Content Warning: This story contains depictions of anorexia, depression, and anxiety.
Who am I? What am I here for?
I learned that I was brought to this earth in the same way everyone else was. I was put in a family. God knew that I would be happy in the family I’m with still to this day. I was given the opportunity to live life the way I chose to live it.
When I was younger, I was always protected by family. I was always the kid who had her decisions made for her by her parents. My parents loved me unconditionally. They always made sure I got enough sleep, they made sure I got what I wanted, they only let me make the right choices. They would just love me so dearly. On Monday June 13 in the year 2011, we got the call that my Aunt passed away suddenly. That was the first shock I had ever felt in my life. I had just talked to her the day before and she had seemed fine to me. She was laughing and making jokes with me. She asked me how I was doing, and she asked me to come visit her and my cousin in Texas in the next month. My family and I flew to Texas the next early morning at 4.00 am. We were with my dad’s brothers’ family for 3 weeks. There was so much sadness. That is when my first appearance of anxiety and depression showed up in my life. I knew I was a different person. I knew that there was something wrong. I started self-harming, I started looking for excuses to not leave the house, I had several breakdowns daily. I started experiencing anxiety attacks and panic attacks.
As you have heard, there is a lot of stigma that surrounds mental health. Growing up in a traditional Indian family was not easy. I first told my parents about my battle a few months later. They were shocked and didn’t want to believe that I was going through something like this. My mom called me crazy and told me to pray to God. I took those words and I followed what she said. I sat and prayed daily. I wasn’t aware that I needed professional help. I kept praying for months and felt a small difference. I didn’t feel happy. I felt low. I was sad. I was lost. I was here without a purpose. I eventually received professional help.
Something that stands out to me now as I think about this, was that I started reading Hindu scriptures. I read some of the Bhagavad Gita. Even though I didn’t understand a lot of what I was reading, it would calm my mind.
6 years later
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. It was July. I came home from school after a successful first year. I was so proud of my GPA, I was proud of my involvement. I came home to my parents commenting on my weight. They wanted me to lose weight. They asked me to lose as much as possible, so I could look “normal”
I took that to heart and I started running four miles in the morning and four miles in the evening daily. I soon started counting my calorie intake. Soon after, I stopped eating meals. I would skip every meal and just starve. I stopped feeling hungry. My parents would go to work and I would throw out the food that my mom made for me. At the end of the day, I basically was running and exercising with no food in my system. Eating food, cooking food, or even smelling food would give me loads of anxiety. I got frequent anxiety attacks because I was so self-conscious. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping. I told my parents about a month after I was diagnosed with the help of friends. My parents were not understanding and tried to force me to eat. They repeated “Just pray” at least 100 times daily. I got myself in a therapy program for anorexia nervosa and I’m happy to say that I’m doing better even though I do have bad days.
This past year has been a struggle because I’m still battling anxiety, depression and anorexia nervosa. Mental health and mental illnesses don’t define me as a person. They are just like a physical illness.
Forever grateful to all who have helped me <3