Patricia started to have negative thoughts about herself in adolescence. A sort of internal dialogue that questioned her every action and need, particularly where food was concerned. Patricia bought into this inner voice, not knowing whether it was normal. Eventually, her thoughts became so powerful that one day she made herself vomit after eating. She knew this was wrong and it led to a deep sense of anxiety. Nevertheless, Patricia managed to successfully pursue her academic career as she juggled her obligations and her personal issues. But by her late twenties, she was worn out. She couldn’t manage to quell her anxious thoughts about food and her appearance, which relentlessly cluttered her mind. Her anxiety became severe, and she was overwhelmed with having to constantly hide her behaviour from others around meal times. For its part, her body could no longer keep up with the demands being put on it. Rationally, Patricia admitted that this could not go on. To be able to achieve her dreams for the future, like having children, she would need to take care of herself and resolve the problem that plagued her.
In therapy, she was able to put a label on the issues that had been dogging her for years. She was suffering from anxiety and bulimia. She began therapy to heal her relationship with food. Her psychologist taught her that self-esteem issues are often at the root of eating disorders. With the unfailing support of her spouse, she learned to have confidence in, listen to and stop herself. Patricia decided to put herself first in every sphere of her life. Her experience taught her that a priority needs to be placed on mental health and, to the extent possible, it is important to take the necessary steps to preserve it. This year will mark 11 years of remission from her eating disorder. Even though Patricia’s old internal dialogue occasionally creeps back, she now has the tools to understand where these thoughts are coming from and to assert her needs and wants.