By Mae Ann P. Cuartelon
Hi, I’m Mae Ann P. Cuartelon. Born on July 24, 1996 at Magalang, Pampanga, Philippines. I’m an English and Chinese Language Teaching major student, at Angeles University Foundation. I was born in a Christian family.
I love everything cute: unicorns, pandas, ducks, etc. I love learning languages, travelling (although I haven’t been to a lot of places, haha!) reading books, writing, watching films and I love music too! I love trying out new foods and meeting new people. I am an ambivert (actually, I am not that confident in talking; I express myself more in writing) but I do love seeing people. I love to see them smiling. I love to see their eyes filled with love, and oh! I SUPER LOVE CHOCOLATES!, cakes, and any other desserts too hehe.
I was raised up as a Sunday school girl, yet everything changed when I reached puberty. I have met a lot of people and was exposed to worldly matters, but I still played it well considering the fact that my family, especially my mom unceasingly guided and reminded me of what I should and should not do. My life was grey. Everything was the same every day. It was good but it was boring (maybe because I started to be curious in life. I was so ungrateful for what I had).
This was my life, until I acquired an eating disorder. I thought everything was hopeless. Yet, God didn’t leave me. He has been so faithful! I believe He was up to something. He never left me, and here I am today, writing about His love, mercy, and faithfulness. HE IS FAITHFUL.
I love God. Not because of me or what I have accomplished in my life, but because He loves me.
I was diagnosed with Anorexia and Bulimia. Although I didn’t get a formal hospital check-up for medication and rehabilitation, I resulted positive in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnostic criteria of Anorexia and Bulimia. A lot of people thought I had issues with my weight and look, rooted with vanity and self-consciousness, but it was more than that. I was more than that. Worse than that.
Medically speaking, I have suffered from Ana and Mia for almost two years; but looking back, I had had problems with my weight and self-worth since my second year in high school.
I have no idea how it started. It just did and I couldn’t stop it. It was like there was a constant voice inside me saying I wasn’t skinny enough, I wasn’t good enough. For two years, my life had been in a series of taking in food and purging it out. I could eat and eat and eat anything I wanted, EVEN IF I DIDN’T LIKE IT, EVEN IF IT DIDN’T TASTE GOOD for TWO hours, (or more) then take laxatives or induce myself to vomit. It was horrible. I used to cry myself to sleep. OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
I constantly counted calories. I don’t know but honestly, I could brag about knowing how much calories a food had. Ask me and I tell you, I know; and I thought it was a good thing. It was my way of gaining some control when actually, everything else was out of my control.
I was afraid of taking even a small piece of candy because I thought it could make me fat. I could lose FIVE KILOGRAMS in THREE to FOUR DAYS. I could not eat a single thing for two days. I could double, triple my dosage of laxatives. I could stay in the bathroom for 30 minutes just to vomit everything I ate out. Crazy how the mind can get! I used to stare at the mirror and cry over my fat body (or so I thought).
Yes, Anorexia and Bulimia are mental illnesses. Anorexia isn’t being really skinny. Bulimia isn’t throwing up because you feel like it. They are serious mental illnesses that could lead to organ deformation and malfunction, distorted body image, and in worst cases, death. They shouldn’t be taken lightly. They shouldn’t be taken as jokes. It’s not about the body, it’s about the mind.
My mind was intoxicated and it was crazy. I isolated myself from the people around me because I WAS SO AFRAID OF BEING JUDGED. I lost friends and I lost the chance of gaining new friends too.
I WASN’T DOING WELL.
I wanted to change. I wanted to recover.
I have been through a lot before finally deciding for the best. It was hard especially when there’s a heinous voice inside you saying, “You can’t do it. Just look at you, you fat pig!” Yet I seriously wanted my life back; the precious life God gave to me, the precious life Jesus sacrificed for me. It took me a lot of time, contemplating sharing this with you all. I also wanted to be sure of my recovery, before COMING OUT; Coming out of my shell for a better me in the grace of God, and over the “gargantuan” wall built by the demons, “Ana and Mai”. The world blinded me. I was controlled by self-centeredness, narcissism, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, Anorexia, and Bulimia, but it wasn’t over.
It wasn’t the end. I saw hope in God’s arms and the loving people around me. I’m still in the process of recovery. It’s not recovery if you relapse, but I know I am healed. I declare it and claim it in Jesus’ name.
NOW, I’m proud to say all these.
There could be someone you know suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia too, who knows nothing about it. Eating disorders are full of deceit. They start as small activities and thoughts which become a habit in the course of time. They are the worst. I tell you, you don’t want to experience having one. But one thing is for sure; you can help that person! It was the people around me who supported me throughout the process. You can be just like them too.
It could also be you in the same path I used to be right now. I tell you, recovery is possible. I just want you to know it’s not impossible to beat. There is a way out. It does not happen overnight but you can overcome it. God cares.
Let us encourage one another in love,
Mae Ann P. Cuartelon.