- Esty Rosenfeld
Breaking the silence
About this series:
This series aims to raise awareness about different medical conditions through storytelling and information.
From when I was little, my mother would encourage me to lose weight. She would tell me that I am fat and help me cook my diet foods.
I also got pretty affected by what I saw in the media. I love K-pop. Dieting is really popular within our communities. The K-pop idols are always talking about their diets and what works for them. If they're your idol and that’s how they look then you want to try and look like them.
At school, people told me I was fat.
Because of all of that, I started seeing myself as a fat person. A girl has to be 42 kilo to look good. That’s always been my goal.
When I was 12, I started seriously dieting. I just wanted to lose weight in my thighs and stomach. I would only eat 400 calories a day. I would do the diet for a week, lose a lot of weight and that would last for a month.
Then, summer would come and I’d start going to the gym and exercise excessively.
Eventually, I started an intermittent fasting diet. I would eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours.
After that, I started doing a water diet where I’d drink 3 litres of water per day. I would do this for 6 days and on the 7th day, I would stop drinking. By the 8th day, I’d lose all my water weight.
I developed secretive behaviours around food. I’d hide food in my room and binge on it. I was afraid of people judging me for my eating habits.
For security’s sake
Eventually, I needed to control what I ate to give me that sense of security. My dieting got worse during exam season, pre-summer season, and before school would start.
Whenever someone would comment on my food intake or weight, it would get worse. Like when my mother commented “look who’s hungry today”, I wouldn’t eat for the next three days.
I feel like when I’m skinny, it helps me fit in. It gives me a sense of confidence. On days that I feel good about myself, I eat because I feel like I deserve food. Those days don’t come often.
Whenever I tried to stop, I’d feel guilty. I’d lack my sense of control and security so that wouldn’t last long. I also have a strong fear that if I’m not skinny then people will leave me because I’m too ugly and too fat.
When I look in the mirror, I see a fat human being with a dumpling face. I’m always cold, shaking and extremely tired. At some points, I could hardly walk or stand on my own. Oftentimes, I would lose a lot of hair and my period would stop. Despite those warning signs, I can’t seem to eat any healthier.
AT MY FUNERAL I wonder what my funeral would look like How would it feels when I die Would I be happy? Would people be happy? Would anyone care? Would anyone come? An my funeral, there won't be black and white It'll be blue with people who smiles There won’t be one who cries or blames me for taking my own life Instead, I hope they wish me luck in my next life I'll be in the sky, watching myself burnt with a smile At my funeral, I'll remember the one who comes I wonder who would spend an evening moaning the dead, nobody You can live a life surrounded by people, but only those who comes to your funeral truly cares And those are the ones you want to see before you go At my funeral, I wonder if I will regret Regret for living a life without purpose Regret for not being happy Regret for giving up Or regret for being born At my funeral, I wonder what I will wish for A happier life? A prettier face? Or a chance to restart my life once again? Too late, there is no going back After taking all these doses, it will be over No waking up, no tomorrow Because there ain't a restart button in life If you ever come to my funeral, please don't cry Tell me: "You did well, now spread your wings and fly, Fly to the sky, and good luck in your next life" And I will let it all go with a smile
Because of the lockdowns and being stuck at home, I ate more than usual. Everyone was home so I couldn’t really hide my food or purge. When we all went back to school, it got worse because I felt like I had to lose everything I gained.
This summer, I bought my first laxative. I finished a whole box of laxatives which is about 500g in a month’s time.
About two months ago, I went to my family doctor. I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia. I always knew that this was an issue so it wasn’t surprising.
The first step I took was to throw away my laxatives. I try to eat with everybody because I am secretive about my food intake. I got referred to a psychologist and nutritionist but I can’t get an appointment because they are booked solid.
Only a few people know. I never told my parents. It’s nobody's responsibility to know about it and to make sure I eat. I don’t like when people know I’m not doing well so I try to hide it and pretend that I’m doing fine.
Say it louder
Anyone can have an eating disorder. You never know what people are going through so don’t comment on people’s weight or their eating habits.
I wish that people who know someone with an eating disorder would be more sensitive and considerate. There has to be a reason that someone one day stops eating. There’s probably something going on in their life. So instead of telling them to eat, ask them what’s going on. Try your best to accommodate them and try to be understanding. Try and boost their self-esteem a bit.
I would tell people who are struggling with eating disorders to go and get help. You deserve food so I hope you can learn to eat without caring about the calories. You need to eat to stay alive.
A TOWN WITHOUT ME A town without me A town where everybody lives happily I wonder if anybody will ever notice There's somebody missing I can't help but imagine a town without me The sun will rise, people will smile and all my traits will die I will disappear as if I never existed Because I was nobody I will go to a place far away A place only peace could reach A place where my heart and soul are whole A place where my footprints will stay I want to go to a place of eternity Where nobody has to skip a single meal Where everybody is comfortable in their skin Where no one gives two fucks about how you look A town without me A town of judgment, hatred and sorrow A town where everyone, but me, feel happy A town where happiness is made from the sadness of others A town without me, A town that never deserved me A town that I wholeheartedly wish to fit in But also sincerely want to leave I wonder what have I done To deserve the life I did To feel lonely in the crowd To cry out loud in despair and nobody asks
With hope for tomorrow
I have a little sister and I don’t want to be a bad influence on her. It can be really confusing for a little girl so I try to eat in front of her. She’s my biggest motivation to try and get healthy. I don’t want her to adopt my habits.
I hope that one day I’ll be able to eat without thinking about it.
The name and all identifying details have been withheld for privacy.
Poetry courtesy of the narrator.
If you'd like to share your story, email email@example.com with 'breaking the silence' as the subject line.
IS THIS WHAT GROWING UP FEELS LIKE I miss those days When the scariest thing in the world were ghosts When Santa still existed When I was young I miss those days When my eyes were clear When my world was a wonderland With me, the princess, happy without a prince charming. I miss those days When I thought monster lived under my bed If I left the lights on, I would be fine Now the street lights are up, yet monsters are still walking I want to go back To the time my smile were real To the time when my tears weren't held back To the time when I was myself Is this how growing up feels like? The world is harsh and people are cold Society of judgment where no peace could reach And I've lost a piece of myself, everyday. Is it how it's going to be? Kids grow up, thinking the world is a fairy tale Turns out it is just a fucking hell Rotten from the inside Is it how it's going to be? People pay no mind when you are sick Then wish they have noticed signs once you're gone? Is this what it is? That we can no longer return That nothing in this world could possibly hold us back That we are just kids in disguise Who can't hold the cruelty of this world Is this what it is? That we have had enough Yet we have to keep moving Because we still believe in miracle We still believe Despite all the ugliness of the world Still exists such beauty as love, kindness and hope Is this what growing up does? That wonders just come in a different form And it hits different than it did Cause the beauty of life isn't when the sun rises It lies in the shining stars, like hope, infinite and glowing