Anna Wyatt weighed less than six stone and was not responding to hospital treatment when she was passed a note in Waitrose which changed her life.
The 20-year-old student from Norwich was battling anorexia and had postponed university to stay at home while she received help from local eating disorder services. However the therapy was proving fruitless, and she showed no signs of recovering, until a stranger passed her the handwritten message.
The message, written by blogger Ella Crouch, directed the student to her website, where Crouch details her journey of recovery from an eating disorder.
Today I'm trying to practice the radical notion of self love- it's not something that I've ever been any good at but I think everyone needs to try to appreciate themselves a bit more, the world would be a more positive place! So now I'm drinking raspberry tea in town and have just bought the most ridiculous tub of peanut butter ever because I am determined now to make myself better from anorexia. There is so much more to life than being thin, or controlling food, or counting calories, and I need to have faith that that is true even on my bad days. I have always been my own biggest critic and also my biggest motivator, and to overcome this illness I am going to learn to be stronger than myself. #edrecovery #recovery #anorexia #selflove
“I had a look on Ella’s blog and for the first time thought ‘this is the way the to go’,” Wyatt told the Eastern Daily Press.“The note changed my life.
“It was an incredible thing for the person to do, to be brave enough to walk up to a stranger and offer that help.
"If she hadn’t given me that note I think I’d have been hospitalised pretty soon as I would have kept losing weight."
Now, Wyatt is on the road to recovery - 18 months after Crouch first passed her the note.
So it has been a while since I posted illness related stuff but I think a lot of my brain has been trying to convince me that everything's cool because my weight is fine and I can do much physically stuff with no problems. Also because my brain has been occupied with uni work and work work and other stuff it's easy to let this issue slide into the background. But it's not really background because I still count my calories and macros and spend too much time making food because the quick option doesn't fit in. But I'm gonna work on that, because quite frankly I don't have the time or the energy to keep up this ridiculous worrying about macros and calories because I've got better shit to be doing. So please excuse my language, but I should really not let this keep going because I'd much rather drink a baileys hot chocolate on a really cold day with people I love than watch them drink it while I drink tea or black coffee because I can't face the carbs. I've come this far and I'm not gonna stop now. #edrecovery #recovery #anorexia #anorexiarecovery #notetoself #uni #stress #anxiety #bodyimage #writing #note #macros #calories
Crouch, meanwhile, still regularly blogs about her healthy lifestyle, using the hashtags #screwskinny and #busygettingstronger to document her fitness regime.
SHOULDERS day 💪🏻 been upping weights and switched up training methods and seeing some progress! Sometimes can be scary changing your routine or habits but can Have great results. Proud to say #nofilter tans all real haha ☀️😎 off to sit on my balcony and tan some more 😛 oh and study... #gym #health #muscles #happy #busygettingstronger
Crouch, who is a final year languages student at Nottingham University, credits her friend and personal trainer for helping her get healthy.
"When I first started university I developed an eating disorder, and by my second year I had been diagnosed with anorexia and weighed 38kg," she writes on her blog. "I started this blog when I took a year out from university to combat my disorder. I refused the hospital bed at a clinic and lived at home where I actively addressed my problem, with the help of my family, friends, and personal trainer/ best friend Leon Bustin (The LeanMachines).
"Within a year I had reached my weight goal in order to live abroad in France and Germany and continue with my degree."
I was nervous about posting but I'm biting the bullet 🙈 the hardest part of recovering from anorexia was gaining weight on my legs. I used to be able to get my hands around my thigh... I'm now size 10! I used to do hours of cardio but now I'd take squats over running any day! ❤️those legs for what they can do, not the size of your jeans 💪 http://ellacrouchblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/i-dont-give-a-gap-anymore/
Crouch adds: "I never look back and wish I had never become ill, because my illness is what has made me who I am today and I have learnt so much about myself and how to look after my body on the way.
"Food is about eating to nourish your body, but it is also about being happy and living life to the fullest. I training hard, because I love it, not because I want to look a certainway or be a certain weight! It’s about learning to love your body for what it is and where it can take you, rather than for what it’s not."
Useful websites and helplines:
Beat, call 0845 634 7650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393