"I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I never realised how far it would go but this control over food began to take over my life," writes Tracy Stewart, a 29-year-old from Johannesburg who is recovering from anorexia. Here is her story:
Eating disorders are often misunderstood and there are many stereotypes that do not necessarily depict reality. It is important for people to gain a better understanding about those suffering from eating disorders - I hope that I can help create awareness by telling my story during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (from 26 February to 3 March 2012).
There were many times that I wished someone would just ask me how I was. I was desperate for someone to notice how unhappy I was but I was too ashamed to tell anyone how I was really feeling. My self-esteem was so low that the only way I learned to cope was through self-destructive behaviour and this carried on through my teens to my adult years. There were many times that I tried to tell those I loved what was going on but their ignorance led me to fall deeper into the eating disorder. I was asked: “Why don’t you just eat?” It wasn’t that simple. It wasn’t about the food. It was about the pain that I was experiencing in my life and I felt no one understood this.