My story begins at age four. I was extremely underweight for my height and age; however, my grandmother told me I had “arms like ham” and was “getting chubby.” I spent my entire childhood surrounded by weight stigma—whether it was from my grandmother constantly telling me to “go on a diet” or comparing my own body to my friends’, I don’t really know.
At twelve, I went on what I described as a “very strict diet.” I had no clue about what anorexia was. I thought it was when someone literally never ate anything due to some underlying emotional problem, when, in reality, according to my personal understanding and experience, it’s a disease that manifests in the mind; an utter fear of weight gain. It does not have a specific physical appearance. It does not pick particular races or genders.
My “diet” left me with a failing liver, a problematic heart, hair loss, I actually started cutting my food into tiny pieces to make sure I was not eating much; social gatherings became a nightmare. I went into treatment for anorexia and fully came to terms with my disease, and began to believe that I did not choose this. Anorexia was like a light switch that lived inside my brain, turned off for most of my life. The stigma surrounding my weight is what turned it on.
For me, I will never turn my anorexia off. It’s always going to be a struggle. I can, however, dim the lights. Now, at sixteen, I remain recovered without relapse. Although every day I see girls in magazines and in person with tiny waists, I am fighting. I am alive. I almost lost my life, and my life is much more important than my weight. Someday, I think I will 100% believe I am beautiful, and I will do that on my own terms, without the help of a boy or Instagram likes. Until then, I remain a sixteen-year-old girl still surrounded by weight stigma and slowly, but surely, learning to be comfortable with myself.
Here are some of the treatments one with anorexia would have to go through with:
Hospitalization and other programs: If your life is in immediate danger, you may need treatment in a hospital emergency room for such issues as a heart rhythm disturbance, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or a psychiatric emergency. Hospitalization may be required for medical complications, severe psychiatric problems, severe malnutrition or continued refusal to eat.
Medical care: Because of the host of complications anorexia causes, you may need frequent monitoring of vital signs, hydration level and electrolytes, as well as related physical conditions. In severe cases, people with anorexia may initially require feeding through a tube that’s placed in their nose and goes to the stomach (nasogastric tube).
Restoring a healthy weight: You can’t recover from anorexia without returning to a healthy weight and learning proper nutrition. A dietician primary care doctor, psychologist and family can be of very much help.
Medications: No medications are approved to treat anorexia because none has been found to work very well. However, antidepressants or other psychiatric medications can help treat other mental health disorders you may also have, such as depression or anxiety.
Well I think we should be careful with what we say not that you are wrong but you do not know how the person you spoke to received the message. My grandma’s words, though not wrong, made me this way, but all is well. I still love you grandma.
Written by Miss Dada
Edited by Onyinye