After a gruelling hardwork of almost two years, Nisha was over the moon! She had scored amazing marks in her tenth boards. And now, finally she had secured admission in one of the most popular colleges in town.
In the time that she had before the term started, she updated her wardrobe. She went to various malls and shops hunting for all those outfits that would suit her. She had a wheatish complexion, a round face, and long wavy hair cut in layers. At 5.3 feet tall and weighing 65 kg, she was slightly overweight, but nevertheless she was beautiful. So she had to be very careful in selecting the outfits, she tried numerous ones and bought those that made her feel tall and slim.
Finally, it was the first day of college. She was excited and nervous at the same time. She was stepping out in the big bad world after all. Whereas everything was spoonfed in school; college was a different scene altogether. Her mom Kruti had tried her best to calm her nerves, but Nisha still felt a swarm of butterflies in her stomach as she entered the campus. As she sat for the orientation, she instantly made friends with the girls around her. And her nerves settled a bit.
Nisha would always be complimented for her choice of dresses and fashion sense by her friends. She knew she was pretty, and she was very comfortable with her weight too; until she decided to take part in the beauty contest of the college festival.
As the months passed, Kruti noticed that Nisha was eating very less and was losing weight. All her packed lunches would return untouched. Also, she seemed withdrawn and never left her room. When Kruti would ask Nisha about that, she would dismiss it saying she was busy preparing for the college festival. Kruti was very worried but couldn’t do much. She spoke to her husband about it too, but he asked her to just let Nisha be.
One morning as Kruti went to wake Nisha as she would be getting late for college, she found her passed out on the floor and looking pale and absolutely worn out. They got her hospitalised and later spoke to the doctor.
After explaining to the doctor about Nisha’s behaviour in the last four months, the doctor said, “It looks like she’s suffering from anorexia nervosa.”
“What do you mean by that, doctor?” Kruti asked.
“It’s an eating disorder in which the patient overestimates the body shape and size and restricts food intake and does compulsive exercising. And Nisha now weighs 49 kgs from her previous 65. That’s a significant weight loss.” The doctor said.
Kruti asked, “But she never had a problem with her weight earlier. She’s always been a chubby baby and she was quite comfortable with it. What went wrong then? Some problem with our parenting?”
“No, no Mrs. Mehta. There’s no problem with your parenting. And what triggered her disorder could be the fact that she wanted to lose some weight for that contest that she wanted to participate in. What began as losing some weight was reinforced by the positive feedback that she must have received from her peers. And so it turned into a vicious cycle. She got obsessed with it. There must have been a time where she must have thought that her thighs are too big or her tummy is too big and thus, the cycle continued.” The doctor replied.
“Oh my God! Will she be alright but?” Nisha’s father asked.
“Yes, she will be. We will put her under rehabilitation. There will be a team of doctors looking after her. We will help her gain proper nutrition and counsel her too. You both will also have a very important role to play to ensure it doesn’t occur again.” He said.
After about a period of 3 months, Nisha was healthy again. And in a better state of mind too. With the help of her parents, doctors and her motivation, she had managed to conquer the ‘beast’, which in this case was her eating disorder.
Pic Courtesy: Google Images
Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.