Updated: Apr 3, 2020
*Trigger Warning: the discussion is around confronting personal struggles with an eating disorder*
Name: Emilie Nagahama
Age: 29 years old
Occupation: Software Engineer & UI/UX Designer
I’m working with someone right now doing a mentorship and the reason why I was so attracted to her was because of how open she’s been about her experience with bulimia. Because I also suffered from bulimia, which is definitely something I don’t really tell anybody, not even my parents and I knew she would relate to me in a special way. I feel like it’s one of those things where some of my friends may have gone through it as well or maybe I was the only one. I really don’t know because it’s something that wasn’t ever talked about.
When I was younger I would binge eat a lot and as I got older I didn’t have the same fast metabolism I did when I was a kid. My clothes got tighter and I started to see how binge eating was affecting my body. Naturally, I became self-conscious and it became my way of trying to control my weight. It was also totally related to self-hatred and not really liking myself as well as wanting more love from my parents. Growing up my parents were pretty distant, so food became a source of comfort. For a long time.
It was a very scary and secretive thing because I felt very uncomfortable eating in front of other people. I was always conscious not to physically consume too much in front of others and then late at night, I would dip out and binge. Growing up and finding a way to get out of that, which honestly took me 10 years, was hard but it became manageable as I worked on my mental health and learnt to value myself for who I was.
There are so many things you can do, and pour energy into, in order to show yourself love so that you can learn how to navigate an eating disorder or trauma. In the moment you don’t really realize how much anxiety builds up when you're going through something like that. And once you’re there it’s a really hard place to be seemingly stuck in. Truthfully, I feel like the whole experience was like a blessing and a curse. Even though it was hard; it also gave me a lot of clarity in life. It taught me about what I want, what I don’t want and what my own personal boundaries are. Now I am at a point where I can say that I am totally accepting of my body and who I am as a person, which is a really nice place to be.