*This blog talks about eating disorders, please be aware of potential triggers.
On the night of the 24th February I watched “overshadowed” on Iplayer and this story is based on true events about a girl who slowly begins to get “overshadowed” by the “demon” I call it inside of her, which is metaphorically the voice in her head that tells her she’s is fat, she needs to do excruciating exercises to lose weight, skip meals, to slowly deteriorate.
At first, I thought the “demon” was a normal character in the television programme, that was just a bully, you know telling her to lose weight etc. But I guess that is the beauty of how the TV programme portrayed “the demon”. As a character that is innate in the protagonists life, so vivid that the protagonist believes that she is real. Or even she is turning into “the demon”.
This show touched me in so many way it was surreal. I sat there in silence, curling up into a little ball just fixated on the girl and “the demon” and how the girl suddenly came to a breaking point. Because I know how she felt, I know how how that breaking point feels like. Having experience with problems with body image and eating, it felt like she was portraying my life at me, like she was telling me the damage, the hurt I was doing to myself and what I could do to others.
I never knew (and I still am quite unsure) what caused this but when I was little (so about 6 maybe 7 years old) I always threw up my food after lunchtime. I didn’t like the noise, the people around me, I felt so suffocated that it all just came rushing out. Sometimes even before I went into the canteen, I was already sick. My teachers tried everything: having everyone sit in silence and eat their lunch, making me eat my lunch in a separate room, sending me home to eat my lunch, but nothing worked. I just never ate lunch and still to this present day, I very rarely eat lunch. And if I do, it is usually just a banana. Or breakfast biscuits because those are really yummy :)
My body insecurity occurred around Year 11. I notice that I didn’t like how my body was, I always pointed out everything that I hated about it and always tried to find ways to improve my body. I worked out at the gym vigorously, doing yoga and dancing. But I still didn’t like how my body was. Exams were approaching and the stress got to me as well as my insecurity and I guess I was overshadowed by the voices in my head saying that I wasn’t good enough, I was fat and I must be a particular weight.
And I hit breaking point. I deliberately skipped meals such as breakfast (the most important meal of the day), lunch and I only would eat dinner. I went to the gym on an empty stomach and didn’t eat until 5pm. Bearing in mind I went to the gym around 6am in the morning. I noticed that I began to feel more tired as usual and I was always feeling dizzy and that I had to maintain this horrible, sick routine due to “the demon” because I was being overshadowed.
I began to count calories in Summer 2018. I began to do that because I thought me tracking how much calories I ate meant that I could still lose weight as well as have the accurate amount of calories I am supposed to have. But this wasn’t the case, it began to become a vicious cycle
of me always being conscious of what I was eating and checking the back of boxes and cartons and check how many calories were in everything. And I began to avoid mirrors because I felt sick at the sight of my body, felt sick at looking at the fat on my body and I began to feel frustrated. Because I was doing everything by the books. Gym? Check. Counting calories? Check. But what about my mental health? Did I really check how that was doing?
I have always avoided getting help because I feel like I don’t need it or that I am afraid of my family of knowing my body insecurity. I never really like talking about what is going on inside my head because I feel like my problems are miniscule compared to the plethora of issues in this society so I hide behind the voices overshadowing me.
But this TV show has made me see that what I am experiencing now isn’t okay. And what I need is to fight this “demon” and conquer this daily battle I am going through. I am trying. And I will win.
~ Atlanta Montague, 17 member of YMHM