There have always been misconceptions of mental health sufferers as being scary, violent and "crazy". Of course, that is what the stereotype of mental illness is. No wonder why people are so afraid to get help. If you have met the people I have met in psychiatric hospitals, you'd see that they are not even near that. They are often gentle, friendly and amazingly intelligent people.
When the warning signs of anorexia first emerged at the age of 18, I was hesitant and uneasy about approaching my GP. Uncertainty and fear mingled with denial: I was adamant that I was "fine" and in control. Anorexia demanded secrecy; it made me feel healthy, virtuous and superior; it was the drill sergeant that got me up in the morning; the voice that governed my every thought and action - it had become the most important presence in my life.
Of all the therapists I have seen, all the psychiatrists who have treated me (or at least tried to) trying to find out the cause of my eating disorder, one word is always at the forefront. Invisible. Ever since I could remember, I have felt invisible to people. 'Felt' is an understatement. I am invisible. Or at least that's what it seems like to me...
My whole four years at university have been marked by one constant question: "How is she?" It has been one constant worry - would today be the day I got the phone call saying she was in hospital? Would today be the day she became another statistic? A third of anorexia sufferers die from their disease - and my biggest fear is my sister becoming one of them.
I see how amazing and rewarding life can be, and although I have grown as a person from my experiences, I am upset at the amount of time my illness has made me waste. During these months of the year, when there are festivals after festival, surrounded by many a mealtime, I am trying my best to enjoy and acknowledge the beauty and root of these joyous times.