We recently received an email from Charmaine, sharing her journey from anorexia to bulimia and at last, to health. She hopes that by speaking out, she can reach out to those who are currently suffering in silence and let them know they are not alone. This is her story:
“Hi, I'm Charmaine and I just wanted to share what I went through.
It started when I was 16. Being one of the taller girls in school, I was occasionally referred to as ‘big-sized’ by some of the guys. As much as how most would argue that I was a skinny-looking girl, I started feeling self-conscious about my weight. I was always heavier than most girls around me, given my height. Back then, it was always about the numbers on the scale, and how skinny your arms are. I remember always trying to wrap my thumb and middle finger around my arms to see if they'll touch. It became an obsession. An obsession to become thinner and thinner.
I went through different diets to drastically lose weight. Most of them involved a significant calorie deficit or restriction of certain food groups. It got addictive and being a person of both extremes, I started becoming anorexic. I was eating very little and lost a huge amount of weight. My clothes started to look baggy on me, eyes sunken, cheekbones protruding, pelvis edging through my skin, hair falling off day by day.
And then I got scared and snapped out of it. I realized that I needed to eat again. So I started eating. But I was unhappy as the number on the scale increased bit by bit. Frustrated, I started to binge, thinking that since nothing seemed to work, I might as well stuff my face. And then I’d feel guilty of letting myself do so and succumb to throwing it up. It became a habit as it seemed to be the easiest solution at that time. I was bulimic.
It has been a crazy roller coaster ride over the years. There are long periods where I thought that it's gone but it comes back kicking me in the face again and again every time someone makes a negative comment about my body. It has always been only me fighting it alone because I was always afraid of what others would think about me, afraid of hearing comments from people who don't understand.
Over time, I realized that the issue doesn't lie within comments from others. It was all in me, my self-consciousness and lack of confidence that led to this struggle. I want to share this because I know there are a lot more people out there who are struggling alone. I want them to know that they are not alone and they can always reach out.”
We hope for eating disorders and depression to become less of a taboo topic, and that those currently struggling find the courage to speak out and seek help.
If you’d like to talk to Charmaine, you can DM her on Instagram @kuihkapit.
If you’d like to share your story, you can email our Unicorn at firstname.lastname@example.org.