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Sometimes Life is More Than I Can Stomach

Sometimes Life is More Than I Can Stomach

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Sometimes Life is More Than I Can Stomach

181 Seiten
2 Stunden
1. März 2020


Sometimes Life is More Than I Can Stomach: How I Conquered My Eating Disorder

Psychosomatic illnesses are unfortunately very prevalent in this day and age. Many sufferers and their relatives often feel completely helpless in the face of these conditions and their progression. In this book, the author recounts her own tale of suffering. Using diary entries and narratives, she gives the reader a ruthlessly honest insight into her thoughts and the daily ordeals she went through during her more than seven-year struggle with an eating disorder. But she also offers hope for a fulfilling life. Despite her anorexia, – which later turned into bulimia, depression, and borderline disorder – she managed to free herself from this vicious cycle and now leads a content and symptom-free life with her husband and two children. Nina Federlein: “Every eating disorder sufferer has their own story. This is mine.”

1. März 2020

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Sometimes Life is More Than I Can Stomach - Nina Federlein


Had someone told me that everything would be okay and that I would find my place in the world, things might have been easier for me back then. But nobody knew how things would turn out!

Today I am happily married and my husband’s mere presence assures me that everything is and will be okay. And I love him for that!

My two amazing sons are living proof that the battle was worth it, that my life has a purpose, and that each day is a gift.

This book is meant to encourage others in similar circumstances that the battle is worthwhile because there is life after the disease— and a wonderful one at that.

Every eating disorder sufferer has their own story.

This is mine:

Part 1: Oh right, I have anorexia

Like many others before me, I spent a lot of time searching for the triggering cause that set off my illness. Still, finding it wouldn’t have been much help in my daily fight to survive. Looking back on the years I suffered with an eating disorder, there is one experience that I feel marks the beginning of my illness:

Like every Monday, we had the day off from riding classes. But that made no difference to me since I couldn’t ride my pony, Mausi, anyway. She had suffered a bad case of colic three days earlier and the vet was stopping by in the afternoon for another consultation.

I was really looking forward to saddling her up again soon!

The stable was as calm as every Mondays. There weren't any riding students and most adults were still at work in the afternoon, so I was alone apart from the stable groom. Since the vet had not arrived yet, I seized the opportunity to take Mausi out for a grooming—it was my favorite thing to do! That was when I would chat to her about school, my classmates, guys I was crushing on…

She was quite simply my closest companion of all.

Another pupil arrived as I finished up with Mausi. Luisa was there to practice some lunging with her pony Cellini. She made a beeline for the barn just as the vet finally pulled up in the yard.

I took Mausi out into the stable aisle so that the vet could consult her. Nodding approvingly, he said: Alright, a few more injections and she can slowly start moving again. She can begin feeding again this evening and get taken out for a gentle spin tomorrow.

I held Mausi still for the injection and, after administering the fifth one, the vet packed up his equipment.

Then everything happened so fast but also so incredibly slowly that it felt surreal:

The vet was just setting off as Mausi’s forelegs buckled. She struggled to remain vertical, tottered two steps further, and then buckled again. The sound of horseshoes striking against the stable floor as Mausi kept slipping, struggling, and buckling is something I will never forget! Her agony seemed to go on forever, but she eventually collapsed, motionless.

I crouched down beside her, stroking her large head resting on my legs. I had no idea what was happening, but as a grey veil pulled over her eyes and she ceased blinking and panting, I instinctively knew: It was over and no one could save her.

Mausi died in my arms. My best friend, my confidante, my one and only…dead.

I can hardly recall what happened next. I faintly remember calling my father and choking out: She’s dead!

Then someone picked me up while someone else cleaned up and took Mausi away…

I was all alone with no one who understood me…

That is not to say that my life had been smooth-sailing and easy up until that point, but my childhood had been very nice indeed.

We lived in a residential area and I spent my days playing outdoors with my brother who was four years my senior. We got along very well. That had something to with the fact that I always romped about with the boys and was never one to stay indoors playing with Barbie dolls. Seeing as I attended a Waldorf school until grade eight and we hardly watched any television in our home, I kept myself busy doing other things. I was a very good student and never really had any problems in school. I got along very well with the teachers and everybody knew me as a well-behaved, ambitious, confident, and cheerful girl who spoke out in defense of the weak.

