Anorexia is a debilitating eating disorder that causes the patient to suffer from severe obesophobia, the fear of gaining weight. A related disorder goes by the term bulimia, and people with this condition often have binge-eating episodes but would later perform self-induced vomiting to undo the effects of binge-eating.
Both eating disorders are deadly. Now imagine suffering from both at the same time. That’s what young woman Gemma Walker was trying to fight off.
At age 14, Walker was diagnosed with both bulimia and anorexia nervosa. At the time, she already received a warning from doctors that she would perish if didn’t get any treatment.
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Every day was like hell for the teen from Gold Coast, Australia. She became severely depressed. She resorted to self-harm just so she could deal with the pain. Sometimes, she would arrive at the hospital wearing gym weights to make doctors believe that she has gained some weight.
When Walker started to take her first step toward recovery, she found herself struggling with refeeding syndrome and having problems with binge-eating. She would try to gain some weight by eating up to 6500 calories in just 20 minutes, but whenever she does, she would experience hallucinations and pass out after.
Gemma Walker’s parents describe those times as the most terrifying and hardest years in their life. It was heart-wrenching to wake up early in the morning and go to Gemma’s room just to see if she was still breathing. They felt so helpless and would at times just sit on the floor beside her bed, expecting the inevitable.
Gemma was hospitalized for three times and had two re-feeding and long-term psychiatric admissions with one emergency care in the past seven years. During her disorder’s peak, her parents had to consider palliative care after she was given only 48 hours to live because her weight dropped to an alarming 56 lbs.
However, there is always a silver lining in every story, and Gemma has indeed survived her own ordeal. She has miraculously recovered and is now sharing her past photos along with her stories of struggle. She is hopeful that she would be able to encourage a lot of people who are battling eating disorders to keep on fighting, telling them that they too will make it out alive.
Gemma credits her recovery to her partner and the undying support of her parents. She said that she wouldn’t even be alive today if it weren’t for them.
Gemma is now doing well and has even built her own cosmetic business and skincare called Rejuvinateme.