There are a few things about me only a few people know. One of them is that, in my early twenties, I had an eating disorder (or 'food issues' as I used to call it).
This isn't going to be a hugely depressing account of what it's like to have an eating disorder, or a request for pity and understanding, but I hope it will be an insight in to something people who haven't suffered from it rarely understand fully.
It's a story of recovery and acceptance and acknowledgment of the power of the mind.
I often feel it's taken me a very long time to work out where I want to be and what I want to be doing.
There seem to have been a lot of diversions and distractions along the way, but then I remember that each hurdle or diversion has helped me to grow in new and distinct way; it has lead me to exactly where I am now, ready and able to do what I want to do.
Anorexia crept up on me. I had a flatmate in university who was recovering from it and we used to talk about how it had affected her. I always said I would never be able to do it - I got so irritated when I was hungry I would never be able to 'not eat'.
It was only a year or two later that I knew exactly how I was able to do it.
For me it was a form of control. From talking to others it seems this is a very common reason for these disorders developing. Whilst yes, I liked the idea of being skinny, for me it felt like the only thing I had absolute control over - my body and what I put into it.
Being hungry all the time became normal. Hiding my eating from friends and family became second nature. Being irritable was par for the course and panic attacks over having to eat something were a regular occurrence.
The thing that forced me to seek help was when my parents got involved. I worked for them at the time and a couple of the directors came to them expressing concern that my personality had changed so drastically over the past few months, and I had to take a break half way up the one flight of stairs to the office because I no longer had the energy to do it in one go.
I snapped at everyone and looked awful. I thought I was hiding it well but it was becoming more and more obvious.
Eventually I broke down and it took a few months of therapy two or three times a week to get me over the worst bit. I also had to take anti-depressants for six months to help my hormones get back on track to give me the strength to fight the disorder as I had been starving myself of nutrients for so long all my brain chemistry was off.
The hardest part was the internal fight with myself. I felt like I had an evil twin living inside me. Even if not eating would kill me, at times it seemed easier to continue the way I was going than try and change.
The concept of being able to eat something without it sending me into blind panic about the ten calories I'd just consumed was absolutely incomprehensible. The disorder had become my identity - I didn't know if I could let it go.
Going through that therapy gave me a rare insight into the human psyche - my therapist was brillant - she knew when to push me and when to give me room to breathe. With her, my world turned around. She gave me more confidence than I'd ever had before my illness and reignited my passion for psychology and psychotherapy.
It took me a good few years to overcome the illness completely, before I felt ready to look into career options again, butthe insight I gained from seeing anorexia from the inside out made me a much stronger person.
I am more confident, strong in the knowledge I can overcome anything and have complete faith in the ability of the body and mind to heal itself, given the right tools and assistance.
If you are suffering, don't do it alone. Seek help and support and know that things will get better. In the words of someone famous - 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.
Are you still alive? Then you are stronger than you once were.
Know that all the paths you've taken in your life have lead you to this very moment. Decide where you want to go from here on out, then set off on that path.
Follow Emma Brooke on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emmabr00ke