I wasn’t the restrained and insecure girl I would later become, nor was I the unhappy or emotionally unstable woman I am today. These developed as a by-product of my illness.

My Grandma looked after me every day while my parents were at work. She would shuttle me to and from violin lessons, friends’ houses or the stable. I discovered horseback riding when I was ten years old. This passion kept me grounded even when things were not always sunshine and rainbows among the riders. We had a large group of girls that was often riven by small disagreements. But riding, grooming, and taking care of horses were my absolute favorite pastimes!

Getting Mausi at age thirteen was like a dream come true. I was already in the habit of going to the stable every day and Mausi just made it all the more special.

Not two years later, she was dead.

In retrospect, I would say that it all started there.

I was uprooted and faced with an event that I couldn’t make any sense of at a time when I was emotionally wracked by puberty. Or maybe this event brought memories of my parents’ divorce rushing back—I was two years old when they separated, but Mom remarried as soon as she found a suitable replacement father who wanted to raise us as his own. Either way, this fated October day turned my entire world upside down:

Dec 11, 1993

Dear Diary,

So here I am again. I’ve been feeling really shitty lately and haven’t been up for anything since Mausi died.

Besides, everything I try my hand at is guaranteed to go wrong.

I smoke and drink like crazy so I don’t have to constantly think about my loss. The group dynamic at the stable has also become unbearable; everyone’s fighting for some reason. I no longer have any responsibilities to take me out of the house so I hardly leave home. Luisa and I got so wasted at the Christmas stable party that I wound up sobbing over Mausi.

Afterwards two guys chatted us up and now one of them is all over Luisa…No one wants me.

I’ve been hitting it off with Caro from school. She’s sweet and seems like she’s already been through some stuff because I feel like there’s nothing I can’t talk to her about. But I just found out that she’s switching schools!!! And I’ll be alone again…This has become somewhat of a pattern for me. Christmas is right around the corner but I’m not up for it. What is there to look forward to? All I want to do is cry and hurt myself and everyone around me– I’d rather stay in bed. I have to put on a tough act as soon as I leave the house when all I really want is to break down in tears. My mom keeps saying it has to do with puberty.

Ha, good one! How can she possibly expect to know what’s going on if she’s never around? The only one who ever understood me is dead and the other one is switching schools!

My grades are also slipping – I haven’t gotten any D’s, but I’m getting fewer A’s and B’s. Everybody seems to have it in for me right now…

Whatever, I’m used to faking a smile because putting on the nice girl act is easier…

Ciao, see you soon!

I kept going to the stables on a regular basis– what else was I to do? I even got to ride other people’s horses, but it just wasn’t the same.

It was around that time that Luisa and I started bar-hopping. Luisa was my age, but fully developed and a real beauty.

In my eyes, she had everything I wanted: Her own horse and parents who supported her passion for riding (though I have to admit that her father was really annoying), took her to competitions, and had the means to buy her everything she wanted.

In short, Luisa had all the qualities of a boy-magnet, and I was her companion. That’s how it worked back then too: a beautiful woman would traipse around with her silent and insecure friend. That way, the wallflower (or ugly duckling) could also live a little. And a beauty always needs a wallflower to make her stand out even more.

At the time, I was insecure, had no sense of fashion, no cool shoes or clothes, wasn’t particularly attractive, – none of which had really mattered up to that point – and the dating world was still foreign territory as far as I was concerned.

But Luisa took it to herself to teach me the works. I still remember how she tried to pair me up with a guy one afternoon. He wasn’t interested in how smart or cute I was– no, he just wanted to know how many Burlington socks and Levi jeans I planned on adding to my wardrobe!

Yes, puberty was a really difficult time.

I lost my foothold at the stables and plunged headfirst into the unknown excitement of parties, boys, smoking, alcohol, love…I was sixteen and had to quickly make up for lost time.

When I reread my old diary entries, I’m struck by how naive and childish I was!

I was the ultimate late bloomer and didn’t get my period until I was sixteen. Swimming lessons were particularly embarrassing because I was the only one who could attend EVERY week! And my slow awakening to the world of drinking and smoking at sixteen sounds rougher than it truly was. Sheltered as I was, having a few drinks on the weekend seemed like a lot for me even though it was still pretty harmless at the time.

