Eid Eating Disorder and Nightmare

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For a day, just for one day, talk about that which disturbs no one and bring some

peace into your beautiful eyes.

Hafiz of Persia

 

Tonight is so short, I look at small alarm clock by my bedside table, it says 1:35 am. In few hours I’ll be leaving this bedroom, this house to go and stay in rehabilitation centre, hundreds of miles away from my house. If I could will for death to come my way this minute, this instant, I’ll do so. I feel tightening of my chest, I can’t breathe. Once again I break down and I cry, I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go. I’ve no choice, everything has been taken away from me. I should have been at the centre two days ago, but because of our festival of Eid, I was granted a weekend to spend with my family. They did come to take me away on Friday and I was completely oblivious to what was happening and I got lucky they granted me two days of freedom.

 

Trigger Warning: The content in this article will be triggering and upsetting for some readers.

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below an account of a sufferer during Eid this year. We apologise for late publication, this was due to obtaining the official consent to get this story published. We’ve changed few things to seal the anonymity.  Please read this with open mind. The story below simply depicts the fear associated with seeking in-patient treatment. We publish this to create awareness of what sufferes at time have to endure psychologically and socially.

 

 

 

Night of Eid

Tonight is so short, I look at small alarm clock by my bedside table, it says 1:35 am. In few hours I’ll be leaving this bedroom, this house to go and stay in rehabilitation centre, hundreds of miles away from my house. If I could will for death to come my way this minute, this instant, I’ll do so. I feel tightening of my chest, I can’t breathe. Once again I break down and I cry, I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go. I’ve no choice, everything has been taken away from me. I should have been at the centre two days ago, but because of our festival of Eid, I was granted a weekend to spend with my family. They did come to take me away on Friday and I was completely oblivious to what was happening and I got lucky they granted me two days of freedom.

 

Three Days before the Eid- Thursday

I wake up very early in the morning. Our house is filled with Eid vibes, something special and sacred is in air. MY cousins are here to stay with us. I put on my running shoes, or I try to put them on, my head is spinning. My parents are away to Mecca for pilgrimage. This is a huge house filled with so many people. I make my way down the stairs and my brother is standing in the kitchen with my sister and sister in law. It’s 6am in the morning. Where are you going? Walk, I answer, walk or running. He’s angry. They all look angry. Sit and have your breakfast. My heart is in my mouth, it’s very early lala (lala is brother in Phshtoo) for breakfast, you know I have my breakfast at 9am. For me to eat anything out of set hours is a cause for huge anxiety. You’ve been skipping your meals for past week now. We are seeing your doctor today. Panic sinks in, blind panic, the fear chokes me. What do you want me to eat lala, I promise I’ll eat , but no doctor. Through tears I eat whatever is put in front of me, or I make a feeble attempt at eating. Bad habits don’t go way and especially ED habits are powerful than anything in the world. I cut the food, shove it around and take my time. 7 am and I’ve managed only two bites. I feel the tension in air. I feel sick, there’s a thick pink liquid in my glass, it’s complan I have no idea. Within minutes, my stomach can’t take any more of this torture and I’m sick in front
of them.

 

I’ve been crying non-stop for past few hours now. I have no idea what happened inside doctor’s office. I spent next few hours in hospital. There’s a deep sense of resentment in air. The very air I breathe in is filled with hostility and resentment. And then finally we are told, we can go and they’ll contact us in few hours. Relieved I come home. My mother calls from Mecca, they are on Hajj and I tell her I miss her.

We hide from her my condition and my emergency visit to doctor’s office. They’ll make the best decision my child, she tells me. I knew what was coming.

They were going to come and take me away. I know fear and I know what dying is like. That night I spent in agony. I had 2 bottles of complan , an oatmeal and 2 digestives. I knew even if I ate 3 course meal now, my faith was sealed. I looked around my bedroom. It was a newly renovated room, all in white, silver and pink. I loved this room.

Feelings of hopelessness and sadness sink in because I know soon my freedom will be over. Day after day, week after week, imagine having no space to call your own, no choice over who to be with, what to eat, or where to go. There is suspicion everywhere. Love or even a gentle human touch can be difficult to find. You are separated from family and friends, this is what being inpatient is like.

 

Two Days before the Eid- Friday

 

Everything in my house seems normal. I go for my usual morning run and no one stops me. I feel relieved, maybe it’s in my head. Maybe they won’t take me away. Maybe my weight wasn’t low and maybe all my results came back clear, they must have, they must have, I tell myself. My ribs are aching and my legs are hurting. I feel numbing pain in my chest. I stop and put my head on my knees. Inshallah it will be all good. Inshallah no one will take me away.

