Juliette is a student in psychology at the University of Montreal. Ardent feminist and passionate about her field of study, she decided, as of today, to talk about eating disorders.

I have read about self-esteem, harassment, and liberation in relation to feminine standards in the previous portraits. Following the same train of thought, I will speak about my ambitions and my journey as a child, student, and woman searching for answers. I am Juliette, I have just turned 19 years old and I am studying in psychology at the University of Montreal. I have been asked, “Why psychology?” and to that, I have replied: “I find the human brain fascinating.” However, this is but a half-truth.

As of July 20, 2020, it has been exactly 8 years since my mother has passed away. An accident or a psychogenic death, the answer remains unclear. Besides an extremely difficult mourning, her passing pushed me to pursue my studies, even to this day. My dear mother was suffering from anorexia nervosa since her teenage years as well as binge eating episodes. I am infinitely grateful for my father who never once stopped loving or supporting her, despite the illness eating at her.

Anorexia is defined as a loss of appetite; however, the eating disorder that is anorexia nervosa is so much more. Often associated with other disorders such as depression, it is characterized by a will to starve oneself and a fear of gaining weight due to an obsession with appearance and a desire to have self-control. An enormous amount of psychic processes is involved.

Too many people from my circle have suffered from this disease, particularly my mother who died from it. For years now, I have been wanting to understand what pushes people into this illness, its origins, causes, and processes. But, much to my dismay, psychiatrists still understand very little about anorexia nervosa. For this reason, I have taken it upon myself to find answers.

Since September 2019, I have been studying psychology to decipher the human being, such a complex species that is. How we think, why we act, what motivates us, what makes us happy or sad, what characterizes our emotions and so much more. Following my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I would like to continue learning about psychopathology to comprehend and, I hope, to be able to treat those eating disorders.

What may seem a source of sadness is especially revolting to my eyes. So many factors as simple as ads and images we see all over the internet can lead to a malaise with one’s appearance, to low self-esteem, and to some sort of need to slim down to be “enough.” Many things can, through being exposed to it continuously, integrate someone’s personal vision. The worship of the skinny woman, the idea that thinness amounts to beauty and joy, the diet culture and many more, are toxic. These phenomena explain why it is important to deconstruct the relationship we maintain with our body. Themes such as self-esteem, self-vision, and self-confidence need to be addressed more often in the education of both girls and boys. This is the change I want to bring.

For a few years now, I have been committing myself, in quite a personal way, to promote the body-positive movement and kindness towards one’s body and self. I often discuss with my friends to deconstruct the diet culture and to shed light on self-esteem.

In fact, every time I recall what my mother went through, every time I read a passage of a book mentioning bulimia or anorexia, every time I hear someone say “I really need to lose weight,” I promise myself that I will never stop looking for answers. To find some sort of closure concerning what my mother went through, probably, and especially to, in the future, help victims of eating disorders and prevent its onset in anyone.

To you, who is reading this and feels bad about yourself, do not worry. It is merely temporary. You will feel better. Talk about it with the right people. You are worth it, and you are beautiful as you are.

– Juliette, on July 22th, 2020


Content translated by Chanelle Lavoie.

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