.
It took a very long time, but I succeeded in saying goodbye to anorexia.
That is what I thought.
Anorexia, as it turns out, will never leave you. It will stick around. It will come back. And what started out as a way to get rid of depression has now become a lifetime of struggles.
A couple of years ago I decided to stop looking at the scales completely. I refuse to look at it and when I have medical checkup, I request the nurse “Please don’t tell me the number.”
Because I know that no matter how “cured” I think I am, the moment I hear the number of how much I weigh, I will eventually start running back to my disorder. And only years after my mother’s and my heart to heart talk did I discover that what I was suffering from was called Anorexia Athletica.
Unfortunately many girls today think it’s the easiest way to lose weight and look fabulous. They think it’s the most convenient way. It’s cheap, for sure. They don’t need personal trainers or hours spent in the gym. It is easy because all one needs to do is starve. But it will follow you for the rest of your life. It will stay.
So it stays in everything. In foods I eat, in body images in magazines, on internet, on TV, and everyone around me. I constantly judge and ask myself if I am fit enough, if I am strong, or if I look okay. And even though I enjoy my meals more and more, I feel horrible guilt following every second after. It simply never stops.
And I know it will never.