Behind every smile, every pretty face; there’s a story.
Her past and her story doesn’t define who she is and what her future awaits. By sharing her struggle, Jihan hopes to bring awareness to eating disorders and show those suffering, they are not alone and there’s help available.
It’s me, age 12, anorexic. No photoshop required to make my arm that thin or my shoulder that angular. I’m wearing two shirts too… hard to believe it’s me.
The brown paper bag contained grapes, the only food I allowed myself to eat all day.
During the time when I was struggling with anorexia, there wasn’t a scale in the house. To check how much weight I’d successfully dropped, I’d strip down naked and climb into the bathtub and use my hands to measure the space between the outside of my thighs and the tub wall.
For anyone currently suffering from an eating disorder, I would urge them not to be ashamed. To speak up.
Until I started sharing my story about my battle with anorexia and bulimia, I felt like I had a veil that surrounded me…. a dirty secret that separated me from most. And that’s anything from the truth.
In fact, the more I share about my battle with an eating disorder, the more I connect with others who have stories similar to my own, and that gives me strength.
I think about the size and shape of my body every day, but I also know what healthy looks like now and that’s what is most important to me.
When the urge to binge and purge does come over me – and it has during times of high stress – I lean on close friends to listen to what I’m feeling, or I practice yoga.
I’ve found that my yoga practice has provided me with a sense of balance and appreciation for my body that I haven’t known before.
It’s been a gift. It makes me feel strong and centered.
I also use essential oils to help balance my anxiety and need for control.
These two routines have helped me tremendously in the battle with an eating disorder.
Jihan’s past and struggle with an eating disorder does not define who she is today. Her dreams, aspirations and plans are limitless.
If you or anyone you know suffers from an eating disorder, there’s help!
National Eating Disorders – toll free, confidential Helpline at 1-800-931-2237
Food is not the Problem: Deal With What Is by Michelle Morand
Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schaefer
Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life by Jenni Schaefer
Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous (The “Big Book” of ABA)
You can participate in one of the events in your area. To find one close to you, please check: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-event
If you suffered from an eating disorder and would like to share your story or advice to help someone in need, please reach out.
Photography by Ania Volovique | www.VOLOVIQUE.com | Ania@Volovique.com