If my health was in danger, they wouldn’t have sent me home. Key features of the prison environment that are likely to lead to personality change include the chronic loss of free choice, lack of privacy, daily stigma, frequent fear, need to wear a constant mask of invulnerability and emotional flatness (to avoid exploitation by others), and the requirement, day after day, to follow externally imposed stringent rules and routines.

 

The personality change that most dominated their accounts was an inability to trust others – a kind of perpetual paranoia.  The prisoners described a process of “emotional numbing”. “It does harden you. It does make you a bit more distant,” one said, explaining how people in jail deliberately conceal and suppress their emotions.

 

Gaining bit of confidence back, I go back home. It’s all serene and peaceful. My cousins are arriving today and house is filled with good vibes. I smile and go to my room, little did I know that there will be people waiting for me downstairs.

I see them and my mind goes blank. How could I be so stupid, I ask myself, I should have run away. I could have taken a next flight out of country and go back home , but now it’s too late.

 

If you resist, they use force and it makes things worst. I turn back and run and run back to my room. I can hear the footsteps, no way, no way lala, I scream. I slam the bathroom door shut and I bolt it, my room has no lock. My heart is in my mouth. They are banging on door. I want to talk to my brother please. I want my mum. I cry. God how can they do this. We’ll force the door open, I’m told. No, call my brother, I tell them.

 

I want to talk to mum. I can’t because she’s performing hajj. 2 hours later, I open the door. My brother is there. You’re very sick, he tells, I see sadness in his eyes. Lala please no. I can’t go there lala, they force me to eat things I don’t like, and last time they hurt me badly, the put tube through my nose and then through my stomach, there’s no one there, no mum, no you, lala and you said on eid we will be together and we’ll be going to alton towers.

I’m crying now. Please don’t send me away, I promise I’ll do everything , send me back to Peshawar but not there lala. You can’t do this. I am hysterical basically screaming, begging and crying for them not to do anything, explaining that I have not done anything wrong.

And they come to a decision, if I eat and consume all my shakes then I can spend eid with my family, but I will have to go inpatient by Monday.
They were granting me extension, they were taking liberty, will I be good, will I do what they want me to do and will I come to the centre all willingly on Monday and cause no drama.

 

I tell them yes!

 

And the clock starts to tick, by 3 pm I’ve prayed and had my complan and 1 x digestive. Allah make the time stop. I try to act normal, but what is normal when you know in few days hours you’ll be in a prison?

Tick tock tick tock, it’s ticking ticking and ticking 7pm I eat my supper, lentils and a serving of rice.

9 pm I shower and have milk.

And I’m sick.

I look at my besdise clock. Time is going very fast.


My sister packs my suitcase. I fall asleep. It’s Saturday and everyone is fasting today except me. There’s a mad rush around our house. We are hosting an eid party on Sunday with 30 people. The preparations are under way.

Some of us have salon appointments. I’m one of them. The fear is paralysing me. Time is ticking away. We go to salon, they put henna on my hands, trim my hair and give me nail treatment. My nails are short, bitten and my hands are icy cold. I have my complan while sitting there. I take two sips and my stomach protests. My forehead is icy cold.

I look at time again, it’s ticking away.

 

 

Why don’t you make most of your last days here, my cousin tells me. What do you want to do? She asks me, I just want to hold my nephew and play with him. I think that’s all I want to do. I spend the evening in his nursery. I forget the time andspace . I’m lost in him. I play with him and time ticks away

 

Eid Mubarak Everyone

I look like a colourful peacock with washed out face, huge eyes and icy hands.

 

I don’t eat. My stomach is too tight, there is knot in my stomach and I force myself to eat one piece of BBQ with Naan bread and some salad. I wash it down with icy coke. I enjoy the icy cold drink. I eat some dessert and retire to my room in my colourful outfit. I put chair in front of my door and pretend to lock everyone out.

No body comes to check on me. It’s my last night in this house. I fall asleep. I wake up at 7pm and I change. And tonight, this beautiful night of eid, is the longest night of my life. My house is filled with people and laughter. Time is ticking away. I hug my pillow and close my eyes and wish for everything to end.

This is it!

Monday morning. My hand are icy cold. They are here. My suitcase is packed. I kiss my nephew. I don’t look at 10 members of family and realtives who are watching me being taken away, I feel very ashamed and embarrassed. and obediently I walk out of my house, from their lives. You learn very quickly, particularly as a Muslim Afghan woman, that if you want this section to end more quickly, you’ve got to do everything you can to keep your head down, eat be compliant and eat and be compliant.

 

Eid Mubarak Everyone

 

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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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