Ever since I developed an eating disorder I have been haunted by the start of term or Lent or any of these times as opportunities to start a new leaf and remove from lifestyle any unhealthy bingeing that had been dominating life. Yes, the anorexia was utilising this as an opportunity to persevere into dangerous territory.
We know that in our society there is huge cultural pressure on young people and in particular girls to be skinny, waif like and attain impossible barbie like body shapes. The gendered link between media pressure and eating disorders is inescapable. But frustratingly just as women from ethnic minorities are absent from everyday media appearances, the fact that they too are also subjected to the same cultural pressures and resultant illnesses, is also absent.
It is as a teenager that we face the greatest test of self-esteem. We become aware of how we look, how others see us and worst of all we become aware of a world that judges us. From every angle teens are told to be prettier, sexier, skinnier, to wax, to colour and to fake it. Very few talk about anything other than they we look.
It's easy to point the finger at GPs for not picking up on the signs but are they really to blame? Currently, doctors have no training on eating disorders as part of their seven-year degree. They have approximately 10 minutes - if that - with each patient and hardly sufficient to investigate a patient presenting the symptoms.
Students are known for their bad eating habits; baked beans have become a beacon for the university experience. It's not surprising really - we don't have nine to five schedules, or lunch breaks, or regular wages... We only have ourselves to decide that cereal for the third time in a day is a bad decision, instead of a detox. Which makes it dangerously easy for people to fall through the gaps. In the student culture of make do and make pasta, again, eating disorders can be hard to spot.
In 2012, I decided that due to a number of significant events going on in my life it was time to try and continue treatment again. Despite my initial referral taking place in December 2012, I didn't see anyone till October 2013. When I did, I was told by the NHS mental health trust that I wasn't ill enough to meet their very strict criteria.
The MHA should only be used as a last resort as a safeguard for any forms of harm as it deprives an individual from their liberty. If a patient is well enough to return home to their own freedom and independence, then they should have that option. I have strong views on this, having experienced it first hand.
The dangers of the internet may be largely understood but due to the lack of evidence, it's a questionable claim to suggest that social media sites are the so called 'cause?' Instead of trying to point the finger it's better to focus our attention on understanding why young sufferers are developing eating disorders in the first place.
The focus on size and shape seems to suggests eating disorder is a physical illness, which it is not. By 'calorie loading' this is simply ignoring the underlying causes of anorexia - it may put on the weight, yes. However it does little to address the key factors or triggers linked to his eating disorder.
This hoax may purport to play on our collective gullibility and Twitter-trigger happiness, but it actually plays straight into the mental vulnerability of our society's young women, who are already overly bombarded by images of hollow cheekbones, washboard stomachs and thighs that don't meet. It is hardly newsworthy that this hoax had us collectively fooled.
Despite having an eating disorder I'd never heard of bulimia, let alone knew it was a mental illness. Most days I would run out of lessons or avoid lessons completely to escape the torment of bullies. I'd hide in the boys toilets and lock myself in a cubicle as it was the only place where I couldn't be found.