Reminder to Self: Today is a year since I stopped succumbing to anxious bulimia nervosa.

2016-Sydney, Australia

It started as anxiety, bubbling in the deepest hole in my stomach, cramping like an accordion in a swing band on Saturday night and contracting my abdomen. It was the 5th time in 2 weeks, but now I am convinced that there is something wrong with my body. But the doctor didn’t seem to agree and didn’t even test.

“Your endoscopy is all clear, all hormones are clear, blood tests are fine …” Dr. Lai recited my report carefully.

I was relieved and at the same time somehow disappointed. It’s been a year since I moved to Sydney alone at the young age of 24, and this adult-like thing is getting tired day by day.

“Maybe it’s related to my menstrual cycle?” I eagerly offered to find a label for what was causing this intolerable discomfort.

“You shouldn’t. Your report doesn’t show such a problem, and because you told me, it doesn’t show any other symptoms …” He finally before him. I kept watching the reports until I put them on the table.

“Hmm.” I got together. For the past two weeks, I’ve been spitting out food after eating nearly two of three meals a day, but in the process I’ve lost nearly 2.5 kg. As someone who has ever fought to lose 2.5 kg, I was masochistically excited about weight loss, even as an unintended consequence of enduring this otherwise very painful daily drama.

“Lahat, do you think you may be experiencing a lot of anxiety?” Dr. Lai was confused for a moment when he saw me dead.

“Uneasy?” I repeated, but I could hardly tell if he actually said the word out loud.

“Yes. Anxiety. You know, anxiety often manifests in the way you describe. It can manifest physically through physical pain and pain-the kind you are experiencing now. Even discomfort. Are you worried? “

A few hours later, I was still shocked by Dr. Lai’s question. What on earth were you worried about? Did he mean stress? I have always been taught the only way to deal with stress. Ignore it and just keep going. I was a Type A style management consultant for Christ. We were born to be overwhelmed. That’s how we knew we were successful. What was this overall anxiety, and how did it suddenly appear?

After endless remorse, I set aside Dr. Lai’s Inquisition and carried out the methods I know. I ignored the pain and kept it going anyway. Every time I felt an “anxiety” crash, the accordion rang again and the desire to throw away food increased. Within a few weeks, in addition to my regular exercise routines, irregular interstate travel schedules for work, and lack of nutrition, I lost 7 kg. And anxiety-driven bulimia started the beginning of many of my cycles.

2018-Sydney, Australia

After fast-forwarding for two years and then saying a big heartbreaking farewell, I leaned against the sink in the same Sydney apartment and prayed for lunch. My sore throat was painful and hoarse from a constant swell, my eyes shed blood with a determined, unwavering anger to expel the calories I knew. I couldn’t deal with it.

It wasn’t just the release of the physical food I consumed. It was a wave of redemption and stress-relieving catharsis for the very value I had in my eyes and those around me.I had to get rid of this feeling and more than that I had to stay this thin. It was the thinnest thing I’ve ever done-although I wasn’t as thin as I “should have” yet. I was desperately trying to impress the man I was dating (lawyer and marathon runner), so I ran nearly 6km a day as a person who could barely run 500m. Still, for some reason, I didn’t realize, I was also the saddest thing I’ve ever done – not yet healed from the previous dissolution and stuck in a decade of self-esteem battle. 26. But that wasn’t a problem. Because I was convinced of the endless compliment to my newly found shrinking physique that I was doing my best. So I closed my eyes and took a deep breath until I felt anxiety crawl into my throat and release myself and in the process release me.

2020-Singapore, Singapore

For another two years until March 2020, I suddenly became one of the 7 billion people waiting for the most “unprecedented” year of our lives in a pandemic. Five weeks after becoming one of the toughest blockades in the world in Singapore, I jumped head-on into work, did a virtual comedy show, hosted a podcast with one of my best friends, and wrote about dating myself. It was raised. (Or lack of it) for Bro. Singapore. I controlled myself and felt mentally positive. Given that I was quarantining the solo, I was almost proud of how much momentum I had gained.

But as the weeks went by, it was only a matter of time before I felt the loneliness and isolation I was good at suppressing and slowly sneaking up on my bones. By this stage, I was silent all day, sometimes at a stretch, awakened at midnight, even in my own mind, with unexplained bouts of anxiety and fear. As the sun became blurry at night and the sun came back, I began to wonder about my existence, purpose, sanity, and why I left home. My extrovert felt the pain of longing for the company and my mother’s words that I should have got married early, so I didn’t have to listen alone every night. I woke up for nights and thought about everything I didn’t have or couldn’t achieve. Many times, I cried through a roaring tropical thunderstorm and a lightning bolt that hit my window like an unwelcome intruder, and until they fell under the cover and I fell asleep I heard the sound of horror.

