Being made to eat is an anorexics worst nightmare. The anorexia in your brain gets going egging you on to not forget the reasons why that fork should not enter your mouth; "you will get fat" "you are not in control" "you will regret it" "how you going to work it off" "you will be ugly.."! Then if you do eat, she goes quiet. You lose a part of you, the part that was there for you through everything.
When I arrived in hospital, after dropping off my stuff in my new room, it was 11am snack time. This was something so alien to me, a stupid activity that I didn't want to be part of. One nurse sat by my side encouraging me to drink a protein drink, but did they not realise... it had taken me years to get this skinny and I was not going to give in to them that easily. It was a struggle, but a couple of hundred calories later I was told I had to lie in bed until lunch. An hour of lying down before more eating felt ridiculous. Time is such a funny thing when you are in a hospital ward. As you fight your feelings, time seems to be going so slowly but within the first week as I settled in to the rigid day to day structure I felt like I had already been there my whole life. Get up at 7am, get weighed, breakfast at 8am, therapy sessions till 11am, snack at 11am, lunch at 12.30, activities till 4pm, another snack at 4pm, free time or visitors till 6pm, a snack at 8pm and then bed by 10pm. My days were all the same, all merging in to one, and as the New Year approached I felt worse than ever and like I had achieved nothing. New patients had come, some had left, but I was making such small progress.
It was time for me to realise I was out of control and whatever I had learnt to believe, anorexia was not my friend but my enemy. I was encouraged to write letters to my anorexia; some where I hated her and some when she was my best friend.
"Dear anorexia, you make me feel so bad about myself, you lie to me about my appearance and you stop me sleeping and making friends. You judge me; I can never do enough to make you happy. You make me watch others eat and if they eat less than me you shout at me. You make me hate those who don't eat as much... You make me feel worthless and stupid - it is stupid being an 17 year old who cannot even butter my toast right... you have taken my friends, family..."
After the New Year, I worked harder, I had some lessons to help study for my A-Levels, I was allowed out for a 20 minute walk a few times a week and I was not constantly watched after meals. As my freedom increased, and I put on weight I learnt to talk more. I had come so far, and worked so hard I knew I did not want anorexia as my friend.
I urge those of you who think anorexia is your friend to reconsider. Look at the pros and cons of that friendship. A superficial judgmental friend is not one I wanted. Is it one you want?
So stand tall against the world, remember my story and be strong.