Current Affairs
Young woman had stopped eating and used to weigh herself 15 times a day – today she is cured and has become a mother

During her adolescence and her first few years as a. young woman, she used to avoid taking photos because she began hating the sight of her own image.

Dorothy Scicluna told TVM that she was aware she was skinnier that she should be, however she had lost control and used to only live to lose weight. She used to weigh herself 15 times a day. Today she is cured from anorexia after being treated at Dar Kenn għal Saħħtek.

For 17 years, Dorothy’s only thought was to lose weight.  Now that it has been five years since she was cured of anorexia, she talks about how she used to avoid eating from the time she was 11 years old, and that when she was at the worst point in her illness, she only used to weigh 35 kilos.

“Whatever the number is on the scales, you always want to weigh less. You make a target and you reach that target but you say, now I want to lose more. In reality, you are only fooling yourself and although you say that when you  reach number X you will stop and start eating normally, that never happens until you start receiving proper treatment.”

The scales had become her obsession. “I used to weigh myself 15 times or more a day,” she recalls.

According to researchers, anorexia is the most psychological condition which can lead to death, often through complications in the body’s organs. Dorothy describes how when her doctor told her that she has a problem in her kidneys, she felt nothing, and didn’t react.

“I had a problem with my kidneys, they were shutting down, but at the same time, I was focussing so much on my weight that I was not afraid. I was not afraid that I might die.”

Gradually, her anorexia developed into bulimia, which is another type of eating disorder, where people who suffer from this condition try to regurgitate the food they would have eaten.

“You would be so deprived of food that you would binge…for someone who is anorexic, binging could be a normal meal for those who do not suffer from this condition. For example, if I was going to have dinner, for me that was a binge in my mind, so I would try to remove it one way or another.”

Dorothy entered Dar Kenn għal Saħħtek when she was 28 years old and says that from that point her lift changed completely.

“There is a multi-disciplinary team which makes you feel safe, you have psychologists, nutritionists, therapists, and last but not least, the group I was with, of course. Those are the people who helped me the most, because you start realising that you are all coming from different backgrounds but you all have the same problem. When I used to go through certain things I used to wonder, am I alone in this? But then you come here and listen to others who have passed through the same thing and somehow they can understand you better.”

Although she no longer suffers from anorexia and is the mother of an eight-month-old baby, Dorothy said that she avoids all those things which can cause her to once again start avoiding food. “Because it is such a scary thing. Someone who hasn’t been through it will just tell you, ‘eat and you will get over it’ but it is like someone else is inside of you.”

Dorothy apealed to all those who are refusing to eat and for whom food has become the centre of their life, to seek help immediately. “The longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes, because then it becomes your identity, you know how to live with it, and you are afraid of letting it go,” Dorothy warns.

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