Run Away Anorexic- Where is my Home?

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Arabic LogoThere is no shame in the accidents of chance, but only in the consequence of our own misdeeds.

Fawn Richardson 

Dear Readers,

Please find below an incredible account of a sufferer who left her home many years ago to live a life she thought was ideal and magical. As I’ve requested many times before, please respect all the stories on this blog. We haven’t changed much and we haven’t used a name of the sufferer. This is a work of many months and there’s much pain and suffering behind this story. Please keep this person in your prayers.

 

Guilt and Shame

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They say no one develops an Eating Disorder overnight. They are so right. They are so right. I want to confess to something. There’s a reason why people have ED. There’s a reason. People with Eating Disorder just don’t want to acknowledge the reason, they will do anything, everything to avoid thinking about the reason why they have ED. I know why I have ED; I have an ED because of my family. The pain of missing my family compels me to exercise excessively, to sometimes binge excessively and other times to restrict excessively.

 

My therapist tells me recovery is all about a journey for the healing of your mind, body and spirit, being content with one’s self healing believing in yourself.

I’m not sure. I blink back tears and start my long walk back home. Where is home? I ask myself, I’m not sure anymore. This happens every month. I go through a phase where I question myself about my home, about my whereabouts.

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At the age of 23, I should be living a life of a care free happily married mother in a scenic farm of Italy, but I am deeply unhappy. I’m a prisoner of my own critical thoughts, self-hatred and negative body image.

I walk into a place which is called home; it’s a farm, a vineyard. The work never ends here; it’s all year round, maintenance of the grapes, harvest of the olives.

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In a small room in the house by the laundry area, I take out a faded picture of my family. I feel sick. Every month I do the same, I look at the picture and I wail.

I miss this family. There’s my mother, I trace her features or try to trace them, there’s my proud father, my two brothers and my grandmother. I collapse on the floor and I wail bitterly like a war widow.

They’ve refused to take me back. At the age of 21, I went back to a place I called home and I tried to reconcile with my family, but that didn’t happen.

My only consolation is my exercise, the faster I run, the more pain I feel; the number I get, sometimes even this doesn’t work, no matter how much I push myself.

I try to call Rachel, no answer, I try Charlotte, no answer and then I try God, and there’s an answer.

My Past

I was raised in a city in UK in a Somali family with Somali community around me. We had our own little take away restaurant. The work was all year around, it never ended. My father, mother and grandmother worked all week around. Our opening hours were in the evening. I was the oldest and the only girl with two younger brothers. Only 2 years separated us.

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I think about everything now, and I realise I really lacked for nothing. My father had strict militant rules regarding bed times, studying and dress code. Modesty, modesty and modesty was his mantra. My mother hailed from Iraq. This was an intriguing mix of Somali man and a fair Iraqi woman.

I changed at the age of 14. I lied and did everything behind my parents back. I wanted the lifestyle of Rachel. I still cling to Rachel to this day. I wanted to have a boyfriend and wanted to live the life my  friends lived.

At the age of 17, I did what is deemed as unforgivable and I ran away. When my father found me, he told me, tell him to say the declaration of faith and I then release you into the care of the Almighty. I married Lucan and we went to Italy where his family’s olive and wine vineyard is.

Running

At home, I did nothing. In Italy, I had to work on a farm.

Making Olive OIl

Making Olive Oil

Life was no longer a bed of roses and I panicked. I started running around the farm.

I went back to my family in city in UK. I couldn’t look them in the eye. ‘He reverted to Islam, I tried to tell them, empty words, lacking conviction.’ How can a girl who doesn’t know God, bring anyone to God?’ were the words of my father. ‘He believes in God,’ I tried to justify, I was lying.

When I had my diagnosis for Eating Disorder, I was no longer a girl but a woman. I had Geovanny at the age of 19 and i continued with running. I went back to city and tried to look for the family I once had. There was no take away there but a pizza junction. They had moved.

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I look at people around the dinner table. We are having hoagies. My stomach turns into knots; don’t they know how many calories there are in the dish and in their wine? I look at the father of my child; he’s no longer a man I married. He sometimes takes off to a city which is three hours away and doesn’t come back for weeks. When he comes back, there’s a scent of a woman clinging to him. I do everything to please him, dress the way he tells me to dress, but he’s never happy. In the city, in UK, my father’s eyes would light up seeing me in a modest dress. Here, the more I reveal the more critical he is. I can never be the perfect woman he wants me to be.

After dinner, I walk out. I run and I run, air hits my face, pain increases, tears run down my cheeks. I want to feel good, the pain in my ribs increase, I feel good. Exhausted, I collapse on the cold ground and I wail like a war widow who just lost her husband, but I haven’t lost my husband, what I’ve lost is dignity, God, family and a belief system. I’m empty, very empty.

run up and down

 

Only consolation, Eating Disorder sometimes fills the void, but only sometimes.

 

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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