For the past five years I've been campaigning and raising awareness of men with eating disorders with an aim to debunk the myth that eating disorders is a 'female problem.' Significant advances in awareness have been made in this short space of time to highlight the inequalities male sufferers face, but there's still a long way to go
Eating disorders are complex conditions which start for a variety of reasons and their impact stretches way beyond weight-loss or weight-gain and Thomas told me that his eating disorder has left him with permanent oesophageal acid reflux, stomach ulcers, chronic stomach pains, mouth ulcers, severely impaired peristaltic motion, damage to teeth, blocked tear ducts, scars on knuckles, sore throats, hair loss and pale complexion.
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'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.
Dear Penny and Jim, I'm writing to thank you for having me on The Breakfast Show on BBC London last Thursday. I don't know if you remember me; you were running a news piece about the tragic death of Tallulah Wilson, a girl who suffered from an eating disorder and subsequently killed herself in late 2012...
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 latest in quick fix diets, this pill, once swallowed and inflated is the latest mini gastric balloon. It's being hailed as a miracle pill - but really isn't it just vanity gone mad? The pill is designed for people a stone overweight. You know, the kind of people who could tweak their diet a bit and maybe hit the gym for an extra day a week in order to lose 'that' stone.
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.
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.