LIFESTYLE

People In Recovery From Eating Disorders Share Advice They'd Give Their Younger Selves

25/02/2016 17:22 GMT | Updated 26/02/2016 10:59 GMT

Coming to terms with the fact you have an eating disorder and then making steps to beat it, is far from easy.

To mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week, five people in recovery share the words of wisdom they'd like to tell their younger, more vulnerable selves.

Danielle Montgomery, 25, Online Content Executive

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Danielle began her recovery process from a type of anorexia known as binge-purge subtype in March 2015 and although it is a work in progress, she says her behaviour is a "far cry" from what it was before. Private counselling alongside antidepressants have helped Danielle get to where she is today.

Danielle's Advice To Her Younger Self

"I would tell her that the divorce wasn't her fault and she didn't need to punish herself. I would tell her she is most definitely worthy of the space she occupied on earth because she is intelligent, funny and caring.

"I would tell her to let go of the childhood she missed out on, so she could grow into a confident young woman, something she didn't allow to happen. The time spent being scared of food, thinking about food and hanging her head over the toilet was wasted - it didn't make her feel better, it made her feel worse.

"I'd tell her to make a real effort to get up, get dressed and stick to plans made with friends, because she missed out on so much.

"Just because your childhood was ruined Dan, you don't have to ruin the rest of your life."

Daniel Bird, 20, YouTuber And Blogger

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Daniel is in recovery from anorexia nervosa. He finally asked for medical help because he realised he was tired all the time and had no energy. His doctor made him aware that this was due to his eating habits. Daniel booked a holiday and made it his personal goal to make himself well enough to go. It was the incentive he needed to get back on track.

Daniel's Advice To His Younger Self

"If I was to write a letter to my younger self, I'd say just make sure everything is correct. If you feel as though you're underweight or realise you're acting differently to those around you - speak to somebody earlier.

"I was almost hospitalised because of my eating disorder, but I sought help at the crucial moment. Make sure you get the right amount of nutrients to keep you fit and healthy, so you're not always tired and falling asleep in class because you're not getting energy.

"Overall, just make sure you have friends and family around you, who will be there for you and encourage you to step into the recovery process."

Sophia Parvizi Wayne, 19, Student, Athlete And Mental Health Campaigner

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Sophia suffered from anorexia between the ages of 15 and 16 and only truly began recovery once the desire to get better came from herself, rather than from others. She says recovery is not just about gaining weight, but about recognising that you want to live a healthier life.

Sophia's Advice To Her Younger Self

"I would tell myself at fourteen and fifteen that my parents aren't being horrible when they were trying to get me to eat, they were doing it because they were scared.

"I would tell myself not to feel guilty about my illness, because it wasn't my fault, and that I should have seen my illness like cancer or a broken leg.

"I would have congratulated myself more for overcoming one of the greatest challenges quickly and reminded myself that I am more than my disorder."

Daniel O'Kelly, 23, Sales

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Daniel is in recovery from anorexia. He says he started to realise that eating is "more than just eating for the sake of it" and so began to alter his habits. Now he sees both eating and exercise as social activities that can help people to relax, relate and recover.

Daniel's Advice To His Younger Self

"Listen to the experts. It's very easy to get lost in one's mind and push everyone away. Let them in. Be vocal about how you're feeling."

Carrie Armstrong, 35, TV Presenter

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Carrie began to suffer from orthorexia - defined as an "unhealthy obsession with healthy eating" - at the age of 26. To begin her recovery process she did not allow herself to prepare her own food and spent as little time alone as possible, as orthorexia thrives on isolation. It was difficult, but today she feels "nothing but freedom and peace around all food".

Carrie's Advice To Her Younger Self

"You can't feel fear and love at the same time. So always aim for feeling love, then you won't be afraid, and when you aren't afraid you won't need to use food to manage your anxiety.

"Then you will consume food, rather than it consuming you. Never forget you are loved beyond a capacity to comprehend."

Useful websites and helplines:

Beat, call 0845 634 7650 or email fyp@b-eat.co.uk

Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393

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