As a teenager I was very sick with a monster in my head called anorexia.
Since then I've recovered, married, had children and am very healthy happy and content.
Since then, on many occasions I've heard many naive people say to sufferers or their loved ones: "Just eat something". Or stupid things like: "God I wish I could be anorexic for a few weeks to lose some weight".
This obviously is infuriating as it clearly shows just how little there is known about the ugly truth of the illness...
I felt a small section from Chapter 12 Of my book "Seconds To Snap" may help some people understand the severity and why it claims the most lives of all mental illnesses...
Chapter 12 - Praying for Death
That night I slept like a baby but when I woke up I was consumed with despair. Why won't they just let me die? Why won't they just let me go in peace? From the moment I opened my eyes that morning I was pushed and pulled around as the nurses and doctors fought to save my life.
First they hooked me up to a catheter - now that I was getting fluids through the tube I needed to go to the toilet but a bedpan proved useless. Nothing was coming out of me. My kidneys weren't working properly anymore as my body was desperately trying to hang on to every last drop. So Fiona fitted the catheter. It seemed to take forever and was horribly painful.
'I'm sorry Tina,' she whispered as I cried out in pain. 'All your tubes, veins and arteries have shrunk due to severe dehydration. I'm trying my best not to hurt you.' When it was finally in place another nurse tried to put a cannula in the back of my hand - more agony - but it never lasted more than a few seconds [??] as my veins kept collapsing. After half an hour of this she gave up. Minutes later another nurse appeared wheeling in a heart monitor which she hooked me up to with chest pads. So now I was really on life support - liquid foods, catheter, heart monitor. I was desperate to tell them to stop, to just let me go quietly, but I didn't have any control anymore. I was sectioned.
Worried-looking doctors streamed past by my bed now at regular intervals, talking in hushed tones, checking my charts and conferring over my treatment. I gave them all baleful looks. Look what you've done to me! I wanted to shout. Look what you've turned me into! I'm a person, not a machine, and I just want to die in dignity and peace. Why won't you all just leave me be?
Astonishingly, food was brought to my bedside. It felt like a sick joke - they knew they couldn't get me to eat this stuff. They must have seen I was determined to die no matter what. My anger was as strong as ever but sedated now, I couldn't move a muscle so I just lay there, waiting and praying for death. Day became night and night bled into day again - how long had I been there? I didn't know.
Now they brought the weigh chair to my bedside as I couldn't get up and since I was only being drip fed a liquid diet the weight continued to drop off. They refused to tell me how much I weighed now, knowing the low numbers only fuelled my determination, but I was an expert of course, and I could read the scales even when lying down. For every pound that disappeared I cheered silently inside my head. I was 4 stone 11, then 4 stone 10, 4 stone 9...
Around two weeks after being sectioned, my tongue went completely black from a fungal infection due to anaemia. I was given jelly lozenges to try and get rid of it and though I hated the thought of anything passing my lips I was disturbed enough by the weird change to take them. My teeth were already a mess but now I developed terrible toothache lying there in bed. But since I was too ill to be moved they couldn't get me to a dentist so they just gave me pain relief.
The sedatives they gave me were so strong I slid in and out of consciousness, barely able to keep a hold of myself for a few minutes. The lights would dim, my body relaxed and I'd slip into dreamy unconsciousness, welcoming the opportunity to let reality fade away. All I knew, when I came round from another dozy sleep was that I wanted to die. I WANT TO DIE. At four stone I could barely hold a thought in my head, let alone move, and yet that was the only one I clung to.
Author's own photo