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‘Siblings have a unique bond, which no one else can experience. So the death of a sibling is considered to be a unique experience.'(Robinson & Mahon, 1997; Worden, Davies & McCown, 1999). I would like to start my essay with this quotation because, in this essay, I will explain my experience, death of the loss of my sibling, and twin sister. In this regard, I will explain how a negative event (stressor) leads to and impacts physical and mental health adversely with reference to Peggy A. Thoits’ article.

On July 8th, 2015, my life changed forever. This was the worst day of my life. If you have ever lost someone you loved, you will know that this pain is indescribable. For me, losing my twin sister four years ago still saddens me. Losing someone is hard to accept, remembering her is easy but missing her will never go away. Only God knows how much I miss her and would do anything to have her back. My twin sister, Seren, was seventeen years old when she died because of cancer. She was like my best friend and my right hand. As a kid, we did everything together. If I was sad, she was the shoulder I was crying on. Whenever things got too tough for me to handle, she handled it for me. We went through everything together. She was always there to push me a little harder and to laugh with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better relationship with a sibling. My twin sister’s death affected me both psychologically and physically. I had an eating disorder after her death. As mentioned in Peggy A.Thoits’ article Stress and Health: Major Findings and Policy Implications, ‘Socially undesirable or negative events were more strongly associated with poor physical and mental health than desirable, positive events (Brown and Harris 1978; Hatch and Dohrenwend 2007; Thoits 1983). Because of this, the terms “life events” or “stressful events” now refer to negative changes in people’s lives.’ The loss of my twin sister is the loss of a person who shared a unique co-history with me. She was an integral part of my past. When death takes my sister, it also takes away one of my connections to the past. Consequently, a constant is gone. This can make me feel insecure, although I knew another member of my family was with me. Her death made me think that my family is dwindling. And the death of her suddenly made me an only child. It creates a profound shift in the role I have held for all my life. This new role, when combined with my grief, made it difficult to wade through the many complicated emotions that arise when she dies. The ambivalence gave rise to guilt. I experienced guilt, sadness, and regret because the relationship was never what I ideally would have wanted it to be. I have not spent as much time together. My survival itself is another source of guilt, especially when I recall the times when I wished her. Therefore, I always thought what happened to her would also happen to me. She lost a lot of weight in the last months of her life. The more she lost weight, the more I wanted to lose weight as much as she did. Here is the beginning of the emergence of my eating disorder, anorexia nervosa. Her death was not a sudden event. Rather, it is a process. Siblings influence one another’s development, not only in childhood but throughout the life course (Kramer and Kowal 2005). Rostila, Saarela, and Kawach likewise argue that bereavement in childhood can negatively affect our physical and mental health for the rest of our lives. A sibling relationship constitutes a lifelong family tie. They share a common family heritage and a common genetic background. A sibling is a mirror and a fundamental part of how we develop a self through reflection and relationships. When they die, we lose an essential and formative part of ourselves.

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My Story of Anorexia Nervosa

There is a lot more to anorexia than having the “perfect body.” There is a lot hidden behind the fake smiles that I put on in hopes that I can convince people that I am not sick. A lot happens behind closed doors that onlookers do not notice. The reality of anorexia is horrifying and something that nobody should ever have to go through. Anorexia leads to temporary happiness and a fake feeling of success, but with time, it all disappears. I told myself that I only gave in to the eating disorder’s thoughts and commands until I reached my first goal weight, but once I hit that, I was not able to stop. I had to keep going. Anorexia is losing all my friends because I am too afraid to go out because there might be food involved and even being around food will make me fat because I can feel the calories. Anorexia is ignoring my friends when they try to reach out to me and offer support and even pushing them away until I am entirely alone. All I thought about was food. My life revolved around eating food, exercising to make up for food, hiding food, cutting up food, and counting the calories of food. I took a lot of laxatives in hopes that I could rid myself of the one piece of bread I ate for lunch. I prayed and told God that this was the last time I restricted and that tomorrow I would start recovery but tomorrow kept getting extended until I forgot about recovery. I faint every morning as I get out of bed. I thought that I was failing. Anorexia makes me fear certain foods. At first, I tried to eat healthfully and avoid carbohydrates. I went vegan, and I told people that it was because of my love and respect for animals, but in reality, I know that this just gives an excuse to cut out many food groups. Suddenly, I restricted myself from eating and only drinking water and green tea. Anorexia made me fear some of my favorite foods. Everything became scary and I avoided everything until there was nothing left. I starved until I was barely there anymore. My bones and organs were still alive but my soul and heart were dead. I was existing, but not living. When people around me say that they wish that they were anorexic, they fail to consider the other side of the illness. They do not realize how painful lonely and scary it is. The things one should remind oneself/himself that you are more than your body. You are more than a number or a measurement. Your life means more than the number on the scale, your GPA, the calories you ate, or the number of Instagram likes on your picture. You are the light you spread to everyone around you. You are the hope and joy you give to the world. You are so much more than something as insignificant as your body. You are your soul and your heart and your mind, and you are worthy of so much love, smiles, and adventures.

I would like to end my essay with a quote I loved from the writer Annie Lamott.

‘You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.’ (Lamott, 2005, p.174)

References

    1. Kramer L, Kowal AK. Sibling relationship quality from birth to adolescence: The enduring contributions of friends. Journal of Family Psychology. 2005;19:503–511. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    2. Lamott, A. (2005). Plan B: Further thoughts on faith. New York: Riverhead Books.
    3. McCown, D., & Davies, B. (1995). Patterns of grief in young children following the death of a sibling. Death Studies, 19, 41-53.
    4. Robinson, L., & Mahon, M. M. (1997). Sibling bereavement: A concept analysis. Death Studies, 21, 477-499.

#heathcare #medical #medicalcare #pharmaceuticals #healthcareprofessional #nurses #healthprofessionals

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