I started dealing with the unknown. The only way to do that so far is to eat. Eat, become anxious, and swell. It was strange to go back to the old pattern at first, as I’ve stalled my habits quite a bit over the last two years, quit my insanely stressful job, and overcame a consistently elevated condition by accepting treatment and counseling. .. Emigration to Singapore certainly helped. I wasn’t so worried that I was excited. I’m glad I was excited. I wasn’t excited when I moved from Melbourne to Sydney in 2015. I was scared and lost. Fear meant nerves, nerves meant anxiety, and inevitably, anxiety meant exhaling. But now I was excited … until not. Before I knew it, like a clockwork, the time was ticked early in the morning, I was in the kitchen, the fridge was open, my heart hurts, my head spins, and I’m hungry. I noticed. I ate until I was full-emotional. Then, just as the dust settled, the feelings of resentment and self-judgment returned to the familiar stomach holes, taking up head space until they could be released between the fingers and the sink.

Not aware of my sporadic rituals, my parents asked me to spend time on the block to manage my health, fearing I might be off the rails and gaining weight. .. It’s an irony about eating disorders, and few people who suffer from them visibly seem to do so. In conditions such as bulimia nervosa and loss of appetite, the body can often be used as an indicator of a relationship with disability, but when it seems to be the heaviest, how to explain to someone the fight against anxiety-driven bulimia. will you do? How many years have passed? In good faith, their constant plea falls on me like a lead balloon, embraced between my existing self-loathing and desire to change, making me even more anxious than before. The cycle is more aggressive than ever. When the food wasn’t paralyzed enough, I carefully started adding alcohol to the mix. I switched between a glass of wine and what was in the kitchen until my anxiety and constant inner stubbornness turned into a gentle, soft grunt in my head. ..

Then one day, on June 15, 2020, I finally found myself lying on the floor in the living room, squeezing the carpet with hot tears from my eyes, and suffering from terrible physical distress. It was no longer an accordion. It resembled a giant step across my stomach in 20kg of boots. I didn’t know if I would call an ambulance or call my parents. Both options seemed more painful than lying paralyzed there.

For the first time, when my thoughts came to my mind, I realized that I didn’t feel guilty, hatred, disgust, or even anger. Instead, I found myself scared, lonely and tired. For me, I feel compassion and sadness and wash me away. I felt the end of a long and long cycle of pain and the beginning of a longer and longer postponed moment of tenderness and cognition. Even though I was more than my body and bound by feelings for it, this was not a way to experience and endure them. The longer I sat in these feelings of awareness, the softer and gentler the pain seemed to pulsate, and finally I was able to push myself off the ground. When it disappeared into dull pain, I sat down on the same carpet I was crying before, still weeping, and wrote notes on my cell phone. And today, a year later, I remembered the note and how far I came.

Body position image

One of the things they really never tell you about healing from such eating disorders is how important it is to say it out to make you believe that it is happening even in reality. Is it? Over the last 12 months, when I revealed the fight between anxiety and bulimia to a close friend, I encountered many confused and shocked faces. Some of them wonder why they missed it and could feel guilty because they didn’t, while others simply lent a word of comfort and warm and safe love. The truth is that no matter what their reaction, they couldn’t even see it because I couldn’t even see it honestly myself. It’s like a dark, quiet shadow chasing you, and you can feel its presence at every moment, but you don’t have to look back and see it in the light. But it’s about shadows. Only when faced with them will you understand how easy it is to melt them in a small step at a time.

Over the last 12 months, with the great support of many great friends and family, I have sought mental health support for anxiety and its many triggers. As a good educated individual, I didn’t think I needed to relearn the relationship with food. And I enjoyed it and I was good at it and started to rethink the exercise, not because I did it. I like to rekindle some unattainable weight loss goals. Most of the time I was delighted to give up alcohol, ate my favorite chocolate in moderation without feeling guilty, and now I can order pizza without blaming myself by doing so bit by bit. And I did it all, but I lost most of the weight I thought I would be watching for the rest of my life. Yes, there are still days when the anxious monster returns to my throat and I feel guilt washing me away. But now I’m good at asking myself why I’m not enough at this moment and letting the emotions pass, rather than assuming it defines me.

This month we are celebrating all of our compassion. If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it is like charity, compassion begins with the self. I hope that those who are reading this today will be able to take a shower on themselves, befitting the same kindness that they have shown to others. And if you are too afraid to give yourself permission to let go of the fear of doing so for yourself, I give you the freedom and freedom these words require. I hope. On the sink.


Reminder to Self: Today is a year since I stopped succumbing to anxious bulimia nervosa.

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