What It Feels Like: I Rediscovered Myself After Battling an Eating Disorder

By Homaira Kabir
March 02, 2023

What It Feels Like is a series of personal essays written by individuals about their own experiences and the aspects of treatment and support that they feel have helped them. The authors are not mental health experts, and the information in the essays is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult a qualified mental health expert if you have specific mental health concerns or conditions. If this is an emergency, call 911 immediately.

When I was 13, my father, a Pakistani diplomat, was sent to work in Senegal, a French-speaking country at the western tip of Africa. Naturally, our family moved with him. This was his second ambassadorial posting, but the first since I had been a small child, and it meant leaving Sri Lanka, where I'd spent the previous five years and formed all my childhood memories.

As a sensitive child, I was distraught because I was leaving behind everything that had been part of my life: my friends; my grandma, who had always lived with us; and my art, in which I would lose myself for hours. Instead, I had to attend a French school even though I didn’t speak a word of the language.