My Name is Tosin and I am (was) a runway model, I was barely 21 when I ventured into modeling. I was the perfect cloth hanger model every fashion house sought after. I fit in with all the specs — 6’ft tall, slim, strong moderate hair length, flawless melanin skin tone and a pretty face. I knew I was born to be a model, and I had an eventful career I tell you no lie. I mean at 23 I already included gracefully strutting the Africa fashion week runway to my Curriculum Vitae.
I always had one fear through my rather short career, losing my “perfect” body. It got me money, fame, envious eyes, high profile suitors to list a few, what else could a young girl ask for? I became hell bent obsessed with maintaining my body as it was for as long as physically possible, no wrinkle, no stretch mark, not even one black head, I became anorexic (at this point I never fully understood what Anorexia was) I always taught it was when someone literally never ate anything due to some sort of trauma or emotional problem.
Anorexia is an eating disorder, its a disease that manifests in the mind. I had a deadly fear of gaining weight, with no physical symptom, it became for me, an enemy guised as a friend, its insidious. I would go days without eating, though I kept myself well hydrated and occasionally consumed fruits with very low calories.
When I did eat however it was never more than a hand full. Have you seen the supermodels for international designers? They were just perfect to me and I wanted to make it that far up my career ladder. I wanted to be Nigeria’s biggest supermodel and I couldn’t achieve that by getting fat, I needed to stay “perfect”. My career was soaring, life was really good save for the hunger induced insomnia (nothing a couple of sleeping pills didn’t solve).
It all went south when I attended the Launch of a certain resort center in Lagos, I was 25 at the time.
We were served a three course meal and of course liquor, under the influence of a few drinks I went all the way from appetizer to dessert. Upon returning to my home and sleeping off the alcohol buzz, I went knocking on hell’s door, I was overwhelmed by my fears of gaining weight I decided to induce vomiting; a few pills down and I was nose deep in the bowl of my water closet letting it all out, it was hell!!! I wretched and hurled till I threw up blood.
Thirty odd minutes into the self inflicted torment exhausted, dehydrated and drowsy, the urge to vomit finally subsided and my stomach felt restored to the way i liked it, empty. I washed my mouth, rinsed my face, drank a glass of water and decided to sleep on the rugged floor of my room just in case i had any reason to throw up, I didn’t want to have vomit on my sleigh bed.
I woke up around 6pm in the intensive care unit of a Hospital two days later the recipient of snide remarks from mean looking, gossiping nurses. I was told I threw up in my own mouth and almost drowned in my own vomit. I am now in recovery under a nutritionist and a therapist, though I know there is little or nothing I can do about the damage to my physical body. My quest to maintain the “perfect” body left me with a failing liver, cardiovascular complications, as well as peptic ulcer disease.
The hardest part of my ordeal is not my recovery, I think its being unable to recognize or accept that I had a problem; My own body was self destructing and my diseased mind blinded me from my reality. Eating disorders are real, I can tell you that.
I don’t want your pity or judgment all I want is that you learn from my story. Do not discard if you feel unaffected. A friend, family, neighbor, colleague could have this disease. Be informed!! If you come across anyone coping with an eating disorder or showing subtle signs of one, the first challenge is getting them to realize they have a problem.