Perspectives

Will the Real “ME” Please Stand Up? – A Holistic Approach to Self-Discovery and Self-Acceptance

        

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So, what’s in a plan, anyway?

In short – the answer is NOTHING. But, it took me a while to realize and fully understand this.

I thought that my plans defined me, and when I deviated from them it automatically meant failure; as a person, in my beliefs, and every part of my being. My plans were what made me proud, made me feel like I was successful, and made me feel complete. 

Fitbit Shackles, Candy Crush, and Dopamine

             

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I was watching my doctor type when my heart dropped. Around her already slim wrist, just under the sleeve of her white lab coat, was a black Fitbit.

I felt physically sick.

I’ve seen my GP for a few months now and overall I really liked her. She listened to my needs, didn’t have the fake “concerned” face when I described my struggles, and laughed when I made stupid jokes. But seeing this Fitbit? I started to re-evaluate everything.

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

                

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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.

Writing My Recovery

 

I recently decided to tackle the subject of my eating disorder in a play. I signed up for a weekend workshop and committed myself to exploring an idea about developing a one man show. Now, over the 10 plus years of my journey with this eating disorder, I have tried this before. I’ve always felt the desire and drive to write a show about this profound experience of being at war with myself – but I’d never managed to do it. So often, the material was just too close; I was still too deep into it. I couldn’t find a voice that had any perspective. It all came out cliché, or every word was so laboured over that it didn’t sound like me.

 

To the Women in My Life..

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Although the majority of my life I have suffered from other forms of mental illness, I have never had an eating disorder diagnosis. Having many female family members who have suffered from chronic dieting and disordered eating, I was always conscious of my body and my weight but never acted on changing it other than by trying to stay as healthy as possible. Growing up in an environment where everyone around me hated their bodies and resented food was difficult and hard to understand.

Time is Your New Best Friend!

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My beautiful, kind niece contacted me the other day. She had sent a text message sharing how she was struggling with her self-confidence. A couple of things entered my mind at that moment: how very proud I was of her to reach out to someone, followed immediately by the question ‘what was I going to share with her?’ This conversation was very important to me, so before picking up the phone I took the time to reflect back on my own experience over the past 8 years. I thought about what had made an impact on me in hopes it would provide the same impact for her.

"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.

The Last Stronghold: Exercise Addiction

One of my eating disorder’s last “strongholds” was exercise addiction.

But truthfully, I’m not sure if exercise addiction is the right word. You see, I was “working out” 3 times a week, and certainly not in a way that outsiders would see as excessive. But it was the thoughts and motivation behind exercise that called it into question.

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