This is a story I feel is impartial to talk about. It must be said and expressed to relieve a heavy burden off my shoulders, and maybe that of many others reading this and are passing through the same struggle.
Bulimia Nervosa, also known simply as bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time. Purging refers to the attempts to get rid of the food consumed. This may be done by vomiting or by taking laxatives.
I suffered from bulimia for many years and I couldn’t talk about it or share it with anyone because I was too ashamed of myself. I was opposed of just talking and expressing my extreme issue to be able to live a normal life and eat normally without either overeating or literally starving myself to the point where I would just faint. It was very hard to struggle and fight this alone. What scared me the most was the fear of dying while vomiting into a toilet due to a stomach rupture or something, as I used to read on the internet.
My struggle with bulimia has been going on for almost 10 years. There were some very active phases, and there were some dormant ones that lasted days or even weeks to months. It started when I was 17. I was in high school age and, as far as I remember, I was chubby. I was told that by almost everyone, and it never seemed to bother me when I was a little girl but, as I moved into my teenage years, I just failed to lose all that fat.
My love for food was increasing and my desire for chocolates was becoming a daily routine. As I got to the age of 18, I transitioned from being a chubby girl to being overweight. People I loved constantly reminded me of this. I expected them to be my backbone, but I was always being told, “You’re a young, vibrant, beautiful young lady. Why are you wasting your youth in your weight and hiding beneath baggy clothes?”
There were times where I was called a tomboy because of the way I dressed. I must admit I was never able to dress up and be fashionable like a normal teenaged girl because the clothes for my age never fit me right and I always had to shop from women’s departments. This lead to the horrific dilemma of not looking my age.
As time passed and I grew older, I would get invited to parties or weddings, outings, holidays and all those exciting events you cannot miss out on. It was the age and time to do so before responsibility takes control as years pass by. But it would always turn into a nightmare as I would never have anything suitable to wear for the event at hand.
I started dieting, which was a complete failure because I just could not abide by the rules. When I got hungry, I would eat almost anything and everything I could find in the kitchen. The diet deprived my body of certain nutrients and that made me eat in a horrific fashion.
I had to take a stand with what I was doing and to where I was going, until I reached a point where I would starve myself and only drink water and have a piece of fruit all day. Yes, I started to lose weight, but my body was just not getting enough nutrition and that made me crave all sorts of food.
That was the starting point. I would just eat, eat, eat, to the point where I would feel my intestines where going to explode and I would rush to the bathroom. It was a manic, vicious and never-ending cycle, and it affected my health, my self-esteem and my self-control and coordination. The phases of so called binging and purging would make me feel like a failure, with no control or will to fight and stand up and be brave. I just couldn’t.
I reached a point where I had to take immediate action, or face a fatal ending. I had to talk. I had to express this inner devilish hatred I had for myself and my self-image which made me give up and eat at any moment. In Arab cultures and communities, we do not have the freedom to talk and express ourselves like other cultures do. Once a woman is struck with such a disorder, she feels guilty and ashamed, until a peak in her struggle is reached where it’s no longer possible to handle and a medical intervention becomes crucial.
This is a medical condition I have talked about, have seen, have heard, have had and have treated, which makes me stand up today and speak.
If you believe you have Bulimia Nervosa, it’s not a sin nor a crime. It’s a disease that is more mental than physiological, and that you should adamantly stand up to and seek medical advice and assistance for.
You must know you are not alone. There are many women around you who are trapped, scared and waiting for a helping hand to reach out to them and tell them, “You are not alone.” In turn, you will help others and have a passive role to play in the treatment of someone else.
You have to voice your truth. Speak and unleash and have a stand towards yourselves and say, “I am a fighter!“
Your inner beauty, your pretty mind and your beautiful soul are what reflect on you and make you shine, not your outer image.
When there is a will, there is always a way out.
LOVE YOURSELF enough to take actions required for your happiness.
LOVE YOURSELF enough to cut yourself loose from the ties of the drama-filled past.
LOVE YOURSELF enough to MOVE ON.
This is a message to every woman in need. Your biggest enemy is yourself. Learn to love yourself.
I was there one day. I fought this battle and took a stand, and I made my voice heard. I hold my head high today and say, “Yes! I was Bulimic!”