We all have something we don’t like about ourselves — the color of our eyes, our height or weight, facial features, or body figures. But because some people aren’t able to appreciate these things that make us unique, we often end up wanting to fix our flaws, without knowing that what we’re doing is already making us sick. One concrete example for this is the case of anorexic people.
As defined by Mayo’s Clinic, anorexia is an intense fear of gaining weight. People suffering from this disorder limit their intake of food, control their calorie intake by vomiting, and misuse diet aids and laxatives. Though it is often associated with emotional problems, most people with anorexia thinks that self-worth can only be determined by how thin you are.
Over a decade ago, Rachael Farrokh was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Since she only weighed 40 lbs., hospitals refused to accept her for treatment. She suffered from multiple complications such as edema, liver, heart, and kidney failure, as well as blood clots.
The medical treatment for anorexia concerns two different aspects: physical and psychological. This means Rachael has to be treated in a facility that would suit her needs. Sad to say, these facilities are hard to find and are often very expensive.
Rachael really wanted to get better. However, she didn’t have enough funding. In an effort to raise money, she sought help through a YouTube video.
“My name’s Rachael. I need your help. In order for us to get there—and I’m not one to ever ask for help—I need your help. We need your help. Otherwise, I don’t have a shot, and I’m ready to get better. So please, if there’s anything you can do to save my life, please click this link that you’ll see and do anything you can. Anything will help,” she said.
Aside from the video, her husband also helped her start a GoFundMe page where she raised almost $200,000.
With all the money she raised, she first got a team to assist her in her recovery while at home. When she was all set, she traveled to a treatment facility in Portugal.
While in Portugal, Rachael received the treatment she needed. There, she started to gain weight. In a Facebook post, she claimed she still has lots of work to do and that the battle isn’t close to being finished. But she said she won’t let any obstacle slow her down.
She told CNN, “I’m excited about life, because what was a glimmer of hope 3 months ago has turned into a certainty to live. I regained the clarity and strength of my mind. My goal in this recovery process is to create awareness and education in order to help others battling this disease.”
As she continues with her treatment and recovery, many doubted and questioned the use of the money. Some people were asking if she was really getting better. Well, anorexia is an extremely slow process. For Rachael’s case, it would take about 3 to 5 years.
Rachael started with a very small and slow calorie intake of about 25 calories per day. If she eats too much, her metabolism would go into overdrive, which may result in her losing more weight.
Now that she’s almost close to finish, she wants others to be inspired and be encouraged to fight eating disorders.
She said, “I want to bring awareness to this disease because it’s going unnoticed, and there’s a lot of shame around eating disorders right now. It’s inspiring me to want to get better—I want my struggle to help other women know that they aren’t alone. This terrible disease should not be kept in the closet of shame.”
Everybody—even the anorexic—deserves to live a life of love and fulfillment, but overcoming this kind of mental illnesses doesn’t happen overnight. If you wish to be inspired, you can follow the updates about Rachael’s treatment through her Facebook page or her YouTube channel.