- Posted January 12, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Unconscious whilst conscious
I am from a cultural Indian family who give much importance not only to the savour of food but also to the methods of preparing, delivering, and of course, consuming food. My family always have plenty to offer and constantly ensure that a shortage of food is never an issue regardless of their financial statuses. Thus, I grew up devouring food and never even attempted to resist cravings.
Ironically, I am currently suffering from the lethal neurological disorder anorexia. Basically,It can happen to anyone.
I was enjoying a holiday after my school graduation when this random mental illness surfaced into my life. In fact, a few months prior to the preliminary stage, I had started to become more conscious of my diet. Although I was conscious of my diet, I was unaware as to why I had kept restricting my food intake. Since it was common among teenage girls my family, friends, and I merely condoned this odd behaviour of mine. At that point in time, I wouldn’t say I was suffering from the eating disorder but I was definitely vulnerable due to my insecurities, which were not significantly apparent at that time. I did not realize I was insecure. It made me inadvertently susceptible to remarks concerning body image. I did not realize that even one startling comment or comparison would result in me surrendering to Anorexia’s mental indoctrination. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.
I chose to stay at home and attend university. My friends didn’t. That was one of my first triggers. Secondly, my university was based on the local system here, which turned out to be completely different from the international system I was exposed to all throughout my life. I hoped to accommodate this change with a positive outlook but I failed to. I despised this change and struggled to adapt. Thirdly, I was very different to the people here in terms of culture, ethnicity, and race. To be frank, everyone around me was relatively skinny. It was in their blood but not in mine. I was told to not care but all I did was compare. This was the most significant contributing triggering signal that gave anorexia the green light to fully consume my mind.
Matters got worse when I realized I didn’t have an outlet. I didn’t have people to talk to so I bottled everything inside. This resulted in tension and stress, which eradicated my rationale thoughts. I grew apart from the social world, and I let the dark inside possess me. I became someone I had derided. I was trapped in this downward spiral.
Anorexia had full control of my mind and instead of restricting my diet, I began to starve. It may sound funny since we are the controllers of our minds, but when such a mental illness takes over, the credibility of that statement declines. The interesting thing was that I was totally unaware of this. I was a mere robot subjecting to this disease that had taken over my control tower. I was conscious of the world but fell unconscious of my doings. The lack of food distorted my thoughts, drained my energy, and deluded my mind.
My body appearance changed and my mood just never seemed to get better. My grades followed the same trend and I saw results I had sworn I would never get. People around me commented on this change but I had already gone deaf to the voices around me and blind to reality.
I don’t know what I did in my past life but I have been given the world’s most amazing family. My mother, to whom I owe so much appreciation and gratitude to, stepped in and inverted this downward spiral. My dad and brother showed utmost care and tolerance. I was advised to seek help from the university’s psychologist who then referred me to a general practitioner as to assess my situation.
I had lost a massive amount of weight in such a short period resulting in anaemia, osteopenia, low blood pressure and malnutrition. Although I had required immediate treatment, I could not be given that since this disorder was more about the mind. The first step to recovery was acknowledging the disorder, the second step being conquering the mind again and regaining consciousness, and the third step was improving physically. The first step was almost complete. It has been 2 years now and the second step is still incomplete. In the past 2 years, I have not been able to eat out thus making it difficult to hang out with friends and family. I haven’t been able to consume the delicious food items I once loved, which include the sweets and savouries my family back home graciously offer. This has resulted in abridged relationships. I haven’t recovered from the academic blow, which has disabled me from applying to certain courses and activities. Moreover, I haven’t been menstruating all this time thereby immobilizing me at home disallowing me to play football, the sport I have always loved. This failure to regain control has had such dire consequences of my lifestyle. This is why I think anorexia and other neurological associated disorders are as critical as the other diseases.