Elise Cassan, 19, began writing a book about anorexia when she came out of her third hospitalization. Through her testimony, the young student from Toulouse wanted to share her knowledge about the disease and her advice to get out of it.
This Saturday, September 3, at the Leclerc in Saint-Orens-de-Gameville, Elise Cassan signs her book “It’s time to turn the stars on again! Start curing yourself of anorexia”. The young woman, a resident of Saint-Orens and a student in the preparatory biology class at the Fermat High School in Toulouse, chose to share her experience to help people suffering from anorexia and their families who do not always understand the disease.
How did your anorexia start?
At the end of my sophomore year, I wanted to lose weight even though I was pretty skinny. I started to watch what I ate and wanted to do more and more sports. My logic was the following: if you want to eat, you have to compensate with sport. This organization took my mind, I lost 5 kg in a year. When I returned to the last year, the general practitioner sent me to the nutrition department of the CHU where the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa was made.
How did they take care of you?
I saw a psychiatrist and a psychologist for a few months. But I continued to lose weight and exercise a lot. In March 2020, the decision was made to intern me for a month to be able to pass high school with peace of mind. Lockdown came a week later and I went home. There, he did up to three hours of “Hiit” (short, intense sports sessions) a day, even during video lessons. I weighed 12 kg less on the scale, it was almost a third of my starting weight.
And did you go back to the clinic?
Yes, at the end of June, for two months in order to start the new school year correctly. I had my baccalaureate and was admitted to the Physics and Biology preparatory class at Fermat. I really wanted to heal but I had a hard time accepting gaining weight again. Despite this hospitalization and food supplements, he was still below the goal set by the psychiatrist. I felt that I was at the breaking point, that I had to be hospitalized so as not to falter for the rest of my life.
“Anorexia was a way to protect myself, to maintain control”
There, your goal was to heal?
Although I had the impression of experiencing it as a failure, I accepted the idea of making a blank school year. It was December 7, 2020, I had planned to leave once healed. These four months of hospitalization saved me. It was very difficult for me to get into care, get rid of the routine, but thanks to deep psychological work I was able to unlink food and sports and return to a calmer life. I needed to understand the disease: why me, why this way? That’s what got me out of it.
What did you understand about anorexia?
Anorexia was a means put in place to protect myself, to maintain control and also to attract attention. Since my brain was always busy with things like food, sports sessions, I didn’t think of anything that could make me anxious. Sport was like a drug, I took anxiolytics to calm me down.
Did writing this book help you?
My psychiatrist encouraged me and told me that I had a strange understanding of the disease. I managed to put words to anorexia. In a month I wrote everything, I wanted to share what I had understood with other patients and their relatives, to make them feel guilty, to tell them that it is possible to get out of it. Apollinaire’s quote, “It’s time to rekindle the stars” suited me perfectly, but since the title was already taken for a Virginie Grimaldi novel, I adapted it!
How are you today ?
For a long time I thought anorexia would still be there, now I feel like it’s over. I spent a normal year in preparation, made a lot of friends, went on vacation, went back to restaurants, and played sports for fun. My goal is to do research in neuroscience… I need to understand how the brain works.
Book signings on Saturday September 3 in Saint-Orens
Élise Cassan will be present at the Leclerc de Saint-Orens this Saturday, September 3, for a signing session from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The book “It’s time to rekindle the stars” (Verone Editions) is available in several bookstores and in the form of an Ebook.
Information on the website www.startlaguerisondelanorexie.fr
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