Coping

Wife No. 3 in Abu Dhabi - Bulimia and Broken Dreams

                                              

                                                  Photo taken by Maha Khan in Abu Dhabi.

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

I had a very strange childhood. I was born in Belarus and raised in the UK by my father’s mother, and learned many life lessons in very hard ways. I was raised by a grandmother who lived on benefits(British welfare) and enjoyed watching EastEnders (a British sitcom) all the time. She was an addict. My father eventually remarried and was absent from my life. 

The Silent Shame of Bulimia

                

                                                                  Image Credit

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

Unlike anorexia, which is characterized by discipline, restraint, self-sacrifice—traits that society upholds as virtuous—bulimia traffics in a consuming, corrosive sense of shame. After all, there is nothing respectable about gorging yourself past the point of physical discomfort. There is nothing dignified about jamming your fist in your mouth to induce vomiting. Habitually wrapping lies around your self-destructive behavior is far from honorable.

In Defense of Obsession

                                                               Image Credit

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some, please read with caution.

When I look back on my life, I am amazed by some of the things I did and said when I was affected by anorexia. During eighth grade, I became a vegetarian for half a year. While I told my parents it was for humanitarian reasons, it gave me an excuse to only eat the side dishes at meals. 

"Just Eat More"

               

            If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “Just Eat More” thrown at me- well, I might not quite be a millionaire, but I’d certainly have a lump sum saved for a rainy day. Those words would come from all sorts of people around me - my parents (initially), my friends, and the people I’d come to meet routinely at the gym when I told them about my eating concerns. Time and time again, I would be ‘advised’ to simply order more, or to grab an extra piece; or worst of all, a friend at a dinner party would do it for me and give me this look of victory, as if they had accomplished some sort of dignifying act of intervention. Thanks, but it doesn’t quite work like that.

Mental Health is for Everyone

We hear the statistics: one in five people have a mental illness but what does that say about the mental well-being of the other four? Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being. Mental health is something we all can benefit from working towards.  

The Final Entry

For a decade, time consisted of psychologists, psychiatrists, and hospital admissions; one after another. I was slowly losing the battle, but not fully.  A decade of illness finally took its toll on me. I was slowly sinking into a deeper and deeper depression, and feeling real emotions for the first time; especially hurt and anger. 

Trapped Inside Myself

 

I feel like I am trapped inside myself. I am smart, logical and capable. I am a grown woman with a beautiful house, loving husband, and a steady career that is both rewarding and challenging. On top of it all, I have an energetic and adorable puppy. Yet, when it comes to this disorder, I feel out of control, illogical, irrational and...stupid. I know the damage that my actions cause to my body. I know that to someone on the outside it is seemingly simple to just stop.

Cleaning Up and Creating Space

I decided last week to clean out my bedroom and give it a bit of a Spring makeover. I believe it is great to switch things up every once in a while; especially after you mark a new season, as it generally is a time for new beginnings!

I did not imagine that cleaning my room would take as long as it did, but once I started, I began digging up quite a lot of things. Who knew that my moderate-sized bedroom could hold so much stuff? An abundance of papers, photos, schoolwork from elementary school, clothing, old toys...oh yes, you name it! My bedroom essentially was a time capsule of everything that had happened in my life up until now.

What If Body Acceptance Doesn't Work? How About Body Neutrality?

I see a life coach.

The funny thing is, I call her my life coach when I’m doing well. I call her my therapist when I’m doing not-so-well. Because really, she’s one in the same.

According to her — and the firm for which she works — the difference between a therapist and a life coach is just that: where you are in life. If we were looking at a scale that goes from -10 to 10, a therapist would be there for you if you were on the negative side of zero, helping you to reach a healthier, more neutral place. If you’re already there, though, a life coach helps you improve that position, moving you up the scale into more happiness and life satisfaction.

A Worthwhile Journey

 

It didn’t start out as an eating disorder. If you had asked me back then, I would have never admitted to having one. I was a collegiate athlete, studying health…there was no way I would allow something so terrible to ravage my body. I needed my body, and so did my teammates.

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