I perceived everything through my lens of innocence because I hadn’t even been French kissed or held hands with a boy yet. Then came New Year’s Eve:

Jan 10, 1994

Dear Diary!

I have so much to go over. New Year’s Eve was amazing. Luisa came over and we went to the party in Heuchelhof at 1 a.m. I was surprised that my parents let us go off like that!

When our cab dropped us off party, another fifteen people were already there. It took the both of us less than ten minutes to get tipsy again. Then Luisa said that Germot wanted to talk to me, so I followed him into the bathroom. That’s when things got really heated: while kissing, he began feeling me up and then asked if we should do it! EXCUSE ME? I just got my first French kiss and he already wanted to go all the way? At any rate, it meant he didn’t notice how insecure and inexperienced I really was!!!

I said Nooo and left the bathroom much too drunk to take notice of anything around me. Outside in the corridor I made out with Lars, then Gernot again, then Hahne…YESSSS!!!! It’s finally happened, my first real kiss!!!

We drove back home at 6:30 a.m.

There is a new horse I get to ride at the stable. I guess it’s better than nothing.

See you soon!

I started maturing the year I turned sixteen. The grey little duckling slowly blossomed into a graceful swan, as the saying goes. Since I no longer had any reason to stay short (I always hoped I would remain short enough to ride my pony back when she was still alive), I expanded in both height and width. I’ve got to say that I was never truly overweight, or even sturdy. At my heaviest I weighed 127 pounds and was 5’4" tall. That was at age seventeen.

I was given permission to ride the instructor’s new horse at the stables, things were looking up at school, and life at home was pretty calm. I just drifted along, fell in love again and again, and amassed the kinds of experiences associated with that age. I really came into my own with a clique that always gathered in the market square. At least five people would be there at any given time, and that number could even go up to thirty on the weekends. We would roam the city streets and always find something to do. I don’t even remember how I ended up hanging out with them. It must have been through Luisa or another classmate. In any case, I got to know one or two of them and, before long, I was integrated into the group:

Nov 22, 1994

I’ve been meeting so many new people lately! It all began the when I hung out with Wiebke, Phips, Sendl, Joh, Glupschi, and a few others over the break. Then I met Ufuk when I began taking dance lessons. He always hangs out in the market square or walks around the city with his friends in the afternoon. They mostly chill in front of the McDonald’s and I can always count on finding someone there when I walk by: Just, Schlumpf, Atnan, Omar, Lupus, Marco, Mike, Olli, and so on.

It feels like new people are showing up every day. On the weekends, we all meet up at the gas station and go to parties together. We either take the bus or a car since some of the guys already have their license.

When I went to the Letz Fetz with Luisa, they all suddenly started acting incredibly friendly towards me. Last year I was the loser and now they're greeting me as one of their own, saying Hey and everything. So dope!

I guess I'm more than just Luisa's follower in their eyes! After going to Bäulke on Saturday, Oli, Mike, Luisa and I went to Havanna and I met some cool new people before we finished up the night back at my house!

I'm really glad that I got to know a few people. I’m finally a somebody!!!

Gosh, another year has almost gone by…it’s been totally nuts. Maybe I should glue a few photos in here so I can look back on how I’ve changed. To think that a year ago I still hadn’t gotten my first kiss, didn’t know any people, and was totally different…As I said, it’s been totally nuts. I’m excited to see what next year has in store for me!!!

See you soon…

P.S. I told Dad that I smoke and he was incredibly chill about it!!! At first he didn’t say anything, but then he reached for an ashtray and offered me a cigarette. We both smoked in the kitchen. He says it would be unfair to forbit it since he also smokes. Is that dope or what!!? My dad is the best!

Jan 6, 1995

Christmas, New Year’s, and my birthday have all come and gone…

And I need to confess something: I did it. I’m no longer a virgin!!

Yesss, finally! But it’s also shitty because the act in itself wasn’t that great and I’m not even in a relationship with the guy. I've already learned that every good thing has a downside. Let’s take school as an example: I’m smart, get A’s, and feel good about myself; but my accomplishments turn the others against me. They call me a nerd and exclude me from their friend groups. The same thing happens at the stables: I’m not

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