'There are so many side effects no one knows': Local teen opens up about her anorexia struggle in newly published e-book

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"I could absolutely, positively, 100% NOT eat this slice of cake. No ways. I’d rather write every single exam of my life over again, without studying. I’d rather stand in front of the school and sing the national anthem backward while spinning on one leg. I’d rather — well, you get the point".(Toa Heftiba/Unsplash)
"I could absolutely, positively, 100% NOT eat this slice of cake. No ways. I’d rather write every single exam of my life over again, without studying. I’d rather stand in front of the school and sing the national anthem backward while spinning on one leg. I’d rather — well, you get the point".(Toa Heftiba/Unsplash)

(Not) A piece of cake! Is an e-book recently written and published by 19-year-old Capetonian, Hannah Altmann, giving readers a glimpse into her struggle with Anorexia, an eating disorder, unfortunately, all too common amongst young girls today. 

Through her book, Hannah shares the ins and outs of living with this all-consuming disorder and the devastating impact that it has on family and friends.

Eating disorders are amongst the deadliest mental health illnesses, world-wide they affect more than 70 million people, and account for a staggering 10 200 deaths annually, that’s one death every 52minutes every year!

"Eating disorders are not as superficial as wanting to look a certain way, being more attractive or desirable. They are a coping mechanism for the real stresses and issues in someone’s life. It’s a lot easier to say, 'I’m fat' or 'I’m gaining weight' than it is to say, 'I might be alive, but I don’t feel like it, I feel lost and alone, so it only feels right for my body to appear that way too'", explains the teen author. 

"Eating disorders are just physical manifestations of issues that are occurring in someone's mind. Remember that!"

Also see: Here’s what happens in your teen's brain while they scroll through social media

'There are so many side effects that no one knows'

In a world where being skinny is glamorised, Hannah hopes to shed some light on the real intricacies of this devastating disease.

"Anorexia, in particular, is not just about not eating. It is about fighting with your family at every meal, refusing to go out for birthdays... It is being cold all the damn time, hating yourself, wanting to change but being too scared to," explains Hannah. 

“There are so many side effects that no one knows about because they’ve never spoken about. That’s the thing about eating disorders. They don’t only affect the very thin. I can be fully weight restored and still be struggling. I can be eating pizza and still be struggling. I can appear to be fine when really, my mind is going crazy...  I am hoping this book will change all of that,’ says Hannah. 

See it first 

Altmann has given Parent24 permission to publish an extract from her book (Not) A piece of cake! Read the snippet below: 

                                                 Extract: (Not) A piece of cake! by Hannah Altmann

Book cover

Brown. Gooey. Thick. 

It lay on the table in front of me. 

I could smell it from where I sat. The scent made my stomach queasy, bubbling with anxiety. 

My friends surrounded me, smiling and laughing. They weren’t concerned about it. 

I dared not join in. 

My hands shook, so I hid them under the table. I tried to smile along but failed miserably. I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying. 

Only one thing was on my mind. How on earth was I supposed to eat this?  

You might be thinking, what the hell was on that table? What disgusting, foul, nauseating thing did I have to consume? You’re probably thinking of something along the lines of what your dog plants on your living room floor when you’ve kept him inside for too long. In my opinion, what lay in front of me was far worse than anything a dog could have produced.  

It was a piece of chocolate cake.  

You read that correctly. A slice of dark, moist, potent chocolate cake adorned with icing and all. It even had candles on top. Why did it have candles on top? Well, I was turning 18 you see, but that wasn’t important. What was important is that I could absolutely, positively, 100% NOT eat this slice of cake. No ways. I’d rather write every single exam of my life over again, without studying. I’d rather stand in front of the school and sing the national anthem backward while spinning on one leg. I’d rather — well, you get the point. 

Irrationally, this was my biggest fear.


(Not) A piece of Cake is available right now on Amazon

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