Five years on, anything is possible. My blogs tell the story of a recovered anorexic. This is my story.
Five years ago, I stood there, a suitcase in my hand, wearing over-sized clothes, what hair was left on my head pinned back in a hospital waiting room with my life falling apart around me. Where had it all gone so wrong?
I had always struggled with food spending hours online looking for new workouts and new diets that would achieve the best results. But I never actually believed there was a problem. Even as I began to attend the outpatient eating disorder unit in Bristol, even when I was told I was close to death, that my heart had no muscle and was likely to stop at any moment, I didn't think there was a problem. The only thing that mattered was being the thinnest. At the age of 16, I knew I would rather be dead than fat. I became so good at hiding food where I could, or causing a scene at a meal time so I could leave the table. It was times when I would argue with my parents if they made me eat even a slice of toast that I thought there may have been a problem. But I don't think I even cared. I was sure no-one understood me and that they were out to make me fat.
As I got thinner, my heart slowed down, and I was submitted to an eating disorder hospital. The first few weeks were a blur, I didn't want to eat and I certainly didn't think that anything was wrong. Something changed when I had to draw an outline of how I saw myself on roll out paper, and then the nurse drew round me. I realised how wrong I was with my view of myself. With a BMI of less than 15, there was so much work to do, but I knew I wanted to see what life was like without an eating disorder. I had to re-learn how to eat, learn to listen to my body, and learn the importance of talking about how I felt. I wrote prompt cards to use at meals, and I tried really hard. I was stuck in there until I started eating, so I knew I had no choice but to give it ago.
After a year living in hospital, I was ready to come out. Coming out and a week later going to university was one of the scariest things ever. I still didn't feel ready to look after myself. In myself I wanted to prove everyone wrong, I wanted to have a life outside of anorexia. At University most activities involve eating or drinking, but I learnt how to cope, something that I think is unique to everyone. Throughout my first year, I did struggle, I attended an outpatient unit, and I was extremely confrontational if anyone asked about food. I still counted all my calories and stressed if we were late for a meal. I remember the endless nights out when I felt insecure, fat and I had to make myself go out feeling like this. But as time went on I had fat days less and less. I would battle with my thoughts more, and stop myself being silly.
I spent a year travelling around Asia; how do you count calories in street food? At first this worried me, but throwing myself so far out of my comfort zone I began to listen to my body even more. A year away, pushing the boundaries changed me, and when I came back and hadn't gained weight I built up confidence to continue living my life without being dictated by food.
I never thought that I would ever have a day when I didn't feel fat, and I didn't think I would ever have a day when I didn't count my calories, but five years on, through the ups and downs I have managed this. I have learnt my own coping mechanisms, and learnt what to look out for if I begin to slip. I would urge you to just give it go, have a day when you don't count your calories, and have a day at living without your anorexia.
Everyone says it takes 10 years to completely get over an eating disorder. It has not always been easy and I don't want to lie to you and tell you how easy it is, I wasn't one of those stories you hear when I was fixed overnight. And I don't want to tell you that everything is hundred percent fine now, but every day of fighting my anorexia it is getting me one step closer to beating it, and making it easier to win this fight. What will you do to keep winning the fight against your anorexia?
With all the endless books about eating disorders, recoveries and self-help books, I hope my story can offer you some inspiration to not give up.
Stand tall against the world, remember my story and be strong.