OPINION: How having an eating disorder almost killed me.

Standing on the scales, I cried, as I had lost another few pounds. “I can’t keep doing this to myself,” I thought.

“But I need to, I have to be skinnier. I need to do this.”

I was 15 years old, struggling at school and work, struggling with family life, struggling to keep myself alive. I’d always been a picky eater when I was younger. So, it came as no surprise when I didn’t finish this meal, or didn’t want that snack.

When I think back about it now, all I can think about is how my family didn’t have enough money or food to be comfortable to waste food. I guess, if I didn’t eat, there would be enough for my family to eat. At one point, there was seven of us living in a two-bed house. Not the best scenario to live in, but we made do.

There were so many arguments, it always left me panicky, and unable to eat at points. I became paranoid when I was around food. I started to eat less and exercise more. I would drink about 4 litres of water a day to kill the hunger cravings. It got so bad, that I fainted at school one day and begged my teacher not to tell my mum.

I would be paralysed when food came near me, I would mentally count the calories in my head. I still do it now from time to time. I told my dad in January 2015, and begged him to help me. I broke down and told him everything, the self-harming, the purging, the starving. I didn’t want to be like this anymore, I couldn’t be known as the “constantly sick aunt” to my nephews.

I went to the doctor, and had been diagnosed with depression, and Bulimia-Nervosa, with Anorexia tendencies. I started seeing a therapist, and we set out plans and guidelines to help me. I weighed eight stone at the age of 17 with a BMI of 19.2. It just put me on the “normal weight” category. That day probably saved my life. Every Thursday, like clockwork, I would have a therapy session.

I left work when I finished sixth form, and started working at a pub. Being on my feet for 7+ hours a day wasn’t the best. I started my obsession with drinking water again, at work I simply didn’t have time to eat. I hadn’t put on the three-stone weight that was recommended. I didn’t put on any weight., but I didn’t lose any either, which still confuses me to this day. I met a guy, who shall simply be known as A.

He promised me the world. He promised me he would help my recovery, and he would make sure I get better. Everything went perfectly, I was focused on getting better, and ended up putting on two stone, quite quickly. I felt comfortable to eat around him, I started to find a passion for cooking again. Then something horrific happened, and I felt myself slipping back. I lost about one stone, because I had become paralysed in fear about eating.

When I started my second year of university, I was down nine stone. Then, I met a guy who changed my life. I told him everything before we got together. A year down the line, he’s still here and still helping me fight this phobia. I became very close to a few of the girls I was house-sharing with, and they’re helping me get better in a healthier way. I stopped self-harming, started to eat (admittedly it was KFC, but damn it tasted good to eat.)

Over my university years, I’ve had some amazing friends, who have helped me so much with my recovery. I feel a bit sad that I’m not friends with some people who I was close to. They did help me out when I went through something horrific, and I can never thank them enough for it.

I’m still fighting my eating disorder now. I am at a healthy and comfortable weight, and this time I am losing weight the healthy way. And I wish I could sit here, as I type this, and say that I got better and I got over it and it won’t affect me anymore. That’s just not possible. Each day is a struggle when you have a mental disorder and a phobia, and each day comes with its own battle.

Full recovery isn’t on the horizon soon, and it may not be here in the next 10 years, but when it does come, I am ready to welcome it with open arms.

For more information on help with Anorexia please visit – https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/



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