In 1988, when she was fifteen, JJ Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. During her ten-week stay, JJ had to eat everything on her tray, and took classes like “Assertiveness Training,” “Depression Management,” and “Body Image Workshop.” She gained weight, but her path toward health was a constant struggle. In her heart, JJ knew-she knew-that she would be a happy, healthy adult one day.
But how? Instead of a clear path, there was a black abyss. She needed a guide, a mentor, someone who knew her inside and out.
So, one morning, just before weigh-in, JJ closed her eyes and made a deal with herself:
I promise myself that when I’m grown up, and happy, I will come back here, to these months. Healthy me will guide bulimarexic me through this.
This book is that promise, kept.
I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Believarexic is an autobiography of JJ Johnson’s of her time in hospital when she was 15. She was admitted for Bulimarexia. She stayed there for 10 weeks.
The fact that this is a true story really highlights the truth of the different illnesses that’s in the world. It’s tough when you realise that you might be something and no one believes you. I think that’s one of the worse things that can happen when someone discovers they have an illness; when others refuse to acknowledge it. Kind of ironic I think, because people say the first step is acceptance and what are they doing? Rejecting the acceptance.
I found this book slightly triggering because of the things JJ had been through. Her family dynamic and some of the things she had to face. I’m not saying the book will trigger each and everyone who reads it, but it triggered me. I had to take a walk and eat something and to get my senses running again. I was told not to read such heavy things. But I learn from this. This was JJ’s promise she made and kept, and I plan to share it and carry it on to someone who needs it. JJ believed that one could recover from their disease, the disease doesn’t make the person. I believe that too.
In her ten weeks, I learnt so much. I learnt that you can’t always know who your true friends are. Things may seem normal, there might be red flags flying so high but at the same time it might be a corner of the eye movement, unnoticeable until someone points it out or something bad happens.
Apart from having an illness, there might be other factors that also affect it which was proven throughout the book. I feel that this book is more of a guide to help others, not to enable and to help them believe that recovery is possible if they ‘work the program’.
I thank JJ for putting her story out there. I can’t imagine what it must’ve taken her. Thank you JJ.
Read: 22 September 2015
Publication Date: 1 October 2015
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: J.J. Johnson