Janina Bagherzadeh, an 18-year-old arts and creative writing major, talked with The Scribe about her art, writing and her battle with anorexia.
She shared her own written speech with the newspaper titled, “In My Own Words” in which she explains the realizations she came to before deciding to return to treatment and take her life back from her eating disorder.
“I’ve had problems with how I viewed myself as long as I could remember,” Bagherzadeh said. “Elementary school onwards. Just feeling kind of outside of other people ya’ know, feeling like the weird one and comparing how I looked to other people.”
She explained that things started getting really serious when she was 13.
Sitting criss-crossed in her seat, Bagherzadeh talked about how her parents had started to show concern regarding her weight loss, how they tried to convince her to eat “just a little more” during meals, and how it took a while for anyone outside of her family to say anything about it.
After her first time in treatment, she had gone to see a group therapist who planted the idea in Bagherzadeh’s mind that she should write a speech for the National Eating Disorders Association Walk.
NEDA is a nonprofit organization that helps support families and individuals suffering from eating disorders.
“It was completely my decision,” she said. “So on the way home in the car I was with my mom she was holding my hand and I told her I need to go back to treatment and she started crying so hard.”
This time Bagherzadeh took control of her eating disorder instead of letting it control her, she said.
“It had gone on so long I felt like I was trapped in my own rules and strict way of living that I couldn’t live that I was just upset and depressed every day and I knew it wasn’t good,” she said.
“I wanted to get better and be free from my chains so I decided to go back.”
That was in July 2014. She returned home in October of that year. She now expresses herself through her art and her writing and has even shared some of her past work with The Scribe in the “Writers Nook” section.
When asked what she would say to someone currently battling with anorexia, she paused for a second, scanning the floor with her eyes as if she was searching for the right words written in the cement.
“They’re stronger, they’re stronger than their eating disorder,” she advised. “They may think it’s their friend but eventually you’re going to want to do something so badly and your eating disorder won’t let you and that’s where you’re going to feel stuck, and that’s when you’re going to feel imprisoned.”
Recovery is a decision you must make for yourself, she said, know that people care for you, know that help is out there. You are not your eating disorder, take charge and free yourself. Like Janina did.