It takes a lot of courage to change your life.
Sarah Ramadan has been fighting her way back to wellness for most of her young life, and now that she’s finally in a healthy place both mentally and physically, she’s hoping that her experience with eating disorders might help others, too.
When Sarah was 14 she experienced the usual growing pains of puberty. She felt powerless and out of control, and her perfectionist tendencies didn’t help ease the anxiety of those angst-ridden teen years. She began to obsess over her self-perceived imperfections, and soon her self-confidence suffered as a result.
Sarah began trying to lose weight as a way to regain control in her life. She wanted to portray a certain image to the outside world; one in which she was much stronger and more disciplined than she felt. Unfortunately, she soon began to obsess over the number on the scale, and by the time she hit high school she was nearly crippled by anorexia.
“My weight spiraled so low to the point where my legs could no longer support my skeletal stature,” Sarah explained. “I developed an irregular heartbeat, my organs were failing to function, and I couldn’t move without my vision going black. My brain was starving, and I couldn’t rationally comprehend the dangers inflicted upon my life.”
Once she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa she was rushed to the hospital where doctors tried desperately to save her life. She spent seven long months in the hospital’s intensive treatment facilities, but even during her treatment, she refused to see the truth of her situation.
“I constantly fought back the support from loved ones, the worries of my medical team, and the body I grew to hate. I didn’t believe in recovery, because I didn’t believe in myself.”
Sarah was discharged and relapsed multiple times. When she went to college at age 18 she hoped for a fresh start. Instead, the stress of her studies and being in a new environment sent her into another downward spiral.
“In January of 2014, my weight plummeted to the lowest it has ever been, and I was immediately removed from university for medical interventions. I could no longer walk without the aid of my mother’s arm, as my limbs were too weak to support themselves. My hair fell out in clumps and I bruised in bed as there was no flesh to cushion my body.”
Finding herself at her weakest physical state and at rock-bottom, something finally clicked in her mind. She realized then that she had a choice to make: beat her anorexia or die.
“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I yearned to feel fulfilled, a wish that could never be genuinely granted by the disorder’s tricky tactics. From that moment on, I made a promise to dedicate my actions to values that hold genuine promise and to embrace who I am unapologetically, all while negating the illness that will never be in control again.”
Sarah turned to her biggest role model, her brother Aladdin Ramadan. Aladdin was a bodybuilder so he devoted himself to helping his sister with all the wisdom he had to offer. He encouraged Sarah to hit the gym to build her muscular strength and stamina, not to lose weight.
“I started to train to feel strong in my body, no longer having to rely on the disorder for a sense of accomplishment and strength. I began to disassociate food with evil implications and saw it as the fuel and nourishment that allowed me to grow past my eating disorder’s undermining restraints.”
“With every bite and step I took, Aladdin led the way, reassuring and reminding me every day of my capabilities and strengths. Through his teachings, I embraced life with sincere gratitude and growing intentions. Aladdin saw my worth, and through him, I finally saw it too.”
While Sarah admits that there are still times when she struggles, she refuses to give up on leading a healthy lifestyle. She says her brother’s love for her inspires her to this day, and she finds strength in loving herself and teaching others to love themselves, too.
“Today, I live freely, intentionally, and with purpose. I am not a victim to my suffering, rather I am a victor for overcoming the barriers that will never intrude my life again. I gained weight, but most importantly, I gained life.”
Sarah continues to inspire all who see her succeeding in life after overcoming a deadly eating disorder. Just seeing her looking so healthy gives others who are in the midst of fighting anorexia hope. Thank you for sharing your story and providing a great example to others, Sarah.
Please share this story to let anyone who’s struggling with eating disorders to get help. There’s always hope for a healthier future!
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