The pressure to be "perfect"
I ate whatever I wanted and I enjoyed life. I was an active teenager, walking to the bus stop before school, walking home from my bus stop (10 minutes), playing netball and just walking but we all know you can't work out and eat whatever you want and expect to have the "perfect" body. I would eat chocolate, ice cream, cereal, pizza, cakes, choc chip cookies and muffins, the occasional fruit and veggies, big servings of lunch and dinner, snacking all day every hour, soda drinks and just feeding my body with the wrong things.
It was then in 2011 when I felt the pressure to be "perfect" by everything around me. I would flip through tons of magazines, seeing celebrities and models, skinny and lean with perfect sun-kissed skin. I would read articles that documented celebrity's diets and workout routine, to show how they can attain her flat stomach and toned legs. On every page there were airbrushed images of flawless models in advertisements. I thought all of this was beauty, perfect, and i wanted to be like that. I had such a desire to be "perfect" that I ended up in a hospital bed for 4 weeks because I thought that beauty = skinny and skinny = happy. But boy was i wrong.
I slowly started to reduce my daily calorie intake. 2000 down to 1200, down to 800, down to 500, then finally down to 0. Yep I stopped eating. I wanted to lose weight because I was fat. 65kg with a BMI of 20.4. Not fat at all but to me I was obese. There was this little voice in the back of my head yelling "you're fat", "you're worthless", "fat ass". The demon who gave me the idea to not eat was called "Ana". I believed her: I was fat, she was right.
Okay so this was my plan: don't eat at all, drink water, chew sugar-free gum and exercise. PERFECT. I would definitely lose weight with this control and i would be so happy and confident, but i got the opposite. At this time i had no idea about eating disorders; i was oblivious to them.
To cut my story short, basically I didn't eat anything for 5 whole weeks except for when my mum forced me to eat something. I told her to give me 1 celery stalk and even when I ate that I quickly went for a brisk walk to burn it off. A celery stalk? A bit embarrassing to say now.
I was hiding food in my room, pretending that i ate, throw my lunches out at school, and i was pretending to eat by putting crumbs on plates etc. I would also feed my dog the food. I got into baking, excessive exercise, starving and calorie counting. I would run up and down the stairs for hours at night. I had a ritual that I followed which was that every night I had to do 200 jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups etc. I would go for a walk every day for hours and it got to the point where I would pretend to my mum that I was sick so I wouldn't have to go to school so I could exercise.
I stopped seeing my friends on weekends and stopped going to parties. I became isolated because i thought i was too fat for the public. I would bake cupcakes, pancakes, cookies and feed them to my family and I would feel so in control when I resisted them.
My friends and family soon realised something was wrong with me and wanted me to get help. My mum took me to an eating disorder clinic, to a doctor where I was weighed and tested. My liver and heart was failing, my hair was falling out, I lost my period, my fingers and lips were purple, I was freezing cold every day even on 30 degree days, my nails were brittle, my blood stopped flowing through my body, my organs were shutting down, my muscle was getting eaten away, I had low blood pressure, I had bruises all over my body and I had a whole bunch of other things too but i won't say them. Sounds beautiful. Perfect? No, this is the outcome of a stupid eating disorder.
I was then diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 51kg. But i didn't think i was sick. I was too fat to be sick. I was healthy (so i thought). I wasn't alowed to go to school for a whole term!
Everyone around me thought I was getting better. I was such a good liar and a master at hiding everything from food to my emotions. I continued to exercise and hide my food but my family thought I was getting better. 3 weeks had passed and we went back to the doctor and that was the day, November 14, when I was told I was getting admitted into hospital as impatient at 47.4kg. I cried and cried. I didn't want to go.
I was in hospital for 4 weeks with a tube down my throat feeding me. Every day was a struggle, but I am lucky that I am surrounded with such an amazing group of friends and family who support me in every way possible throughout the journey. I made a bunch of friends in hospital who i still see today.
I am now currently going to monthly doctor appointments as well as therapy sessions. I have relapsed a couple of times and i still have some bad body image days but i have come to embrace my body and flaws and i know that i am beautiful for who i am, not for what i look like. I am on my way to a healthy life :)