• Esty Rosenfeld

Breaking the silence

Eating Disorders

About this series:

This series aims to raise awareness about different medical conditions through storytelling and information.


The beginning

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.


The progression

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 


COVID’s impact

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.


The diagnosis

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.

In silence

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 thetavtimes@tav.ca 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 








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