Merthe van Wijk from Den Bosch still suffers from anorexia nervosa every day. She was diagnosed three years ago and has been working hard on her recovery ever since. This goes with trial and error. “There is a lot of misunderstanding about my eating disorder,” she says. So she wants to talk about what the disease really looks like. And she does so on the basis of her own story, though she also finds it a little sexy. “But talking about it is like a heavy load on my shoulders.”
Less than a week after her fourteenth birthday, Merth developed anorexia nervosa. This is an eating disorder that causes difficulty in consuming bitter leaf. When you eat, you feel a lot of stress and tension. “As if the world is ending,” even. “It’s like the beast in my head, in a low voice telling me not to eat.”
“At first, my mother had to go anywhere with me, otherwise I wouldn’t eat.”
Fortunately, with treatment and help from her loved ones, things are getting better and better. As a result, she can sometimes listen better to her body and less to the voice of the monster in her head. Even though eating is still very difficult, she says at the kitchen table at her mother’s house.
She warms her cold fingers over a cup of coffee with a little milk. “In the beginning, my mother had to go anywhere with me, otherwise I wouldn’t eat,” says Merth. Then the monster in my head won the battle. Her mother’s presence helped. “When she was there, she felt safer and dared to eat more often,” she explains. “And now I can often do without it,” she says with a clear relief on her face.
Because that’s the point: she wants to get over her illness. But to rely entirely on yourself, this is not yet possible. Therefore, during the day, Mir has to send videos to her mother, explaining that she is eating. It sounds crazy, but it ensures that the Myrthe plant will get out on its own again. “This is my motivation: I want my freedom back.”
“I’ve been told sometimes that I don’t look like I have an eating disorder.”
Sometimes the road to recovery is difficult for Mer, for example when she has to deal with misunderstandings in her environment. People cannot imagine her problem or have a completely different picture of her. “For example, some people think that you should always be underweight if you’re anorexic. But that’s not the case. Your weight says nothing about the severity of your eating disorder.”
“I’m told sometimes that I don’t look like I have an eating disorder at all. Or that I should be eating more. People are quick to judge, when in no way is that true.” And she wants to do something about it. “Because recovering is much more difficult; the problem is much deeper.” And an eating disorder affects not only the sick person, but also the family. “My mom, brother and sister are also having a hard time with it.”
“I hope to inspire people with it.”
That’s why Myrthe will be sharing her personal story via videos at Youtube And Instagram. To educate people about the disease. The first video will be released this week. She finds this very sexy, but it basically feels like a burden on her shoulders. “I feel ready and I really enjoy talking about it. Especially if you can be really open, it’s not a secret and you don’t have to stay superficial. I hope to inspire people with it.”
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